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Even in the food industry, colour has a huge role in visual perception, emotion and human behaviour. This topic is very fascinating because it is interesting to understand our subconscious and how we react by the colours we see. Most people are unaware of how much a colour or ‘chromatics’ can influence reaction and triggers our appetites.Colour Psychology for RestaurantsThis post will cover basic colours in order to help you understand why colour is crucial for your restaurant and recognition. Whether you are choosing a colour for a logo, brand colours, the interior design of your restaurant or the design of your menu. This will give you a thorough understanding of which colours to use and which to steer away from. 

RedWhat Red Means for RestaurantsRed is known to stimulate and excite and relates closely to passion and energy. Enhances the appetite, when we see red we get an energy boost, similarly this happens when we are ready to feast and neurons fire up in the hypothalamus part of the brain. Also known to heighten nerve impulses and increase heart rate. 

Red is the most common and effective colour used in the food industry. For example, If you look at many food corporations or fast-food chains the majority will have red in either logo or variations of their brand essence. When you think of food and the colour red you may associate it with tender meat, a juicy strawberry or even a sweet. 

Red is an intense colour and therefore causes a reaction much quicker than any other colour, causing impulse or urgent response. It has been tested that red table cloths will actually make a person eat more, however beware to use this colour cautiously. 

BlueWhat Blue Means for RestaurantsBlue is generally used for corporate and conservative brands and is actually the most popular colour in America. The colour represents security and trust. However, it is not necessarily the best choice for a restaurant. Blue is actually known to suppress appetite and reduces hunger. 

Therefore, blue is the most unappetizing colour. For example, the largest success in blue food over the past decade has been the introduction of the blue M&M. Yes it was a success, however would it work in anything other than blue sweets? It is pretty unlikely other than a few exceptions. 

Blue is one of the most repulsive colours when it comes to food and will actually draw people away from eating. Why? Because blue is not commonly seen in food other than blueberries which are not even blue but purple. Blue often reminds people of spoiled foods and human instinct labels it a turn off. 

Blue used in restaurants can also hinder a person’s appetite through the use of blue table cloths, blue walls and surroundings. With some optimism, blue can be used to its advantage. Have you witnessed the low calorie ‘blue label’ food packs in shops? 

Utilizing the reaction people have towards the colour and using it to its advantage by hinting at weight loss or reduce appetite. Blue is also very common in seafood restaurants mainly to reflect the colour of the water. It appears fresh. 

OrangeWhat Orange Means for RestaurantsOrange is classified as energizing, bold, optimistic and fun. However, it should be used carefully as it has negative aspects that reflect immaturity and being superficial. One thing that comes to mind is orange juice, right? Orange encourages impulse and comes off to some as a comfort colour. 

Orange typically stimulates all senses which have a lot to do with the experience of a restaurant. It can encourage sales in all sorts of dining areas including cafes, bistros and diners, whilst stimulating appetite and conversation. 

If surrounded by the colour customers will eat, talk and spend longer time periods which means more money made. Tropicana and Fanta are top of the chart for obvious reasons. There are high-end brands that have dominated the market with an orange pallet like Hermes, the high-end bag brand. So there is hope for orange after all. 

YellowWhat Yellow Means for RestaurantsYellow typically portrays happiness and can be an uplifting colour. Enthusiasm, optimism and youthfulness are also general associations. Be careful though, it can sometimes come off as inexpensive depending on how it is used. 

Yellow can be commonly mistaken in the food industry, although it screams youthfulness this can sometimes be mistaken for being unsophisticated or naive. Although yellow triggers the analytical side of our brain, it loses touch with the creative side. Is food generally about creativity?

An all yellow colour palette can be hard to trust as it encourages our analytical instinct and may end in lack of creative freedom. Although subtle tones like beige are more-so common in food as it relates more to the natural side of the yellow spectrum. 

Beige is found in natural foods, which gives off an earthy feel or even the morning sun. They say that yellow causes uneasiness which can benefit fast food restaurants who want fast customer turnaround. This can be established simply by painting the walls yellow or making yellow a dominant brand colour. 

However, when it is used as a secondary colour in a logo, yellow is generally not much of a harm. Big brands such as Burger King, McDonalds, Subway or Lays are great examples. 

GreenWhat Green Means for RestaurantsGreen has been used to portray wealth, relaxation, balance, harmony, nature, environment and creativity. Green is commonly used in food because it is associated with being healthy, vegetarian, fresh and generally speaking good tasting. 

Not only is there a large amount of green examples but sometimes they take on a different meaning. Green encourages relaxation because of its correlation to nature. Starbucks, one of the largest coffee chains in the world has established its logo using primarily green. 

The Starbucks brand is subconsciously hinting to sit down and relax. Green Giant are a great example as they want to be seen as fresh and healthy. Even a lot of organic food brands use primarily green. 

 PinkWhat Pink Means for RestaurantsWe associate pink with sincerity, calming, feminine and romantic. It is generally associated with sweet, pig skin or even a feminine brand. When you spot food that is pink, most of the time it is easy to think it is unnatural and not so healthy. 

However, it has a calming and settling aspects which do well for products such as calamine lotion, which is used to calm chicken pox. Branding a restaurant pink may not be the best bet, unless you are out to sell sweets or setting up a bakery. 


This is the first six colours we are going to talk about. Hopefully you have learned some things you didn’t know before. The takeaway here is red is the most effective colour to use in the food industry, blue is the most unappetising colour although there are still some uses for it, orange encourages sales, yellow is a good secondary colour to use, green makes food look healthier and pink is best suited towards sweet foods. The next post will talk about the psychology behind black, grey, white, purple, brown and clear colours.



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