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Crafting Flavorful Experiences for Restaurant-Goers

How Colors and Finishes Impact the Dining Experience

Door Dash. Grub Hub. Uber Eats. 

Restaurants are facing competition not just from their typical competitors, but also from themselves. Third-party food delivery apps take a significant fraction of each order’s revenue, depending on the restaurant’s volume, location and popularity, anywhere from 15%-30% of the order sales.

This means your favorite mom-and-pop diner may be paying more in fees than they’re making with carry-out deliveries.

But restaurant owners have another worry aside from predatory commissions – delivery quality. After the food is given to third-party delivery services, the restaurant’s reputation is often dictated by the delivery itself. Owners cannot guarantee their food will be delivered under the quality and conditions they uphold

Restaurants now have two alternatives: 

  1. Encourage customers to order from them directly for carry-out 
  2. Bring customers to dine inside the restaurant

So where do designers fit onto this full plate of concerns? 


Here’s The Main Course . . . 

Through the specification of particular design details like layouts, color and finishes, your choices can influence a dining guest’s emotions, appetites and perceptions. The restaurant becomes more than just a restaurant – it becomes an immersive culinary journey, following from hor’ devours to dessert. 

Let’s think of the mainstream popularity of Nobu. The ambiance and contemporary dining experience became a TikTok-worthy sensation over the last two years, amassing nearly 500 million views on TikTok (#Nobu). The design of the food and space became a mainstream signifier of luxury and an instant “aesthetic.”

The taste of the food has little effect on a TikTok-watcher. They can’t see how the food tastes, but they can see how it feels to be at that restaurant.

So maybe you’re not designing a 5-star Michelin-rated venue. How can you design a new coffee shop to bring in local landmarks and the hometown and homegrown feel? How can you communicate sustainability and fresh food when renovating a city’s favorite farm-to-table restaurant design? 

These questions have many answers, but we’re going to start with the simplest tools: colors and finishes. 


The Proof is in the Pudding

Colors and finishes alone aren’t enough to get a 5-star Yelp review. Rather, the interior design of a restaurant helps to reinforce a guest’s satisfaction and serves as a differentiator from competing dining spaces.

Guests can subconsciously react to these design tools, affecting their food choices and even the amount of money they’re willing to spend. The Restaurant Times says: “Different colors stimulate different emotions and can profoundly impact feelings of hunger, thirst, and comfort in people.”

Let’s take the global yellow arches for example: McDonald’s. 

Yellow and red are most widely used in fast-food spaces, as the colors emote a higher heart and blood pressure rate. This can subconsciously communicate, “eat fast and leave fast.

Whereas colors like green and brown are associated with nature, creating a relaxing atmosphere. places like Starbucks with woodgrains and dark greens incorporated in their interior, communicates: “Why don’t you sit with a coffee and your laptop and stay for a while?” 

Colors even have the power to manipulate perceived space. Lighter colors can make a small space appear larger and more airy, while darker tones can add coziness and intimacy to a larger area. Restaurants can strategically use colors to enhance the dining space’s proportions.

Wall finishes contribute to the tactile experience of a restaurant. Textures like exposed brick can evoke a rustic and earthy feel, while smooth and polished surfaces impart a sleek and modern touch.

Lastly, there can be an element of cultural infusion and association. An island-themed restaurant may use colors like blue, and finishes with brown accents to bring guests to imagine the color of the sea and the smooth, brown textures of ocean driftwood.  Authentic cultural elements in the design, such as traditional patterns, textiles, and artifacts, can make patrons feel like they’ve embarked on a culinary journey.


What Inpro is Serving Up 

Inpro has been engineering wall finishes that make an impact on your guests, and can take an impact from them, too. Because like you, we know the durability of paint in a commercial setting is similar to the durability of glass dining plates. . . and we’ve all heard a server drop a plate or two when we’ve been in a restaurant. 

So like you can’t set a table without a plate, you can’t set your walls in a commercial setting with just paint – they need protection. 

Introducing Palladium® Metallics.

Palladium® Metallics is the latest offering in wall protection technology, specifically designed to withstand high-traffic areas like restaurants. Your interiors with Palladium® Metallics provide texture and style; keeping walls safe from damage and radiating a sleek shine.

Create a biophilic and nature-inspired luxury restaurant with Antique Moss. 

Revive a retro style for your ice cream franchise with Midnight Blue Metallic walls. 

Forge a relaxing ambiance for your unique vintage-inspired cafe with Metallics Soft Gold + Antique Bronze. 

Some Food for Thought

In conclusion, colors and finishes in restaurant design are not just aesthetic choices; they’re integral components of the overall dining experience. From the moment patrons enter to the moment they leave, the interplay of colors and finishes shapes their emotional journey, appetites, and perceptions. By leveraging the psychology of color and the tactile nature of finishes, restaurants can create a culinary experience that leaves a lasting impression on every diner.

Learn more about Palladium® Metallics and our latest in wall protection technologies here.


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