Off Color

Palate Pleasers

When it comes to enticing the appetites of potential patrons, it's not just aroma, but also color that will convince passersby to pop in and ponder your menu. Depending on the environment restaurateurs want to create, certain color hues will coax patrons to sit down and linger-or motivate them to quickly run in, grab a bite and scram.

According to Leatrice Eiseman, author of Colors For Every Mood (Capital Books), the colors that make customers want to hang around are luxurious, deep jewel tones like amethyst, amber, ruby and emerald. Creating an upscale yet comfortable environment engages patrons' senses and makes them less reluctant to leave a place that should feel more intriguing than home.

If the goal, however, is for hungry visitors to eat up and scoot out, then brighter shades are necessary. "For the fast-food environment, it's a matter of value and intensity," adds Eiseman. "The bright and warm color families of yellow, red and orange give off that stimulation factor and produce the feeling of movement."

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This article was originally published in the June 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Off Color.

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