Business & News

Connecting With Diners Through Senses

Feb 18, 2024

Connecting With Diners Through Senses

What stimulates our desire to eat in a restaurant and how does the establishment affect our five senses–sight, smell, sound, touch, and taste? What you are about to discover shows how the experience your restaurant offers greatly impacts your bottom line–plus some insights that can lead to better customer satisfaction.

Feasting with eyes

Our sense of sight comes first and foremost in almost any situation–think about first impressions! From the very first social media image that enticed your customers to visit your restaurant, to the entrance of your restaurant with decor, lighting, and cleanliness, what they see first will affect how they feel. The warm LED lights at the bar, the sleek leather chairs, a retro-style speakeasy–all these little details play different roles in communicating your brand.

Color is a huge influence on our sight, affecting our emotions, and behavior, even triggering our appetite.

Crave-worthy scents

When we smell something, our brain gets different signals that can affect how we remember things, our mood, and our emotions.

Fast-food places are trying new tricks to make you remember them and come back for more. They use scents on purpose to make you think of their food. This is a smart way to get you to remember them, even if you don't realize it.

Picture this: when you walk into a house and smell fresh-baked cookies, it makes you feel good, and real estate agents use this trick to sell homes faster. On a bigger scale, places like Disney World use scents like vanilla to make you want to buy tasty treats. Auntie Anne's does it too, with the smell of buttery pretzels making you hungry when you're at the mall. There are even special candles that make your home smell like your favorite foods. So, scents are everywhere, especially at fast-food places, making us crave more food.

Sounds and appetite

The sounds we hear while eating play a big role in how we perceive food. For instance, the crunch of an apple indicates freshness and a chip's crispness hints at its flavor. Researchers recognize that food sounds significantly impact our dining experience.

Chefs across various restaurant types, from fancy places to fast food joints, are exploring ways to enhance the auditory appeal of dishes. They're incorporating ingredients like popping candies, crispy flakes, and grains to make the eating experience more enjoyable.


Our skin, the body's largest organ directly communicates with the brain. Touching and interacting with products creates a special connection with consumers. Picture the warmth of a buttery bun in your hands or the fizz of a soda hitting your mouth for the first time. That initial touch has a quick and powerful emotional impact, shaping our dining experience.

In the realm of food, touch is crucial through textures and mouthfeel. These aspects influence how we perceive and decide on food and drinks, especially as we consume them. Mouthfeel comes into play as our tongues and sensitive skin react to the surface of the food, providing various sensations while chewing. The sense of touch can either enhance or detract from our quick-service dining experience.


Surprisingly, Forbes notes that in restaurant businesses, consumers exhibit the least emotional response to the sense of taste. However, this doesn't diminish the importance of taste. The overall restaurant experience can be fantastic and captivating right up to that first bite.

Restaurants have a vast array of flavors to discover and enhance taste offerings for consumers. Infusing plates with excitement and fun is possible by incorporating exotic flavors from different parts of the world and experimenting with unexpected flavor combinations.

Next year, get ready to incorporate some of the most thrilling flavors that draw inspiration from international cuisines into your offerings These flavors will infuse a sense of excitement, boldness, and novelty into a variety of foods and beverages.

The bottom line is restaurants can connect with customers by hitting their emotional buttons and using sensory experiences to boost sales. Knowing the various emotions people feel helps in more than just making better menu items. It lets you build strong brand strategies and effective messages that strike the right emotional chords, creating a deeper connection with your customers.