Restaurant owners and food businesses are always looking for new ways to satisfy their audience and increase their profits. That’s why today we want to tell you about a very new area: gastronomic neuromarketing, the science that can help you sell experiences and not just flavors.

Keeping your customers happy and getting them to keep coming back to your restaurant can be a difficult task. Especially if you don’t understand what their needs are and what motivates them to return.

When we talk about needs, we don’t just mean what your clients like to eat, but under what conditions their brain prefers to do it. This is where neuromarketing is useful.

Neuromarketing allows you to create the perfect conditions for diners to make certain decisions and get the most out of their food. So, we’ll tell you a little more about this interesting discipline and how it applies to gastronomy.

What is neuromarketing?

Neuromarketing is a science that studies consumer behavior.

It aims to understand what factors influence consumers before, during and after a purchase. With this information brands can establish strategies that boost sales and conquer the minds of their customers.

Neuromarketing investigates how the brain works and how the subconscious mind influences decision-making.

When you know how people’s minds work, it’s much easier to spot what they need and offer it to them. That’s why neuromarketing is so fascinating (and useful)!

This discipline also explains how the brain interprets all the information it receives through the body’s senses. To understand this process, neuromarketing combines other disciplines such as psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and neuroeconomics.

So, if you have a restaurant or a food business, it can be extremely helpful to learn about neuromarketing, because you can better understand your customers, boost your sales and have a gastronomic venture that’s rich in experiences and not just flavors.

Neuromarketing applied to gastronomy

When we think of the senses involved when it comes to eating, the first one that comes to mind is taste. With this sense, we taste food and determine whether it is to our liking.

However, all the senses are involved in the experience of eating. So, gastronomic neuromarketing studies how to stimulate each of them to make mealtime a real enjoyment.

Do you find it hard to believe that all the senses are involved in how we perceive food? Let us explain.

Imagine that you eat your favorite dish in one of these situations:

  • In a very dark or extremely bright environment
  • In a restaurant where music you hate is at full volume
  • In a place that smells unpleasant
  • In an extremely cold or hot environment
  • In a restaurant where the chairs are super uncomfortable

Do you think tasting your favorite dish in some of those situations will be pleasurable?

Surely not, because — despite your dish being very tasty — your brain would be getting stimulated in ways that would negatively affect your mood.

Large food and beverage companies’ advertisements focus on selling experiences, without flavors. And while they focus a lot on visual content, they also aim to stimulate other senses to whet our appetites.

For example: who doesn’t like the sound of a freshly opened soda, the classic scent of baked bread, the intense color of chocolate or the soft texture of ice cream?

There is a saying: we eat with all the senses and with our memory. And for a meal to be perceived as tasty, it is not enough for it to taste good; it must look, feel and imagine just as well.

Gastronomic neuromarketing seeks to generate a sensory experience so pleasant that it stays in the memory of the diner and he/she wants to repeat it again.

10 tips for gastronomic neuromarketing

Next, we’ll give you 10 tips that can help you appeal to your diners and increase your sales. We hope you can use them.

1.On the menu, highlight the dishes that your customers like the most or the most profitable for your business. Place them in the center of the menu or in the upper- right corner. Accompany the description with an image to make the dish even more attractive.

2. If you want to give the impression that your business is sophisticated, use prices with round numbers, such as $10.00. However, if you want prices to seem cheaper, price your dishes ending with the number 5, such as $19.95. Lastly, using prices that end in 9, such as 9.99 price is not recommended because it is associated with low quality products.

3. Describe the ingredients of the dishes using adjectives that appeal to your customers, for example: “juicy”, “soft”, “fresh”, “creamy”. You can also add words that refer to nostalgia such as: “Pasta with Grandma’s Bolognese Sauce” or use original names for the dishes.

That said, try to make the description brief. People want to know what you’re offering, they don’t want to read a book.

4. Highlight the origin of the ingredients of your dishes. It is not the same to say “spicy hamburger” as it is to say “burger made with jalapeño chili”. Adding where the food comes from makes it seem more valuable and exotic.

5. Choose the menu colors and style based on the personality of your business and the affects you want your diners to experience. For example, green is associated with freshness and well-being; yellow with optimism and joy; and orange and red with energy and increased appetite.

6. Classical or soft music drives customers to spend more time in the restaurant and chat. In addition, it gives the feeling of being in a tasteful place and helps to concentrate on the food.

Instead, fast and loud music drives you to eat faster, increasing table rotation.

Choose music with your brand values in thinking, your customers’ tastes and the schedule when your restaurant is open.

7.    Soft lighting invites you to spend more time in the environments; bright lighting is usually for passing places, such as fast-food venues.

Fact: the type of light in your restaurant will also influence the perception of food colors and portion sizes.

8. Heavy cutlery gives the nod that you are in a quality restaurant. Aha, now you know why there are people who hate eating with disposable cutlery. Your brain detracts from that experience!

9. Take care of your dishware, as it influences the perception of food. The color of your dishware can make the colors of the food look more intense, or, on the contrary, softer.

10. Do not neglect the decor of your restaurant, it influences the purchase decision and the expectations of your customers.

What did you think of these recommendations? They’re all part of scientific research. Surprising, don’t you think?

As you can see, the gastronomic neuromarketing considers all the elements that are involved in the experience of going to a restaurant from the engineering of the menu and how the waiter presents it to the restaurant’s décor, the aroma of preparations and how the dish is presented.

Finally, do not forget that if your customers always return to your business you must provide them with an excellent service. Some people value this aspect above the quality of the food, the waiting time or the atmosphere of the place.

If you want to give your clients a unique experience that stays on their minds and palates, we recommend you perform more research about gastronomic neuromarketing and advising you with your marketing team.

We assure you that it will be worth making some adjustments to your restaurant in order to seduce all the senses of your diners.

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