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What Your Pizzeria’s Sights, Sounds And Smells Have To Do With Sales

April 20 2016 by Nick Charles


The unique flavors of your pies draw patrons in, but appealing to their sense of taste alone may not be enough to keep them coming back.

According to a number of studies on the human senses, patrons’ willingness to trust and repeatedly spend money in an establishment is directly impacted by the sights, sounds and smells they experience during a visit. 

Look Sharp

It’s long held in restaurants that patrons “eat with their eyes,” but they look at more than their plates. Your choices in restaurant layout and interior design influence patrons’ views of your pizzeria and the value it provides:

  • Colors elicit specific moods and physical responses. Brand stories are told by using either warm (red, orange and yellow) or cool (green, blue and violet) hues, with the warm colors stimulating activity and appetites, and cool colors relaxing the brain. It’s reported that up to 90% of food decisions are made based on a restaurant’s color scheme alone. In addition to interior design, make sure your service staff's attire complements the color schematic and overall theme of your restaurant.

  • Lighting often defines the general atmosphere and contributes to each table’s spending. The wrong lighting, in terms of fixtures and brightness, can undermine your efforts to create an enjoyable restaurant environment.

Have You Heard?

Paying attention to acoustics will help you eliminate common patron complaints about not being able to have conversations with dinner companions and servers, or being annoyed by the clatter of back-of-the-house operations. Introducing acoustic panels and padded surfaces will mitigate reverberation and echoes throughout your pizzeria, leaving patrons to enjoy their meals and spend more money. Studies show that peaceful surroundings can increase sales by as much as 38%.

Reducing noise is one thing. Adding pleasant sounds is another. Music has a powerful effect on patrons. Slower tempos encourage them to relax, linger over meals, and take advantage of check-boosting add-ons like dessert and drinks; faster tunes typically cause patrons to dine and leave fairly quickly. Match the style of music to your restaurant, but be aware how it may impact the bottom line. Consider adjusting prices accordingly.

Nothing To Sniff At

It’s estimated that human beings can remember 10,000 scents, many of which trigger memories that set up subconscious expectations. For example, upon entering a pizzeria, patrons expect to smell enticing food aromas wafting throughout that draw them to your products, and psychologically shift them to want to eat – a lot. That satisfying experience can be equally satisfying to your bottom line. 

On the other hand, the smell of burnt pizza, bathroom odor and the stench of cleaning chemicals are major turnoffs. Patrons associate these scents with lack of quality and cleanliness, which translates to negative general perceptions and lower check totals. 

You’re in the business of feeding people, so wanting tempting tastes to star in your restaurant isn’t unusual. But, keep in mind that your pies are just a slice of the overall experience. Give patrons well-appointed, aromatic surroundings in which to enjoy those pies and you’ll appeal to their senses – and pocketbooks. 

You can also increase sales by using the power of social media. Find out how in Social Media 101: The Beginner’s Guide for Pizza Restaurants. Click the button below to download your free copy.

Social Media Beginner's Guide CTA


Categories: General Operations

Nick Charles

Written by Nick Charles

President, Alive & Kickin' Pizza Crust
Nick has been in the pizza dough business for more than 20 years. He heads up the company’s customer development and service (making sure they’re always happy with our product and our processes) and manages the overall business. It’s a big job, and he’s the right guy to do it!