Ambient Scenting Effects on Your Restaurant

Smell is the most primal of our five senses; that is, smell is the most basic and primitive method of collecting information from our surroundings.

As soon as your nose detects a smell, it triggers the olfactory neurons in the upper part of your nose, sending electrical impulses to a part of the brain called the olfactory bulb. These impulses are then passed along to surrounding areas, collectively known as the limbic system.

The olfactory and limbic system. Image: ThoughtCo

https://www.fohlio.com , The olfactory and limbic system. Image: ThoughtCo

The sense of smell is very closely linked to memory, probably more so than any of our other senses. Think of certain foods you’ve eaten a lot as a child. If your mother often baked a lot of bread, passing a bakery may bring you back to afternoons spent in the kitchen of your childhood home, triggering happy, comfortable memories. On the other hand, you may hate broccoli today because its smell reminds you of all those battles of will waged at the dinner table.

Image: Industville

https://www.fohlio.com , Image: Industville

Any bakery owner worth their salt knows this: It’s why many bakeries are laid out similar to retail stores, with bread lining the walls and propped up on tables. Not only will the loaves tempt you with their beautiful, burnished surfaces, their aroma will also surround you. Many bakeries will even have burlap sacks of flour lying around for that homey effect.

Crazy BBQ, Kiev. Image: Homedit

https://www.fohlio.com , Crazy BBQ, Kiev. Image: Homedit

There are many scents that trigger similar responses in most people. Lavender, for example, relaxes the brain. Vanilla and chamomile reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Citrus and peppermint increase alertness.

Starbucks, Japan. Design: Kengo Kuma and Associates. Image: Masao Nishikawa

https://www.fohlio.com , Starbucks, Japan. Design: Kengo Kuma and Associates. Image: Masao Nishikawa

There are also smells that can change a person’s perspective of a room. Apple and cucumber scents, for example, make a room feel bigger and more airy. Barbecue smoke, on the other hand, makes a room stuffy and feel smaller than it actually is.

An open kitchen design is another solution, with many benefits besides scent. Image: Anders Husa

https://www.fohlio.com , Starbucks, Japan. Design: Kengo Kuma and Associates. Image: Masao Nishikawa

f buying restaurant scents sounds outrageous to you, it’s worth noting that the right smells can increase food sales up to 300%. According to a study by the University of Paderborn, scents increased impulse buying by 6%, buying intention by 14.8%, and the length of a customer’s stay by 15.9%.

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An open kitchen design is another solution. Because there are no walls that separate the kitchen from the dining area, the smells from the cooking food will waft freely over to the diners.

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