Hard music and bright lights: it is not cozy in fast food restaurants. But that light and music not only influences the atmosphere, but also how much you eat, it turns out. Less bright light and soft, relaxed music means that people spend longer on their food, but less food is consumed.
That is the remarkable conclusion of a new study. Scientists from Cornell University gave half of a fast food restaurant a makeover. The bright lights gave way to cozier, softer light. And the loud music was replaced by softer jazz music. Subjects were divided into two groups: one group ate in the part of the restaurant that had undergone a metamorphosis. The other group in the “normal” part of the restaurant with bright online lighting Australia and loud music. The researchers closely monitored how long the subjects spent on their food and how much they ate. Afterwards the test subjects were asked how they thought the quality of their food was.
The results are very surprising. The researchers expected that people would linger longer in a relaxed atmosphere with relaxing music and soft light and would therefore order more food. Simply because it is good to be in such an environment. But it turned out to be something else. The test subjects who sat in the restyled fast-food restaurant did indeed sit longer, but ate less. “We found that softer music and softer light made people eat 175 kilocalories less,” says researcher Brian Wansink. That is about eighteen percent less than the people who ate fast food in bright light and while enjoying loud music.
Remarkably, the people in the restyled restaurant could also appreciate the food more. They gave the food higher scores than the people in the other part of the restaurant did. The researchers write this in the journal Psychological Reports: Human Resources & Marketing.
“These results suggest that a relaxing environment makes people feel more satisfied and reduces consumption,” says Wansink. According to him, fast food chains – which have been under fire in recent years because they would contribute to the so-called obesity epidemic – can benefit from this knowledge. By changing the atmosphere in their restaurants, they get more satisfied customers and they contribute to fighting the obesity epidemic because customers eat less in such an environment.