Food Consumption Study
Now there is evidence that shows that the experience in a fast food restaurant is different from a fine dining restaurant. Both have very different atmospheres. The study was done by Brian Wansink and Dr. Koert Van Ittersum. In this study, the atmosphere part of a fast food restaurant in illinois received a transformation. Its atmosphere was changed to reflect one of fine-dining.
Lighting and Music
The lighting and music in most fast food restaurants can be bright and loud. So was the experience for some participants. In another part of the fast food restaurant the experience was different. This part of the fast food restaurant became one where softer jazz ballad instrumentals were played and the lighting dimmed.
The participants were randomly selected to eat in either the unchanged part of the restaurant or the fine-dining part. The researchers recorded the time spent eating and the amount of food consumed. The participants then rated the quality of the food before leaving.
The study showed that participants in the fine dining part consumed more, lingered longer, and ordered more food than those in the fast food environment, and were more satisfied with the experience. Surprisingly, they were no less likely to order more food: but were less likely to eat more.
Therefore, if fast foods were to offer its customers a less stimulating atmosphere, a more relaxing atmosphere: customers would not quickly chow down their meals and overeat. It is the surrounding environment that encourage obesity and mindless eating.
This study on food consumption explained why people would eat more while dining at some fast food restaurants. The bright colours and the hustling of the people around encourage you to chow down that food. You never know when you are satisfied when you eat quickly. The experience in a fine dining room is so much different. You hardly want to rush. The sound of the music really slows you down. When you are choosing to dine out next time, think of this study.
Wansink, Brian, and Koert Van Ittersum (2012). Fast Food Restaurant Lighting and Music Can Reduce Calorie Intake and Increase Satisfaction. Psychological Reports: Human Resources & Marketing, 111(1), 1-5. doi: 10.2466/01.PR0.111.4.228-232