Eating With Your Eyes – The Importance Of Visuals In The F&B Industry

5 senses

Eating With Your Eyes – The Importance Of Visuals In The F&B Industry

Posted by Sofia Hondrogiorge on Jul 3, 2019 12:43:10 PM

We don’t enjoy food for the taste alone - Eating food is a multi-sensory experience, whereby taste is the last judgement factor. We tend to begin our decision on what we choose to eat by listening to how other people talk about the food at particular venues. When word of mouth gets us into the venue, we smell the aromas in the air, we then see the menu options and look at what others are eating. We only then get to touch and taste the meal that we have so carefully chosen.

5 senses

Many would assume our sense of taste is the most prominent when it comes to food. Think again.. Studies suggest that we ‘Eat with our eyes’ and that our sense of sight is a key decision-making factor when it comes to selecting what we would like to eat.

What does this mean for restaurant owners? You need to play to consumers senses!

Upon choosing to come and eat at a venue, the menu is one of the first things a customer typically sees and interacts with. The menu is in fact often the primary decision maker in whether the customer will order at the venue or choose to dine elsewhere. The menu is ultimately the biggest advertising platform that a restaurant owner has, however the benefits are often overlooked. As the menu sits at the start of the customers purchase cycle, restaurant owners need to put their best foot forward and create a menu that stimulates their customers taste buds by using great visual ques that persuade customers to buy. 

Visual Persuasion

A picture says more than a thousand words. Great visuals can amplify the message you are trying to convey and persuade the user to act in a certain way. Visuals can have an immediate impact on people due to the way in which they can trigger thoughts and emotions.

Tap into your customers memories

Whether you’re offering homely, hearty meals that spark memories of family, or serve up traditional Japanese cuisine reminding customers of their travels, the imagery used will drive the customer back to these memories and stimulate their purchase behaviour.

Stimulate their senses

We are all aware that losing one sense heightens the others. What does this mean for our menus? When we reach the ordering point in the dining cycle we are generally situated in front of a menu. Typically, we are relying on our sense of sight to help us make the decision of what we are going to order. Smell, touch and taste come in after we have ordered our meal, meaning that at the decision-making point of ordering, our sense of sight is the primary factor in facilitating purchase choice.

That being said, it is imperative to have a visually appealing menu.

We eat with our eyes

Oxford Professor, Charles Spence’s research dictates "People's perception is typically dominated by what their eyes see". Our tongues and taste buds follow what we see, meaning sight prevails.

Are we actually even hungry? Who knows.. When we see something that we like, our mind consciously or unconsciously thinks “yep, I want to eat that” striking the feeling of hunger, irrespective of whether we are actually hungry. This predominately happens when you see a waiter walking past with an appetising looking meal or when you are looking at a menu with great visuals. 

The key takeaway - It’s all in the eyes

If something is looking good, the likelihood is, that people are going to want it. If the items on your menu look visually appealing, the chances of your customers selecting to purchase those items dramatically increase.

Restaurant owners go to great lengths to get the perfect shot of the items on their menu in a bid to increase customer purchase behaviour. Check out this video to see the lengths people go to get that perfect shot!

TabSquare’s solutions enable restaurant owners to have a visually pleasing menu that can enhance customer purchase behaviour. To find out more about TabSquare’s solutions, download our white paper or contact us and we can work on how to enhance your menu and improve purchase behaviour.  


Topics: tabsquare, digitalmenu, Visuals