Dim Lights & Soft Music Make Fast Food Customers Eat Less According to Study
See how happy I am in dark and tastefully-scored Ruth’s Chris?
Turning down the lights and playing softer music is no longer just a viable strategy for becoming the next Casanova. A study from Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab indicates that a fast-food restuarant with softer music and lighting led to less caloric intake and more food enjoyment.
After years of resisting my parents’ entreaties to read and do work in better lighting, I’m unquestionably biased toward mood lighting. I’m a total sucker for a poorly-lit Italian restaurant with some soothing tunes from the peninsula. I also happen to be the old man type that generally detests loud music, so these findings square with my experience.
The decreased caloric intake – lead author Brian Wansink pegs it at 175 fewer calories – is a bit of a puzzler. Putting on my Sociology major hat here for a second, my best guess is that the bright lights and louder music increase anxiety, which in turn leads to stress eating? Does loud music stifle conversation and resign people to stuffing their faces instead?
I’m sure this presents a conflict for restaurants considering the implications of this study. Torn between selling more food and making customers happy, something tells me Big Fast Food is going to go with quantity over quality.
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