Have you ever been to a nice restaurant and the food is almost too beautiful to eat? Well, there is psychology behind your salad that looks like a Picasso painting!
Depending on where your foodservice operation is located, your clientele may have different nutritional needs that you should keep in mind when developing menus and plating food. For instance, as adults age, many changes influence their eating. Medications and physical, sensory and cognitive impairments can interfere with older adults’ enjoyment and physical ability to eat. Eating difficulties can lead to serious consequences like dehydration, malnutrition, weight loss and more. Thus, foodservice operators should understand the psychology behind food plating to ensure their customer is receiving the best that is possible.
When plating is artistic, people enjoy food more than, if the same ingredients were randomly placed on the plate. Hence why you would rather eat a salad plated to resemble a painting. One way for children to have a more enjoyable experience with their food is to place ingredients in the shape of a face - like a broccoli floret for a nose, cucumber slices for eyes and red bell peppers to form a mouth. People have even become Instagram famous for their beautiful food art!
Ida Skivenes (www.idafrosk.com) is a famous artist from Norway who creates (and eats!) food art. She is crafted food to look like the Eiffel Tower, a hot air balloon, a bumblebee and more. You do not have to get this creative, however, it is important to keep in mind who you are serving and that the food looks thoughtful on the plate.
Along with artistic food, the shape and color of the dinnerware can also affect taste. Round, white plates enhance sweet flavors in food, whereas black, angular plates bring out flavors that are more savory. Serving food on a red plate tends to reduce the amount diners eat. Also, keep in mind “The Large Plate Mistake,” especially if your clientele will be serving themselves during mealtimes. Research has proven that diners will eat more food when using a larger plate. So, if your foodservice operation cannot change the color of your dinnerware, change the size. Using smaller plates ultimately leads to clientele choosing smaller portions.
Foodservice operators can change dishware to better accommodate the dining needs of clientele. If your clientele needs to eat less, select plates that have high color contrast with the food that is being served. For instance, if your clientele needs to eat more greens, serve them on a green plate. Another idea is to use table clothes too. Foodservice operators can select a tablecloth with a low-contrast to the dinnerware to lower the likelihood of over-serving or stimulate the eating.
Color, size, shape, material of small wares and plating play a role in elevating the dining experience. Keep the food psychology in mind with the selection of smallwares to affect positive nutrition and hydration.