How Sights, Sounds, and Interactions are Shaping the Dining Experience

Julia Child once insisted “nothing is too much trouble if it turns out the way it should”. Although Julia was referring to food and the lengths we go to prepare it, chefs are now applying this same principle to their restaurants’ environments. From this hyper-awareness of the details, we see a focus that was strictly food-based now broadened to include the restaurant atmosphere. Sights, sounds, and interactions delight social-media-savvy patrons, bringing them and their friends back for more.


A study in gastrophysics by Charles Spence PhD recently showed that the sounds in a restaurant can change guests’ perception of food and drinks. In fact, certain music played in a bar has proven to cause customers to buy more of a particular drink. Does this sound far-fetched? Believe it! We now know that details like higher pitched, upbeat hip-hop brings out a sweeter perception of taste, while the sounds of ice and mixing spoons clinking convey freshness. Even the sound of a pepper grinder leads the mind to believe that something is freshly made. 


At Via Carota in New York, decorations are hand picked, evoking a sense of nostalgia. This nostalgia connects the diner to their food before they even order, giving the chef a head start. When food is served, the restaurant’s natural colors draw more attention to the vivid and colorful dishes that they serve. These simple details help restaurants to draw attention to the experience that they are selling – whether it’s one of comfort and nostalgia, streamline and modern, or adventure.


Why would we limit the sights and sounds of a restaurant to music and décor? Full-blown experiences take dining over-the-top. Enter the pop-up restaurant. Without being tied to a brick and mortar location food can connect to more cultures and communities. The blending of food and art omits the “business as usual” experience. Want to create a menu with every culture’s spin on stew? A pop-up is the way to do it. Thinking of creating meals that imitate famous art? You need to pop-up!

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Chef Tony Lagana

Chef Tony is a 42-year veteran of the food industry and is often known by his peers as “The New Product Guru.” Throughout his illustrious culinary career, he’s earned several notable titles and positions.

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