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  • Writer's pictureMaya

How to Use Smells to Improve Restaurant Sales

Why Smells Motivate Customers

Have you heard that chewing gum while you study, then chewing the same gum during a test, helps you remember the material? In the same way, good smells cause people to recall a good night they had at your restaurant and get them craving that same signature dish. Fragrance is proven to boost more sales in general. Hershey proved this by spritzing the scent of chocolate nearby where products were sold. Profits raised by 300%.

That’s why POS analytics now map out sales trends and preferences. The better you know your audience, the more effectively you’ll choose smells that speak to them. Keep in mind that different scents appeal to different consumers; for example, women prefer floral while men prefer smells like wood. However, you don’t want to alienate half the population. Instead develop a “signature scent” that reminds them of you whenever they pass it. If it’s common, like lemon for example, that’s ubiquitous enough that they’ll catch whiffs of it in random places and think about your restaurant.

Distinct smells equate to brand recognition. People also get hungry just coming near good food. Then the smell, sight and taste of well-made food encourages people to buy more at once.

restaurant smells

How to Find Your ‘Signature Scent’

For restaurants, that might be the whiff of a popular dish or fresh steak permeating the lobby. That’s right, good smells generate more foot traffic just by enticing curious passersby. Have you ever been out with friends and realized that it was dinnertime, but you didn’t plan to eat anywhere? As you’re looking around, you get pulled into a nearby store by the scent of freshly baked bread. Once you’ve looked over the menu, everyone agrees to stop in and eat. Even if nobody actually orders bread with dinner, the smell of it still convinced you all to come in, and from there it was easier to encourage a sit-down meal.

It’s not just food that impacts the senses. Post-pandemic, people are more aware of sanitation than ever. Appearing clean provides them with a sense of security, as they know you’re taking their health seriously.

The Smells of a Quality Restaurant

When you cook many different meals in a commercial kitchen, the smells can vie for who’s most powerful. Sometimes they don’t mix well together. This is all part of perfecting your signature scent.

Maybe you need to substitute ingredients for similar items that aren’t as pungent, for example. Finding a strong scent to encourage guests can also mean drowning out less-enticing smells, which then improves the customer experience because it’s more pleasant to be there. That’s probably why scent influences guests to stay 44% longer, ordering more food and drinks all the while.

Smells can make guests more calm or excited; they trigger good memories from when they’ve visited you before; they get guests to stay longer and spend more. Developing a unique scent is a fantastic marketing tool, and if you find the right flavor combination, you may keep new guests for life. As more regulars join the fold, many restaurants turn to smart Point of Sale systems to help organize and maintain their customer database. Nowadays POS manage customer profiles, track sales trends and handle so much more.


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