When envisioning a commercial kitchen, most people have an image of shiny stainless-steel equipment and sparkling white walls, ceilings, and floors. And when setting up or renovating a restaurant, kitchen colors are often the last item on the list. Most restaurant designs take into consideration the effect that color has on diners. That’s why you see lots of bright reds and oranges in fast food restaurants. These kitchen colors affect the appetite and increase customer turnover. Conversely, warm earthy colors create a welcoming vibe, encouraging diners to linger over after-dinner drinks, coffee, and dessert. This color palette is commonly found in higher-end restaurants where check totals make a difference.
Just as kitchen color ideas can affect your customers’ moods and behavior, they can also affect the well-being and behavior of your kitchen staff. Let’s take a quick look at color psychology theory and how a kitchen color scheme can impact your back-of-the-house productivity.
Research into the effect of different colors in the workplace indicates that some colors can impact workplace productivity. Colors, color combinations, and intensity of colors can have a significant impact on the productivity of your kitchen. For example, although all these colors can be considered red, a bright scarlet will have a different impact than a brick red or muted maroon. And, sanitation and hygiene regulations often mandate lighter colors for easy inspection. But that doesn’t mean you have to opt for a cold, sterile while. Lighter shades of colors can offer productivity benefits and stay within the acceptable range for inspection.
Red, the color of passion, can raise blood pressure and increase the heart rate. It can also make people think that time is moving at a faster pace than it really is. In a high-energy, commercial kitchen environment, a touch of red can help kitchen staff keep up with busy workplace demands. This vibrant kitchen color scheme can help staff make split-second decisions when the chips are down – literally.
But don’t overdo it, since red tends to bring up strong emotions, too much also cause aggressiveness and anxiety in your staff. Tempers may flare in an already tense situation. And it may cause your team to be too energized, which may lead to fatigue and lost productivity. So, adding red as an accent color can help keep your staff energized and alert for their entire shift. Using a gentler shade such as terracotta will offer a mellower feel that still has energy.
Reminiscent of the sky and sea, blue creates a calm and tranquil feel that enhances focus and clear-headedness. It has the opposite effect of red, lowering blood pressure and slowing the heart rate. If your kitchen is fast-paced, this may not be the best color choice, but there are some kitchens that can benefit from calming shades of blue.
A kitchen with an assembly-line approach where each station focuses on a specific task may find this color improves overall productivity. This includes sandwich shops, some fast-casual restaurants, and pizzerias. Blue can keep unhelpful thoughts at bay and keep the mind focused on the task at hand. Choose a light, cheerful blue since darker shades can cause moodiness.
It’s hard to be depressed surround by bright, cheerful, optimistic yellow. This optimistic, cheerful kitchen color scheme brings out expression and creativity in a fresh, fun environment. It is ideal for chefs in restaurants that work to reinvent old dishes or create new ones. It may not be the best color for assembly-line style production where each station works on a specific task.
Accents of soft yellow gold, butter yellow, or earthy shades of amber or honey can give your kitchen the perfect amount of energy and creativity. If you go too bright, your staff may get over-stimulated and may get frustrated or annoyed more easily. Yellow and red make orange, which can give you the passion of red with the exuberance of yellow. But, just as with yellow and red on their own, too much orange in your kitchen colors can cause the kitchen staff to get too fired up and distracted. Accents in orange are a way to get the energy without the negativity.
Green is another soothing, calming color that brings us back to nature. When used as a kitchen color scheme, it provides a calm, stress-free vibe. Green is pleasing to the eyes, so it is ideal for commercial kitchens where staff has to work long hours on nights or weekends.
Because green is so calming, darker shades may have sedating effects, which can slow down productivity. Brighter shades, such as lime green, are energizing. When used in a commercial kitchen, a combination of dark and light shades will provide a balanced environment for productivity.