Is there a smell that makes you spend more in restaurants?
It was actually the relaxing scent of lavender that increased spending per person from 17.5 Euros to 21.1 Euros on average. That’s a statistically significant 20% increase. Not a bad return on the investment of three electric fragrance diffusers.
But unfortunately for all Gordon Ramsay wannabes, I have discovered a potentially fatal flaw in the plan. Not only did spending go up in the lavender condition, but so did the average amount of time spent in the restaurant, from 91.3 minutes to 105.7 minutes – about 15%.
In busy restaurants, owners often want a high throughput of diners. More covers equals more cash-o-la. People hanging around drinking coffee and soaking up lavender aren’t necessarily racking up the profits. On the other hand, on quiet nights, it’s better to be selling those coffees than not and a half-full restaurant always looks better to passing trade than one that’s almost empty.
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