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The Power of Color in Takeaway Menus

When it comes to designing a takeaway menu, color isn't just a matter of aesthetic preference; it's a pivotal decision that can influence customer behavior, perceptions, and even appetite. This blog delves deep into the psychology of colors and their specific impacts in the context of takeaway menus. Whether you're a new food outlet, a seasoned restaurateur, or just curious about color theory in marketing, this guide will help you understand why the color of your takeaway menu plays a crucial role in your business's success.

The Psychology of Color in Marketing

Color psychology is a field of study that examines how colors affect perceptions and behaviors. In marketing, this knowledge is used to create branding, packaging, and advertising that resonate with the target audience. Research shows that color can influence up to 90% of an initial impression, and when it comes to food, it's even more impactful.

Choosing the Right Color for Your Takeaway Menu

  1. Red: The Appetite Stimulator

    • Red is a popular color in the food industry because it's known to stimulate appetite. It's eye-catching and can create a sense of urgency, often used in fast-food and takeaway settings.

    • Example: McDonald's and KFC use red prominently in their branding and menus.

  2. Yellow: The Attention-Grabber

    • Yellow, often used alongside red, grabs attention and evokes feelings of happiness and comfort. It's ideal for attracting a younger audience or creating a sense of affordability.

    • Example: Subway combines yellow with green to highlight freshness and affordability.

  3. Green: Health and Freshness

    • Green is synonymous with health, freshness, and sustainability. It's perfect for menus focusing on salads, vegan options, or organic food.

    • Example: Sweetgreen uses green to emphasize its commitment to fresh, healthy ingredients.

  4. Blue: The Appetite Suppressant

    • Surprisingly, blue is known to suppress appetite. While it conveys trust and reliability, it's less common in food-related contexts. Use blue cautiously, perhaps to highlight health-conscious choices.

    • Example: Blue Apron uses blue to align with its brand name but balances it with appetizing food imagery.

  5. Orange: Fun and Vibrant

    • Orange combines the urgency of red with the cheerfulness of yellow. It's a great choice for menus that want to appear fun, vibrant, and budget-friendly.

    • Example: Taco Bell uses orange to create a lively, energetic atmosphere.

Balancing Colors with Your Brand Identity

Your brand identity should guide your color choice. The color must align with your brand's personality, values, and target audience. For example, a luxury gourmet takeaway might opt for black or gold to convey elegance, while a family-friendly pizza place might choose red and yellow for their warmth and vibrancy.

Data-Driven Insights: What Research Says

Studies in color psychology suggest that warm colors like red and yellow can increase heart rate, which in turn increases appetite. On the other hand, cool colors like blue can create a more relaxed dining atmosphere. Understanding these subtleties can guide your color selection process.

The Impact of Cultural Context

Cultural associations with colors can vary. For instance, while white may be considered clean and pure in Western cultures, it's associated with mourning in some Eastern cultures. Understanding your local customer base's cultural context is crucial in choosing the most appealing colors for your menu.

Real-World Examples: Successful Color Strategies

Let's look at some real-world examples where color has been effectively used in takeaway menus:

  1. Chipotle: Uses a combination of earth tones, reflecting its commitment to natural and sustainable ingredients.

  2. Domino's Pizza: Red and blue dominate their menu, combining appetite stimulation with a sense of trust and reliability.

  3. Starbucks: The iconic green logo is synonymous with premium coffee and reflects the brand's focus on environmental responsibility.

Q&A Section

  1. Q: How does color impact customer perception in takeaway menus? A: Color can influence mood, appetite, and purchasing decisions. For example, red stimulates appetite, while blue can be calming but may suppress hunger.

  2. Q: Can the color of a menu affect sales? A: Absolutely. Colors like red and yellow can create a sense of urgency and stimulate appetite, potentially leading to increased sales.

  3. Q: Should I use multiple colors in my menu design? A: Yes, but carefully. Complementary colors can highlight different sections or offerings, but too many colors can be overwhelming.

  4. Q: Is it important to consider cultural implications of colors? A: Yes, cultural associations with colors can significantly impact how your menu is received by your audience.

  5. Q: Can changing a menu's color scheme rejuvenate my brand? A: Redesigning with a new color scheme can refresh your brand's image and attract new customers, but it should align with your overall brand identity.

Pros and Cons Based on Color Choices


  • Red: Increases appetite, attracts attention.

  • Yellow: Evokes happiness, grabs attention.

  • Green: Associated with health, freshness.

  • Blue: Conveys trust, but use sparingly in food contexts.


  • Red: Can be overstimulating if overused.

  • Yellow: May be perceived as cheap if not used correctly.

  • Green: May not appeal to those looking for more indulgent options.

  • Blue: Rarely used in food contexts due to its appetite-suppressing qualities.

Do's and Dont's


  • Do consider your brand identity and target audience when choosing colors.

  • Do use warm colors like red and yellow to stimulate appetite and attract attention.

  • Do balance bold colors with neutral tones for readability and aesthetic appeal.


  • Don't use too many colors, as it can be overwhelming.

  • Don't ignore cultural implications of certain colors.

  • Don't use blue excessively in food-related contexts.

Concluding Thought

Selecting the right color for your takeaway menu is more than just an aesthetic choice; it's a strategic decision that can impact your business's success. Understanding the psychology behind color choices and considering your brand identity and target audience will help you create a menu that not only looks appealing but also resonates with your customers.

Next Steps

Ready to revamp your takeaway menu with the perfect color scheme? Contact us at [Your Business Name] for expert design and marketing services that will take your brand to the next level. Let's create a menu that not only looks great but also drives sales!

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Color Psychology in Takeaway Menus: Choosing the Best Color for Success

This blog explores the impact of colour choices on the effectiveness of takeaway menus, examining how different colours influence customer behaviour and preferences, ultimately guiding you to select the ideal colour palette for your menu design.

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