(NEW YORK) — The tendency of people who decide to enjoy their fast food in the restaurant where they purchased it is to consume their meals quickly. The interiors of these eateries are designed to speed customers in and out with garish colors, bright lights and plenty of background noise.
However, would a change of scenery affect dining habits? That’s what researchers Brian Wansink and Dr. Koert Van Ittersum set out to learn when they conducted an experiment at a Hardee’s in Champaign, Ill.
The researchers had one group of customers dine in a regular section of the restaurant while another group was served food in a section that mimicked a fine-dining environment with softer lighting and mellow jazz.
Their discovery was that even though Hardee’s patrons lingered longer in the altered part of the restaurant, they also consumed less than the group that gobbled down their fast food in the unadulterated section and didn’t feel compelled to order extra food.
Just as interesting was that the “fine diners” rated the quality of their food higher than the control group.
The take-away from all this is that environment seems to dictate the speed at which we dine and by making the surroundings more pleasurable, it can help to reduce mindless eating that contributes to obesity.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Sam Penrod, KSL.com
Kevin Conlon, Euan McKirdy and Johanzynn Gatewood, CNN
Susan Scutti, CNN