When I was designing restaurants, resorts and retail, I always tried to use sensual and curvy elements.
Design is really psychological. Most people who feel good in a public space and want to be sure to
return don't realize that the elements of design that create the ambiance have much to do with that feeling.
Curves, nichos, water elements and lighting, just to name a few, impact you to calm and add to your sense of well being.
Color can stimulate your appetite as well as you individually. Back in " the days", I used to lecture on the psychology of color. More and more vibrant colors have come into most peoples everyday life contrary to what it was thirty years ago. To get an individual to go from white to beige back then was an epic decision. To get a man to paint, heaven forbid, old, "in bad shape" paneling was a blasphemy. Men love wood and the color blue. At least that's how it used to be.
Certain colors should always be used in some way in a restaurant to stimulate appetite. I cringe when I enter some restaurants now to see the predominant colors used in the decor. Certain colors are NOT even flattering to food.
I was aghast once when I saw what a former client had done after the restaurant I designed for him was finished. I had not been there in a while and he had changed the light bulbs from soft pink (which enhances the diner and the food) to yellow which effectively turned some food purple - not in a good way!.
Teeny, tiny details such as that can make or break the atmosphere, unfortunately.
Being chastised by architects and contractors was the norm for me back in the 80's as I reconcepted El Chico into Cuellar's Cafe on 610 and San Felipe in Houston. To say that the exterior was a traffic stopper would not be overstating the case. It got EVERYONE'S attention and that was the point. The exterior was turquoise and fuscia with large signage hand painted along with curvy walls and lush tropical foliage. Pretty much the norm nowadays!
It was photographed continually and used as a backdrop for photo shoots of models. It was so different that people talked about it. Again, that was the point. Those colors wouldn't get a second look in Mexico but in Houston in the 80's -zowee.
To tell you how successful color was in that project along with sensual details such as water fountains and troughs along with many nichos, the remodel was paid for in 120 days and became a very high grossing restaurant whose average ticket had been $5.99 per person to almost a ticket of $15 per person. In those days that was phenomenal.
Design done right can enhance food, make the guests comfortable enough to want to return and increase the restauranteurs or hoteliers profit significantly. It is equally effective in residential environments.