"They're below conscious-level effects," Kahn said. "You give people a bigger plate, they eat more. But they don't realize that they're doing that. They use all these perceptual cues without knowing it."
Researchers at the Dutch restaurant hope the results of their study will be of interest not only to the corporate world, which has a clear stake in knowing which colors, smells and sounds attract buyers, but also to medical professionals, studying the causes of overeating and obesity.
"People do things without knowing why," van Ittersum said, adding that simply reducing portion size will lead people to be satisfied with less food.
Despite the excitement surrounding the Restaurant of the Future, experts say there are limitations.
"The beauty of observation is that you actually see what happens naturally," van Ittersum told ABC News. "But you're going to yield so much information, you can run a small university just based on the data collected there."
And experts warn the results found at Wageningen University won't necessarily translate elsewhere. Miami's Kahn said there are huge differences across cultures when it comes to food.
"Even with globalization," Kahn said, "one thing that seems pretty culture-bound is food habits."
Van Ittersum, who is from the Netherlands and an alumnus of the institution, agreed.
"Tipping, for example, is not going to be studied at Wageningen University," said van Ittersum, laughing. "It's a simple as that. Tipping is not a part of Dutch culture."
Diners at the Restaurant of the Future, meanwhile, seemed perfectly content being watched, weighed and monitored as they ate and chatted with colleagues.
"I don't feel like I'm being watched; no, not at all," one woman told ABC News as she sat eating her lunch, which included two whole-wheat sandwiches and a banana.
Asked whether she felt comfortable, she answered, "Yeah, of course. Why not?"