The Importance of Lighting In Your Restaurant by Madhavi Detroja

The Importance of Lighting In Your Restaurant

Lighting plays a major role in the atmosphere created in a restaurant setting, and can mean the difference between it feeling inviting and enjoyable to customers or not. The fixtures, lighting tones and even lighting placement are key factors in creating a desirable setting while also fulfilling a function. Understanding the various aspects of lighting and knowing which types work best for specific locations will help simplify the process of making the best choices for your business. Check out the information below.

How Lighting Enhances Your Restaurant’s Atmosphere

The different levels of light will greatly impact the atmosphere of your restaurant or bar and affect the amount of new and repeat business you receive. Finding lighting that serves a purpose as well as properly balancing the light in an area will prevent eye discomfort and glare; allowing your guest areas to have ample lighting for menu reading possible while also setting the stage for a pleasurable dining experience.

Lighting

Below we’ve provided descriptions of how the different lighting choices help enhance a mood, or ambiance. Remember that the lighting placement as well as the combination of surrounding surfaces, colours, natural light and time of day all influence the final result.    

  • Low Lighting: This is ideal when you’re aiming for a relaxed and romantic vibe. Low lighting resembles candlelight and also helps guests feel they have more privacy and seclusion. Low lighting is easily accomplished with plenty of accent lighting throughout and fixtures equipped with dimmers that hang above the seating area.

  • Bright Lighting: If the goal is to encourage a high-energy atmosphere common for family-friendly establishments or smoothie and coffee shops, then the best option would consist of sufficient overhead lighting that shines bright. Be sure to take advantage of natural light too by adding large windows equipped with curtains, blinds, or shades to ensure the sunlight doesn’t cause customer discomfort.

Besides creating the perfect atmosphere for guests, you’ll want to use the correct type of lighting for specific purposes. Below are the three primary lighting types and their function. 

  • Task Lighting: Fluorescent lights are ideal for use in areas where specific tasks occur and would include the kitchen, the hostess stand or areas where customers require focused lighting. Fluorescent lighting is available in a variety of styles, shapes, and sizes including overhead lights or decorative lamps.

  • Ambient Lighting: This is considered the main lighting source and is comprised of any combination of strategically placed overhead fixtures, natural light, and recessed lighting.

  • Accent Lighting: Just as the name implies, accent lighting is designed to enhance focal points on anything from menu boards, unique décor, or specialty items.

There are also light fixtures that can serve multiple purposes. For example patio lanterns are great for creating ambient illumination in the evening and accent lighting during daylight hours.

Styles of Lighting

Restaurants should be equipped with a variety of lighting fixtures to accommodate for the different times of day, fluctuations of natural light, as well as to offer diversity and options for setting different moods based on events.

Electric light fixtures offer the most control and versatility in brightness and tone; and the wide selection of electric fixtures include lanterns, wall sconces, overhead and tabletop styles. There’s everything from pendant lights and chandeliers to track lighting and ceiling fans, equipped with either fluorescent or LED bulbs.

With the many advances in technology, there are now smart lighting options that have multiple features that include timers, dimmers, automatic shut-off features, scheduling options and even sensors that are capable of adjusting the light based the brightness of natural light or vacancy/occupancy sections. Most of these features are easily controlled via tablet, smartphone, or computer.

Always take advantage of natural light for both atmosphere enhancement and cost cutting factors. However, don’t forget to install shades or blinds to ensure guests won’t be blinded from the sun.

Making the right lighting choices is a key factor to creating the desired customer experience. When customers enjoy the atmosphere of your restaurant, they’ll likely stay longer, order more, continue coming back and tell others about your restaurant. Additionally, proper lighting in the main work areas can enhance energy, thus increasing the performance and efficiency of staff.

Designing and setting up a restaurant involves lots of decisions; from the equipment required to ensure functionality for staff to the colours, textures, furniture, and lighting that will be experienced by your customers.

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