Restaurants usually invest most of their attention in planning the menus, the decorations, the seating - but what if all these efforts go unnoticed, what if your guests barely get to see all your hard work. This is likely to happen if you do not give enough importance to the lighting of your restaurant.
An otherwise good dining experience can easily be spoiled if an “intimate atmosphere” you tried to create is too dark, or if your restaurant looks too bright for your kind of establishment. It is thus very important to select the lighting of your restaurant very carefully. If you are now wondering how to make the right selection, then continue reading to discover your answer.
1. Consider when you will stay open
The time of the day when you will be open to offer service needs to be considered while selecting lighting for restaurants.
If you start at late afternoon and only offer dinner then you should opt for softer, low-intensity light to create the right mood.
If you are basically a brunch/breakfast place then bright lighting will help set the right mood and give your customers the exact light they need to read the newspapers with their cup of coffee.
For lunch, you can use a lighting that the day crowd finds comfortable, but it is still bright enough for table turnover. You certainly want your customers to have a nice time, but would not want them to spend their entire afternoon there reading a book and sipping water after completing lunch.
Dimming the lights during the evening will help create the right ambiance.
If you plan to open a lunch of breakfast restaurant for the first time then choose a location that can allow enough natural light into your eatery through huge windows. Windows will do half the work of the lighting during the day, and will also cut electricity costs. However, even if you have big windows, you still need to be prepared for stormy or cloudy days with some nice accent lightings.
2. Select the right color lighting
Every light bulb has a certain shade of white light or a specific “color temperature”. Golden tones and warmer orange can be found in certain bulbs whereas others may offer crisp white light.
Now, you need to think what type of restaurant you have to decide the right light.
For a fast casual or quick serve eatery, a crisp, white light will help create the right environment, and give the perfect daytime feeling.
Fine dining places can use warmer colors to create a nice sophisticated atmosphere.
Family restaurants will do well by opting for something in between – not as bright as the quick serve ones, but still brighter than the formal dining places.
No matter what color lighting you opt for, be sure to see your food underneath it before you light up your entire restaurant with those lights. You certainly would not like it if the light looks great, but your delicious dishes underneath it looks completely unattractive.
3. Never go too dim
Many owners of fine dining restaurants make a common mistake, and that is keeping the place too dark. There is nothing wrong with creating a nice mood with evening lighting, but make sure that it does not impair visibility. Remember, visibility at the table is not enough, your guests should also be able to see the entire dining room.
Creating a nice dramatic atmosphere is certainly great, but your guests would also want to read your menu. This is all the more important if your usual visitors are middle-aged or older. If your lighting makes it difficult for your guests to place their order, it certainly will not create a positive experience.
4. Give important to functionality
Style certainly is very important when it comes to decorating a restaurant. Every aspect of your dining area design should complement each other, and this includes the lighting. However, many a time people give more importance to how a certain fixture look, and not consider how that fixture will make everything around it look.
Be careful and make sure that no matter what bulb type or fixture you select they should be stylish, but equally practical. It will be of no use if the light bulb you select has the right color and brightness, but the fixtures only darken the room or just looks out of place.
5. Energy efficiency is important
Electricity contributes to a great extent to the overall utility bills of your restaurant. Halogen lamps and conventional incandescent bulbs can generate too much heat, which will not only make your employees and guests feel uncomfortable but will also increase your electricity and air conditioning usage.
So, you should instead invest in energy efficient bulbs to cut down on your utility bill. LED lights are a perfect option for the back and front of your restaurant. They can cost you little more than conventional bulbs, but in the long run, they will save you lots of money, and will last you longer.
6. Check out other restaurants that are doing it right
It is wise for every business owner to keep track of successes and trends in their industry, particularly in their local area. The next time you go dining at a restaurant (particularly one that is like yours) carefully observe the lighting. Does it help create the right mood? Does it contribute to a good dining experience, or is it a distraction?
Also, when you eat in a restaurant that has perfect lighting, carefully see how it has been set up. Where is the source of the light installed? What kind of color are the bulbs generating? Do make a note of such details so that you can use them in your own dining place.
The right lighting in a restaurant creates the right ambiance and the right ambiance allows the guests to have a nice time. Happy guests will recommend your restaurant to friends and family, more recommendations means more guests, and more guests will further increase your income. The right lighting contributes to a great extent in making your business successful, so do select it very, very carefully.