Did you know that the lighting in a room might determine how you’re feeling on a given day? Research has found that lighting can affect your energy levels, emotions, mood, and even your appetite.
When you’re designing a restaurant, lighting isn’t something you should choose as an afterthought. Restaurant lighting fixtures can impact the experience that your customers have and even affect the way that they perceive the taste of your dishes.
Are you wondering how you should approach the question of restaurant lighting choices?
Let’s take a look at everything you should be thinking about when it’s time to illuminate your new eatery.
How Restaurant Lighting Fixtures Affects the Mood and Mindset of Your Establishment
The experiences that we have are made up of a collection of sensory data. The reality of this is particularly clear when it comes to the places that we choose to eat and the food we eat.
Some studies have found that the aesthetics of a plate of food actually has a direct relationship with how the taste is perceived by the diner. Research coming out of Cornell University found that the lighting of a restaurant also impacts the dining choices and mood of customers.
Well-lit restaurants seem to inspire people to order healthier food options than dimly-lit restaurants. They also perceive stronger flavors when there is more light.
However, there are also benefits to more dimly lit restaurants. While brightly lit spaces can make people feel alert, dimly lit spaces give people the chance to relax. Overall, people are more likely to feel content with their dining experience when the place is darker.
People dining in dimly lit restaurants tend to make less healthy choices but the meal they experience tends to be more intimate.
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Different Types of Restaurant Lighting
When it comes time to create a lighting plan for your restaurant, you’ll want to consider the specific different types of lighting. The kind of restaurant you’re opening should inform your choices. If you’re starting an upscale restaurant, you’ll probably want to create a more intimate setting than if you’re opening a casual lunch spot.
Ambient lighting is usually the main source of lighting in a space. This might come through the windows in the form of natural light or it might be overhead commercial lights. Ambient light is what allows your customers and employees to easily move around the space.
You’ll want to make sure that there’s enough light at every station to allow your employees to do their jobs efficiently and safely. The chefs will need task lighting in the kitchen and the host will need task lighting at the receptionist stand.
You can also use lighting to draw the diner’s eye and attention to a specific area. This might be lighting that accentuates a work of art on the wall or that draws their eye to your top-shelf liquor selection.
What to Consider When Choosing Lighting
If you approached the question of restaurant lighting without putting much thought into it, you might think the only considerations were where fixtures could easily be installed and how much light you need. However, there’s a lot more to it than that to create an environment that’s both practical for your workers and pleasant for your customers.
You’ll want to be considerate of how big your establishment is when choosing lighting. If your space is small, too many fixtures could overwhelm the restaurant. When space is limited, consider using wall accents, short pendants, or ceiling light fixtures can work well.
Color and Decor
Another factor that will influence your choice is the color scheme of your restaurant and the overall aesthetic. Bright, white walls might not need bright lighting. When your paint, decor, countertops, and floors are light-colored, it can reflect light and create a welcoming atmosphere as long as it’s not overdone.
If the color scheme of the restaurant is darker, then indirect light should be used to ensure that guests don’t strain their eyes. You should be aware that glossy surfaces will cause glaring, so shiny metallic surfaces or glass over paintings might not create the desired effect depending on your lighting strategy.
The lighting you put in your restaurant is going to be one of the defining factors in the mood of the space. If you serve fast food, bright lights and bright colors can encourage people to be alert and keep moving. For upscale restaurants, dimmer lighting allows diners to relax, take their time, and enjoy themselves.
You’ll also want to consider the color temperature of the lighting you choose. More blue lights tend to make people more alert and focused, while warmer, yellower light lets people relax and chill out.
You’ll want to build restaurant light fixtures into your budget. Lighting isn’t cheap, so that means that you’ll want to put quite a bit of consideration into it the first go-round. It can be a good idea to audit a number of other restaurants to get a sense of the vibe you’d like to create.
For romantic, upscale restaurants, you might consider having wall fixtures and candles on diners’ tables. If your restaurant is more casual, ceiling lights might be appropriate. Be very considerate of where your lights are going when you are designing your open space.
Restaurant Lighting Fixtures to Keep Your Employees Efficient and Your Customers Happy
It’s not that one type of lighting is superior to the others, but rather that specific circumstances are better suited by certain types of lighting. Understanding the vibe that you want to create in your restaurant can ensure that you choose lighting that creates the experience you want your customers to have.
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