In the restaurant business, first impressions count. You want anyone that walks in off the street to feel immediately at home and almost compelled to dine with you. So, creating the right ambience is vital. Restaurant lighting design plays a surprisingly significant role in doing that. How your restaurant is lit has a significant impact on the vibe people get when they first arrive. So, tweaking or updating your lighting is something that you should do every couple of years or so.
Fortunately, as you will see, you do not have to spend a fortune to be able to significantly improve the ambience of your restaurant. In fact, in some cases, you could even end up saving money, over the long run.
Here are our top restaurant lighting tips:
Choose lighting fixtures that fit in with the overall theme of the restaurant
If you are not already doing so, choose lighting fixtures that fit in with the theme of your restaurant. In a 1920s-style restaurant or an American diner, using modern lights that do not fit in with the décor of the era will not work. It will ruin the overall effect.
Investing in some antique or retro lighting fixtures and having them converted so that they can operate using modern LED bulbs is well worth considering. Usually, doing so will reduce the amount of power consumed and most diners will appreciate that you are doing your bit for the planet. It is far easier to do this than you may think. Just take a look at this how-to video to see what we mean.
Incorporate digital screens when redesigning your restaurant lighting
Over the past few years, the use of digital signs for restaurants has become the norm. Across the world, business owners rely on them to quickly share details of promotions with diners, and they are increasingly being used as digital menus. Customers like them and most restaurant owners find that they save them a lot of money. For example, digital menus make it possible to instantly change the pricing for items to better reflect the actual cost of producing each dish. Something that is becoming increasingly important in a business environment where the price of key ingredients can easily rise by 10% or more overnight.
Because digital screens give off quite a bit of light, it is wise to take the impact that they have on lighting levels into account when redesigning how your restaurant is lit. Locating them above the bar works for most restaurants. That area is already brightly lit, so the light given off by the screens does not change the ambience of that area.
Use screens as moving canvases
However, if you have a dark corner that you want to brighten up by installing another screen there could be the answer. When you do that, you can potentially use it to display either a still or moving image that will add to the overall ambience of your restaurant. You can find out more about moving canvases and how all kinds of businesses are using them by clicking here.
Install lighting that is easy to control
Studies show that soft lighting encourages diners to stay longer, which is great if you want people to order dessert. But not so good if at certain points of the day you need to turn your tables over quickly. For that reason, it is important to have some control over how brightly your premises are lit. For most restaurants installing lighting with individualized dimmer controls is worth doing.
Invest in decent quality task lighting
When reviewing your lighting also look at how the areas your staff work in are lit. Make sure that your staff are equipped for success by providing them with the light, they need to do an excellent job.
Also, ensure that the lighting on or over the table is bright enough to enable people to read the menu and eat comfortably. It is also important to provide good lighting in the restrooms.
The above are the most important considerations when reviewing how your restaurant is lit. But, if you want to know more about, for example, the psychology behind restaurant lighting, you can do so by reading this more in-depth article.
Using interesting and venue-appropriate lighting is an uncomplicated way to create a unique ambience that customers will remember and appreciate. So, if it has been a while since you reviewed how your restaurant is lit, why not add it to your to-do list?
Holly brings a wealth of experience in both print and digital publishing and is very passionate about the hospitality industry.