Complex trends like biophilic design are making waves in hospitality in recent years. Lighting a restaurant is no longer a case of installing a few downlights and calling it a day.
Interior designers and restauranteurs alike demand much more from their lighting elements than ever before. Well-designed lighting for restaurants assists with the production and service side of an eatery; improves how a dish appears to the customer once it’s on the table; and emphasizes the theme, ethos, or brand of a restaurant or bar.
Read on to learn why getting the lighting just so is essential for a successful hospitality business.
Keep It on Theme
You only have one chance to make an excellent first impression when it comes to the fickle customers of today.
If your restaurant doesn’t have a clear theme or purpose, customers will feel confused about what you’re offering. Lighting design can help you emphasize the particular ambiance you’re trying to create.
Don’t make lighting an afterthought, either. When designing the space, remember these key points: the amount of space you have, your concept, and the target audience.
You wouldn’t have soft candlelight in a sports bar, would you? And what if you decide you want to illuminate individual tables in a fine dining restaurant but forgot to put in the necessary fixtures? Planning makes all the difference to the feeling you create.
When picking fixtures, stick to three or four designs maximum. If you have a few statement chandeliers, ensure the rest of your lights are subdued. Match wall sconces, pendant lights, and service lighting for a cohesive look.
Outdoor Lighting for Restaurants
From your entranceway to your patio, outdoor lighting is just as essential to the overall look and feel of your restaurant as indoor lighting design is.
Where people enter your restaurant should be well lit, as should the name of your restaurant. You want your space to look open when it is, well, open–unless, of course, you’re going for that speakeasy vibe.
Practically, consider outdoor areas that might pose a danger to customers or staff if not well lit. Stairs, even if just one or two, uneven ground such as gravel or bark, and low-down furniture like bench seats all need dedicated lighting.
Time and Season-Sensitive Lighting
Does your restaurant only open for dinner? Or perhaps you’re a breakfast and brunch spot, closing before lunchtime even begins. Restaurant owners need to take the atmosphere their customers expect of the food served when designing their lighting needs.
Typically speaking, diners, cafes, and other all-day venues need bright, cheerful lighting that encourages customers to eat and go. In fine dining, the focus is on the food experience. Diners want privacy, while the lighting should focus on highlighting what’s on the table. Late-night bars and eateries are social places, and evening lighting should be subdued to create an atmosphere conducive to chatting.
Generally speaking, people feel the most comfortable in warm, ambient lighting, so look for bulbs at the lower end of the spectrum, about 2700K to 3000K.
Right Place, Right Lighting
One of the biggest mistakes restaurant owners make when designing a restaurant is keeping the lighting consistent throughout the space. From the entryway to the dining room, the bar to the kitchen, every area requires a different lighting style.
A table lighting fixture needs to bright enough for customers to read the menu and see their food but dim enough to reduce glare. The reception and waiting area should be efficiently lit, making diners feel welcome as they enter. In the kitchen and above the bar, bright lighting is crucial so bartenders and chefs can work their culinary magic safely.
Wall lighting can be more decorative because it doesn’t serve a purpose other than to add personality to your eatery. Use it creatively to define your individual style and enhance your brand.
A Complement for Food
As much as lighting matters for ambiance and brand, it also dictates how customers literally see their food. Believe it or not, but even the most colorful dish can look bland under lousy lighting.
Restauranteurs must understand the Color Rendering Index (CRI) because it affects how diners interact with their food.
Lighting designers typically recommend a CRI score of 80 to 90 (out of 100) to replicate a food item’s “true” color. If you use less than this, the visual impact of the food and drinks your chefs have carefully crafted will fall flat.
A well-ordered restaurant is a comfortable place for customers and staff.
People can find the restroom easily, service staff can navigate the space without tripping over hidden objects or bumping into table corners, and those in the kitchen can see what they’re preparing.
Outside of designing lighting that guides guests and staff around the venue, restaurants can also use lighting to enhance the experiential aspects of their space.
Is an open kitchen part of your restaurant’s charm? Highlight it was bright lighting. Or use downlights to draw the diners’ attention to the artworks painted by a local artist on your walls.
Lighting can also be practical. If a restaurant is too dark, service staff won’t see a spill to clean it up, or a piece of food dropped on the ground. Customers might not notice if they drop personal belongings until well after they’ve left the restaurant.
And, of course, diners always need to be able to read the menu easily.
Specialized lighting, such as the restaurant lighting Interior Deluxe, is crucial for creating efficient hospitality service design and a seamless customer experience.
Put Your Money Where Your Lighting Is
Are you still wondering whether hiring a lighting designer or paying more for quality lighting for restaurants is worth the investment? When you consider that ambiance dictates whether a customer will come back, you’d be foolish not to consider this crucial design element. Trust us; the proof will be in the profits.
Keen to learn more about interior design for restaurants, homes, and offices? Be sure to browse the other articles on our website.