7 Lighting Tips for Your Restaurant
Lighting can be an important way to attract customers to your restaurant and highlight your cuisine. It is also important to use it sensibly and to understand some of the basic principles of lighting so a restaurant owner can achieve the benefits without falling foul of any of the pitfalls.
Diane Chiasson, FCSI, President of Chiasson Consultants Inc., a restaurant and foodservice consultancy firm in Toronto, has seven tips on using lighting to enhance your restaurant operation and your sales.
- Understand Lighting Basics
It is important to have a basic familiarity with the four basic kinds of lighting when considering how to improve your restaurant’s appearance and sales. General or ambient lighting is the main source of illumination in a space. Choosing lower levels of this, where appropriate, can do much to reduce overall energy bills and be more environmentally-friendly as all other forms of lighting can be lessened when set against a lower level of ambient lighting. With such basics in hand a restaurateur can consider how to light his restaurant by the different time of meals, and by the usage and space of his place along with the many other ideas noted here.
- Create Personality While Reflecting Brand and Identity
Your lighting should complement and conform to the overall theme and mood of your restaurant and it should reflect the brand identity you have chosen. Diffused general lighting ensures a sense of well-being, which makes diners feel comfortable and more likely to stay longer in your restaurant and order more. A simple way to achieve this is by arranging recessed fixtures using reflectors, baffles, and lensed trims in overlapping positions. Another of the four basic kinds of lighting, decorative lighting can also be used to enhance the look of the space in this regard. Decorative lighting includes pendants, sconces, chandeliers, table and floor lamps, and cylinders. Decorative lighting should complement and add visual interest to the interior, as well as provide or contribute to the overall lighting plan.
- Use it to Attract Customers
Accent lighting is lighting that is used to highlight specific areas, displays, and in order to make your cuisine pop or to add a sense of importance. Accent lighting can play an important part in creating a dramatic emphasis on the entrance to your restaurant using a focused, or point, light source or sources. Your entrance area would determine the first impression of your restaurant. It is likely to become the waiting area in cases that the dining room is completely occupied. Plan your lighting accordingly so that it may not have any negative psychological effect on your clients. While young people tend to be fascinated with low levels of lighting, associated commonly with high quality service and even higher prices, older people generally want brighter light to appease their moods.
- What’s hot in cooling with lighting?
One style that is rapidly gaining influence in restaurants is to have them adorned in LEDs (light-emitting diodes that glow when voltage is applied to them). Energy-efficient, flexible, and absolutely beautiful, these lamps are available in a wide array of patterns and colors. You don’t have to worry whether your place uses prewired tapes and materials or standard fixtures. If you can afford them, you are saving up on your cooling budget later. Do a prior check, however, on the ones you purchase that they do not have a problem with dimmers or they might limit your ability to vary the mood of your restaurant at different times of day or night.
- Use It Carefully
Inappropriate lighting can destroy the experience offered by your restaurant. It is important that you understand the atmosphere you are trying to create and the type of venue you have, to be able to reinforce the existing theme positively with the lighting you choose. From the glow of intimacy to a feel of spaciousness and relaxation, the layout and selection of fixtures for lighting should address the image to be conveyed, including the colour, the uses of the different spaces, the atmosphere, visibility, and even surface finishes. Consider these factors in determining lighting levels and the particular kinds of basic lighting and even the lighting fixtures you want to use in your restaurant.
- Use Task Lighting Where Appropriate
Task lighting is lighting that is more focused, used to better illuminate areas in your restaurant where more light is needed to perform certain tasks. This should be used in kitchen areas to ensure sufficient levels exist for staff to work effectively and efficiently. However, it shouldn’t be neglected in point of sale and cash register locations, where it can enable staff to run register sales and credit card transactions, with a minimum of mistakes. Direct lighting, as a form of task lighting is also valuable for areas where your food is displayed (for example, salad bars) whereas indirect lighting would be used for creating the balance and making the place appear charming.
- Use Lighting to Boost Sales
Expand your scope of success by remembering to give your customers and not the architecture the top-most priority. Your customers are the ones your business is all about. When you are concerned about their comfort level, you will make sure there is pleasant lighting, and use colors sparingly to accentuate the moments or any details of your place. A wrong selection could produce a circus-like environment. The purpose of lighting is to make your restaurant and your cuisine more appealing. Contrast can be achieved by using an increased illumination within the different types of light, commonly task and accent, to emphasize featured items against the general light levels. You can use this to promote special meals and special occasions so your patrons are encouraged to return for future visits and your sales increase.
© 2016 Chiasson Consultants Inc. All rights reserved.
Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 25 years. She is recognized as the industry leader in providing innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.chiassonconsultants.com