There are numerous physical selections to be made as far as the tables, chairs and plate ware. The list can go on and on, but what is often not considered is the lighting that can positively or, if neglected, negatively impact every other choice! Choosing the right lighting is no throw away decision and making the right choices can help elevate every aspect of the dining experience!
Setting the Mood
There is no singular best lighting to choose from, it's all about fitting the lighting to your space and the mood you are trying to set for your guests. Perhaps you cater to an intimate clientele looking mostly for romantic dinners for two. A dimly light dining room with candlelight accenting each table may be the right choice, where a more family style venue that supports larger groups may call for brighter and more bold lighting choices. Different types of lighting can also be used to help distinguish different areas of the restaurant as well, setting a different mood for the bar area and the dining room. The right lighting should also provide the ideal illumination but without being a distraction in and of itself, your guests are there for the food and overall atmosphere, not to stare into the lights. The goal is to create a lighting design that perfectly sets the tone for your space yet does so subtly without becoming the focus.
Accenting the Decor
You've probably spent a lot of time decorating and making your space as visually appealing as possible. Perhaps you have artwork on display, or intricately designed wood moldings. However you choose to decorate your establishment, the right lighting can serve as the perfect accent. After all what good is a beautifully painted mural if it is unevenly lit and hard to see? Track lighting that can be aimed can serve to highlights specific areas and keep your guests attention exactly where you want it to be. Backlighting, up lighting and under lighting are all other ways you can accent the décor without detracting from the dining experience or oversaturating the rest of the light in the room. Consider also the color and tone of the lights. Think of the difference between a harsh fluorescent department store panel and a warm candlelight tone. These are two extreme examples but depending on what lighting you choose you can find a range of color and tone that compliments the color and tone of the rest of your design scheme. Be wary of getting too experimental with color choices, as we've already discussed, your goal should be to enhance, not distract. Another thing to be careful of is choosing your lighting fixtures. Too often lights are selected for how decorative and fancy they physically look, but the important thing to remember is not how the lights appear, but how they actually light up the room.
Elevate the Presentation
From the moment your guests enter your building, the lighting tone is one of the first impressions that they will get. They won't necessarily be looking at the lights directly, but what they see and how the room is lit makes a strong impression on anyone the first time they enter and can either add or detract from the overall dining experience. You've already got them there, but of course you want them to come back again, right? After the first impressions, every aspect of the dining experience is in some way shaped and colored by the light. The right lighting can serve to make everything look and feel more appealing, even the guests themselves!
Boost Sales and Performance
Now perhaps the most important part from an ownership perspective, is how can investing in lighting affect the bottom sales numbers? Well for one thing, as we spoke of before, the right lighting choices make it so that all your other choices are accentuated and make your customers come back and even more importantly make recommendations to their friends and family and help expand your business. Lighting does have a direct impact on each individual guest check, or rather the wrong lighting may. An inviting atmosphere lit correctly invites your guests to stay longer and spend more. If they are enjoying their time together and the atmosphere, perhaps they will be more likely to stick around for dessert. Perhaps the most important but last thought of area is lighting the spaces where your guests are not. Proper lighting in the kitchen and other work areas can directly lead to increased safety and boost kitchen performance. A well-lit kitchen allows the chef to prepare the food and expedite the plating with the most quality possible.