Getting Lit : How Lighting Can Impact Patrons
Within a restaurant or dining establishment the customer always comes first. Customers should be able to experience excitement, well-being and gratitude from the food, establishment and their accompanying guests. Ironically, lighting is one of the most underestimated design elements within an establishment, but it has the greatest impact on customers’ dining experience.
Back in the 70s, Dr. John Flynn conducted a groundbreaking study of lighting’s effects on our moods and experiences. His conclusions show the lighting in a space determines whether someone considers the environment:
▪ Pleasant or Unpleasant
▪ Public or Private
▪ Spacious or Confined
▪ Relaxed or Tense
▪ Visually Clear or Hazy
In other words, every one of us is influenced by lighting when we walk into a bar. And if patrons’ moods and experiences are affected, restaurant owners better pay attention to the message their lights are sending. Good lighting can equal increased sales.
Proper Lighting Sets The Mood
Rather than the in-and-out “fast-track” dining experience, customers are now looking for a “time-using,” more emotional, social dining experience. Dining out should appeal to all senses, not just the taste of the food. Lighting is designed primarily for the customers, not for the establishment.
Proper Lighting Can Increase Sales
By properly setting the mood, lights influence customers to enjoy a lengthy dining experience, which will hopefully lead to a larger order, too. The longer customers spend in an establishment, the more likely they are to spend more money. Proper lighting can also help sell products by making the food look more appealing. For greater effect, lighting should be placed in areas where it can dramatically accentuate bar and food items.
Proper Lighting Boosts Kitchen Performance
Preparing high quality food in poorly lit kitchens can be quite a challenge. In order for kitchen staff to make quality food in a timely manner, and make it look like a work of art, proper lighting is essential. Keep in mind that kitchen-area lighting needs to accommodate the safety of the staff and food.
Proper Lighting Can Differentiate Space
Restaurants contain different areas that are essential to the establishment’s overall functionality and customer experience, such as waiting areas, dining areas, and the bar area. All areas should have different lighting to reflect the purpose of each area. For example, isolated sit-down areas within the establishment should have darker lighting for a more intimate feel, whereas the waiting area should have brighter lighting for a more inviting feel.
Proper Lighting Can Impact Safety And Security
Last, but certainly not least, lighting is crucial to the safety and security of customers and employees. In case of an emergency, it’s crucial that patrons can easily navigate its exits. Additional emergency or back-up lights are needed in case of a power outage.