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The Top 10 Must-See Restaurant Lighting Ideas

Lighting is essential to the restaurant business. It determines the atmosphere, environment and can impact how well a restaurant runs.

While it may seem like an unimportant aspect of any business venture, lighting can also make or break a customer’s experience.

How can you guarantee your customers a relaxing and enjoyable experience? Read our top 10 lighting ideas to find out which is perfect for any restaurant.

Top 10 Lighting Ideas

1. Bright Lighting

Using bright lights are perfect for restaurants that want the atmosphere to feel upbeat and eye-catching. Smoothie shops often use this lighting to accentuate vibrant colors in the store. Bright lighting can draw a customer’s eyes to colorful fruit, vivid ingredients, and flashy sale items.

2. Low Lighting

Opposite to bright lights, low lighting can also benefit certain situations. Formal restaurants and upscale dining use low lighting to set a relaxing and romantic mood for customers. Low lighting provides a sense of comfort and isolation, perfect for quiet dinners. However, do not confuse low lighting with no lighting. Every table and every patron deserves to have a lit table. It is a matter of degrees. You should always have enough light to read a menu or to see and enjoy the presentation.

3. Natural Lighting

Natural lighting can be found in most cafes and casual diners. Not only is natural light completely free, but it is a great way to utilize windows, doors, and skylights. Natural lighting provides a comfortable setting that imitates a recognizable light.

4. Outdoor Lighting

Fast-casual, contemporary casual, casual dining and bars can be seen with outdoor lighting. Outdoor lighting can offer a separate dining area for customers to use. String lights, lanterns, fire pits, candles, signage, branding, and lanterns are all examples of excellent outdoor lighting. Outdoor lights can be used to draw customers in and allow them to enjoy a relaxing atmosphere.

5. Pendant Lighting

This is the most popular form of lighting in restaurants, and for a good reason. Pendants are considered extremely flexible; they are easy to
install, can be positioned directly over seating, and they come in many sizes and options.

6. Chandeliers

Chandeliers are a great option to create a sense of elegance and ambiance. A benefit of chandeliers is that they can be tailored to your needs. You can use multiple bulbs for complete lighting. Chandeliers can also be used to accent an area of your restaurant. No matter how you use them, chandeliers are almost guaranteed to provide an atmosphere of elegance and refinement.

7. Ceiling Fan Lighting

An excellent option for larger restaurants and restaurants with covered outdoor patios, ceiling fans offer air circulation and light for customers. This can provide more coverage than other lights such as pendants and chandeliers. If you pair ceiling fan lighting with larger seating areas, you can supply customers with a sufficient amount of light.

8. Track Lighting

Track lighting works as an excellent accent lighting for many restaurants. Track lighting is a part of a long track that hangs from the ceiling. Track lighting highlights and accentuates various areas of a restaurant. It is perfect for restaurants that have booths and bars.

9. Wall Accents

Restaurants can use wall accents to fill up an abundance of wall space. They are an excellent choice for small rooms, corners, and hidden areas of a restaurant. Another benefit of wall accents is their easy installation and maintenance.

10. Smart Lights

For restaurants that are open for most of the day, smart lighting is a fantastic option. Smart lighting allows you to control shut-off times, daylight sensors, level control, dimmers, signs, events, and time locks. Consider your operating hours, the level of lighting within the building, and the atmosphere you wish to provide. With customizations, restaurants can conveniently control the lighting.

Ideas to Avoid

Minimal Lighting

Candlelit atmospheres are appropriate in the correct venue and paired with another lighting. If only minimal lighting is available, customers may not see their menus, their food, or their company. Likewise, workers may not be able to perform confidently.

No Accents

Accent lighting is essential in most restaurants. It offers focal points. Without accent lighting, restaurants may not fully display areas or objects that are important to their atmosphere and business.

Little Utility Lighting

Utility lighting is vital for the serviceability of a restaurant. This lighting has no specific design, but it is created to give the most light to the most area. Often used in commercial kitchens, dish rooms, and storage areas, chefs and workers need utility lighting to provide for their customers to the best of their ability.

Risk of Bad Lighting

Your restaurant must have an ample amount of lighting. While candle-lit dinners are romantic and offer a sophisticated atmosphere, they may hinder your customers.

Task lighting is ideal in places that need additional lighting at various points in the day. It illuminates vital areas such as tables, walkways, and other areas that may be void of natural and artificial lighting. Task lighting also allows workers to prepare food, deliver food, and great guests. Without task lighting, chiefs, greeters, and customers may have a difficult time.

Rush hours must be considered when deciding on lighting. Different rush hours require different lighting. If the wrong lighting is chosen, then it may hinder the mood and environment of the restaurant.

Restaurants busy during the morning hours should take advantage of natural lighting and arrange their restaurant to benefit from it.

Places that are popular during lunchtime, specifically fast-food and fast-casual restaurants, should focus on higher lighting. Higher lighting is highly functional lighting; it allows customers to experience their mealtime quickly and painlessly.

Dinner rush hours are often popular in sit-down establishments. It is best to plan around customers that are coming to relax and spend a little more time than normal. Low lighting and accent lighting give a tranquil atmosphere.

As you can see, many factors determine how to light a restaurant. Consider functionality, ambiance, environment, coverage, and operational hours before deciding on the lighting for your establishment.

Ready to improve the lighting at your restaurant? Speak to one of our restaurant lighting experts today.

Keep your projects on track, on time, and on budget!

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