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You thought about the colour scheme, chose the best furniture, and designed the most inviting layout. But something still doesn’t feel quite right… Is that the lighting that’s too bright? The good news is you are not the only one – restaurant owners often don’t know how to implement lighting solutions into their spaces. Bad news is you cannot leave it as it is! Inadequate lighting in a restaurant can easily flaunt your interior décor and repel more customers than you would ever think…

Improper lighting can ruin the restaurant ambiance, create the feeling of discomfort, and make the food look grey or bluish (the last one speaks for itself, doesn’t it?). The fact is this – lighting in a restaurant matters. A lot! And in this article, we will share with you some of the most common lighting mistakes to avoid in your restaurant fit out. Take a cue!

  1. The more, the better?

Installing too many fixtures is by far the most common lighting mistake to avoid in your restaurant fit out! It makes the space look too harsh and feel like an interrogation room, which can give your diners a proper headache! The secret lies in the right placement, wattage and colour temperature. Plan for the right number and spacing of lights based on the size of your restaurant and lighting specifics such us beam spread and the lumen output. With the right placement, you will see that your interior is beautifully illuminated, creating an intimate atmosphere to dine in.

  1. Create the ambiance

“I love blinding fluorescent lighting when dining out” – said no one ever! When choosing how to light your restaurant, it’s important to remember that fixtures are not merely there to provide light for people to eat, but they are responsible for creating the right mood, too. Not sure what the right mood for your restaurant would be? Think about the food you serve, the colour of your interior, the formality of dining experience you want to create, and even waiters uniforms. An upscale dining restaurant would benefit from dimmed and soothing lights, whereas a casual pizza place or a café will do OK with bright fixtures. Properly set mood can increase the restaurant sales, as the right lights make customers enjoy a lengthy dining experience, which naturally results in bigger orders.

  1. Wake-me-up breakfast, quick lunch and romantic dinner

You may want to create different type of moods throughout the day. Yes, you got it right! In the early morning hours your restaurant should provide a lot of bright lights for customers to wake up and read the morning newspaper while enjoying their coffee and bagels. Around lunchtime more moderate level of lighting should kick in to help create faster turnover rates and speed up the flow of customers in and out (they call it a lunch rush for a reason!). The dinner hours require low-intensity light that creates a leisurely atmosphere and helps your diners unwind and relax.

When choosing how to light your restaurant, it’s important to remember that fixtures are not merely there to provide light for people to eat, but they are responsible for creating the right mood, too. Properly set mood can increase the restaurant sales, as the right lights make customers enjoy a lengthy dining experience, which naturally results in bigger orders.

  1. Don’t forget about task and accent lights

The right mood is important but it’s not everything. Simply put, if your restaurant creates a perfect romantic mood, but your diners cannot read their menus – something has gone terribly wrong! Forgetting about task lights is another common lighting mistake to avoid in your restaurant fit out. As the name suggests, task lights are there to help both your customers and employees perform certain tasks, e.g., read the menu (or see what they are eating!) and cook in the kitchen. Special attention should also be paid to particular features of your décor such as sculptural elements, pieces of artwork, or even parts of your restaurant like a large menu board, bar or open kitchen. Accent lights – used to draw attention to a specific area – will make those features stand out, quirkily grab customers’ attention, and make their dining experience even more memorable.

  1. Daylight is not gone!

Make use of daylight! Natural light is by far the most comfortable light, it creates healthier and happier spaces, and it’s free! Take advantage of tall windows, skylights, and doors with glass panels. Try and situate tables and seating areas by windows so that your diners can enjoy as much sun as possible. At the same time, understand which solar direction your restaurant is facing and use window blinds and tints to counteract strong rays and glare – you don’t want to blind your customers!

  1. Judge the restaurant by its outdoor lighting

The outside of your restaurant acts as an advertisement and attraction (or repellent if done improperly!) to hungry passers-by. Make sure you highlight the architecture of the building, illuminate any signs, and light up outdoor eating areas when the natural light is low. And don’t forget about safety! Places such us sidewalks, exits and entrances, patios, decks, and parking lots must be well lit to prevent accidents, but also to reduce the chance of break-ins and vandalism.

  1. Once there was a sloppy Joe…

No matter how great your lighting design and layout is if you still forget about little things. Remember to use high-quality lights, test any new products, and replace flickering or dead light bulbs as soon as possible – you don’t want to be sending across the wrong message!

Yes, there are quite a few lighting mistakes to avoid in your restaurant fit out – you don’t want to create the wrong mood, displease the diners, or ruin the interiors. There’s a lot to remember, but there is also a lot to look forward to! We wish you good luck and we’re here to help if needed!

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