The Importance of Lighting in Dining Experiences

by Jantec Neon • April 21, 2020

The Importance of Lighting in Dining Experiences

Dining out at a restaurant can be a great way to relax after a long week, made complete by a delicious dinner, drinks, and great company. While food is generally the main focus for a restaurant, there are many other factors one must consider in order to provide their guests with a comfortable and enjoyable dining experience. One such factor is lighting. Though lighting may be easily overlooked by some customers, it often impacts their dining decisions in several significant, slightly subconscious ways. This guide explores the importance of lighting in dining experiences and how well-designed lighting can positively impact the success of a restaurant over time.

Improves ambience

Camaraderie and quality conversation are equally as important as cuisine when it comes to creating a well-rounded dining experience. As such, you want to ensure that your restaurant’s lighting creates a calming atmosphere in which diners can comfortably converse with their friends and family. Restaurant lighting should be just dim enough to create a cozy atmosphere, yet not so dim that diners are unable to see other members of their party. Depending on the aesthetic of your restaurant, you can also install stylistic light fixtures to further improve ambience. Vibrant neon signs, for instance, are a great way to add a touch of fun and flavor to the overall dining experience. 

Improves presentation

As we’ve stated, food is at the forefront of any dining experience. However, crafting a delicious dish relies as much upon presentation as it does taste. Customers generally eat with their eyes first. That is to say, if a dish looks unappetizing, customers will be less likely to enjoy it or reorder it in the future. Presentation of dishes, therefore, is very important and can be greatly altered by the lighting within the restaurant. Be sure to choose lighting fixtures that will present your dishes in the best way possible. Harsh, bright lighting can draw attention to even the tiniest mistakes on a dish, while colored lighting may cause a dish to appear brown, gray, or green. Such color combinations aren’t often perceived as the most appetizing. Lighting that is slightly dim and indirect is often the best option, as it highlights the best features of a dish. This lighting option is also great for foodies who prefer to snap a photo of their food before digging in.

Improves sales

It may sound surprising, but well-designed lighting can even improve overall sales for a restaurant. Lighting can have a subtle impact on customer mood and experience, as we’ve stated. When customers feel comfortable, they are more likely to spend more time at the restaurant. The longer they spend at the restaurant, the more likely they are to spend more money. Harsh, fluorescent lighting can be quite abrasive and can cause customers to cut their dining experience short. Dim lighting, on the other hand, is quite comfortable and invites customers to stay awhile and sample the restaurant’s menu to their heart’s content.

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