How To: Commercial Lighting  for Restaurants

How To: Commercial Lighting for Restaurants

Posted by Anthony Frasca on Apr 28th 2022

A study at Cornell University showed that 16-24% of diners stay and buy food more in well-lit places.

Set this example picture on your mind, you are hanging out with friends and you hit the bar in a hangout chill gathering. You'll probably end up choosing a place that has warm temperature lighting.

This happens because apart from the food, we do also consume the ambience and decoration of a commercial establishment. Of course, lighting of a restaurant will depend on customers or target audience. There’s a reason fast food places use clear fluorescent lighting while more fancy dining places use more subtle lighting, even in some cases lighting a table with just a candle.

In this text we’re gonna go into how to properly lit a restaurant, understanding the different areas and why your restaurant theme plays a part. But first…

Why is it important to light your restaurant the right way?

You may have the best plates, prices, decor and even location in the business but if the place is poorly lit, chances are that people will skip it all together.

Lighting it’s key for ambience, and this is really important as 91 percent of casual dining restaurant patrons say that an appealing ambiance influences their decision to visit a particular concept.

Securing a smooth experience for customers is one thing but also for employees. Lighting ensures that all areas including the kitchen are properly lit, helping customers feel better and employees work well.

How to Light a Restaurant Properly

To properly light a restaurant is not an easy task. The lighting must be in line with the style of the premises and type of dishes served so planning ahead of time it’s something really important.

For lighting a space we refer to much more than choosing between one type of lamp or another. The choice of light is key in all interior design but when it comes to decorating it is an even more decisive factor.

Playing with the multiple possibilities that lighting offers, you can manage to transmit the atmosphere that you want to identify your premises. That’s why it’s fundamental for your success to understand how you’ll be illuminating every area and which lights fit the best.

Areas to Light in a Restaurant

The restaurants are divided into four areas: the hall, the box, the kitchen and the restaurant room itself. In this case, the minimum illuminance levels are defined for all of them except for the dining area. Here it is only indicated that the light must be sufficient to create the right atmosphere for your restaurant.

The kitchen lighting must be powerful and clear, the bathroom lighting will seek other effects, and thus we must study the necessary lighting for each area

Tip: We must always make sure to create indirect lighting of a general type. This helps to avoid glare, to later design or choose different lighting points for the spaces that we want to highlight; product display tables or bars that should cover and reinforce our decoration and help create differentiated spaces through the lighting emitted.

1.) Facade and Entrance of the restaurant

The external appearance of the restaurant is the first impression that the client will have, and in addition, there are many magazines, guides, publications and restoration blogs that use the photo of the entrance of a restaurant as a presentation of each establishment.

You must illuminate the facade, the sign and the door in a way that is consistent with the character and style of the premises.

We recommend lighting that is not excessively intense, that provides a bath of uniform light, conveys a feeling of comfort, and obviously invites you to enter.

2.) Bar and Buffet

The restaurant bar must have specific lighting, as it is a special point of attraction and where diners, depending on the restaurant, will be sitting for a while or will be served.

You can place punctual lighting, through spotlights, restaurant pendant lights, or suspended lamps to frame this space.

Don't forget to install LED or fluorescent linear lighting to illuminate the display cases, shelves or food/beverage counters.

3.) Ambient Lighting in a Restaurant

Good general lighting in the restaurant will create a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere that will bring warmth to the space and good feelings for the diners.

It uses indirect light with linear LED systems or with decorative lamps, both current and modern, as well as reinterpreted classic designs, which decorate and enhance the character of the establishment. Choose which lamp is going to fit perfectly in your restaurant.

4.) Restaurant Bathroom Lights

Have you ever been in a bar or restaurant whose bathroom's lighting was not consistent with the ambiance in the dining room? Or maybe the lighting was too bright or not bright enough. 

Whichever the scenario, having the proper bathroom vanity lights and ceiling lights can provide a welcoming and comfortable environment for dining guests that keeps them happy in all facets of the dining establishment.

5.) Dining Room Lighting

The dining room is the heart of a restaurant, the element that defines the success or otherwise of the project. The atmosphere will be according to the typology of the premises; A space dedicated to fast food is not the same as another specialized in haute cuisine or fine dining.

If the specialty is breakfast, it must have a stimulating and fresh general lighting, with an abundant entrance of natural light. On the contrary, a restaurant specialized in dinners will have a dim light with suspended lights or spotlights that create an intimate or collected atmosphere.

These lamps can be the key detail that gives character and personality to the space, being the protagonists of the decoration. The light sources should be placed at a maximum of 75 cm from the diners, trying to avoid glare using indirect lighting whenever possible or shielding the points of light, in this way we will achieve a warm and comfortable atmosphere that generates a pleasant experience.

List of Popular Restaurant Dining Room Lights:

6.) Restaurant terrace lighting

Last but not least, the exterior or the terrace is, without a doubt, a continuity of the interior of the restaurant, so aesthetic and lighting coherence is also important.

Maintain the same criteria in design and lighting style as in the interior, and take care of all the small details, they turn an exterior into a comfortable and pleasant place, and invite you to enjoy the outdoor space.

To illuminate the umbrellas, it uses linear warm-light LED systems with diffusers to soften the light. For terraces with pergolas, hang outdoor suspension lamps or incorporate decorative lamps to create a more suggestive environment.

Contact Lighting and Supplies for Commercial Restaurant Lighting!

Remember in the decoration of bars, restaurants and cafes, interior design and lighting must be perfectly integrated. The choice of lamps will be marked by the design style and will play an important role in the personality of the space.

Together with being very clear about the atmosphere you want to achieve, using LED bulbs that optimize consumption and carefully choosing the ideal light for each area, will help you successfully illuminate your new bar or restaurant… or give it a new light.

At Lighting and Supplies, we are experts of planning, you can contact us and we’ll give a free consultation for your doubts or inquiries. Let us help you in your restaurant light journey by contacting us today!