Many things factor into the perfect dinner out. Ingredients, technique, service, and environment have to come together in perfect harmony to make an experience worthy of leaving the house. The food itself feels like an obvious given, but it’s easy to overlook the massive impact that environment can have on a meal.
According to a study out of University of Missouri-Kansas City, people choose to patronize restaurants based on emotional reasons as much as practical ones like location or food quality. People eat where they feel good.
One way to radically improve the way a restaurant environment feels is through lighting. There’s a science to perfecting the lighting in a restaurant, from how it affects the way we perceive the food to the way it can change our mood. According Nation’s Restaurant News, the color temperature of the lighting relates directly to accurate color of the food. Patrons can appreciate more of their meal, literally, if it’s under the right light.
While proper lighting might be more costly, it makes the difference between satisfied customers and ones who decide to eat elsewhere. Lighting also helps direct patrons’ focus in a restaurant. In lower or dimmer lighting, restaurants can feel less crowded.
Using design elements to create smaller spaces in bigger spaces is a cornerstone of every restaurant date night. Patrons pay for certain expectations of quality, not just in the food but in the experience. People want soft, inviting light that does more than hang overhead like stark office fluorescents. It’s theatre, it’s magic, and it’s a subconscious call to the the warm glow of a fireplace that makes patrons feel at home.
Premium lighting is a shortcut to a premium dining experiences. The glow can be accomplished with simple wall sconces that reduce the harsh overhead light in a restaurant. This dim environment is key, because research proves that patrons eat more in low-light conditions. It’s easier to be less immersed and more self-conscious underneath brighter light. Being intentional about the lighting and environment of a restaurant is another way for owners and operators to show how much they care about their patrons. When lighting feels deliberate and in tune with the cuisine and design of the restaurant, it’s easier for patrons to lose themselves in the experience and dig in. Good lighting makes good food even better, and bad lighting can even make food worse. It’s an overlooked but vital element in any restaurant experience.