Restaurant lighting is too dim for some

Are restaurants getting darker?

Why is dim lighting in restaurants so common? The simple answer is because it makes us stay longer, eat more and spend more. But what is one person's romantic or intimate space is another diner's struggle to read the menu.

What restaurants overlook is that not everybody can see well. We 'eat with our eyes' and if a restaurant is too dark how can customers see the beautiful food? It’s also true (love it or hate it) that the new generation of diners love to take pictures of their dishes and post it on social media. It’s a great way to promote a restaurant and is free advertising. However, crappy pictures resulting from inadequate lighting may not look enticing or attract new customer through the door.

Dim lighting might create a certain ambience or style, but it can be a safety issue. Have you ever tripped over steps or slipped on a wet floor because it's too dark to see? We all love cool and funky light fixtures to make a restaurant design and space look special, unique, and stand out. I think restaurants (and designers), got carried away by that and forgot about the first principles – that is the function of lighting is to provide light to see.

Vintage filament bulbs are common for restaurant lighting and when this trend began, they provided ’light decoration’ and were not intended to be the main light for the restaurant. Now, in many establishments it’s the primary - or only - lighting source.

Of course, the dim lighting may be hiding something more sinister, e.g. how clean a restaurant is (or isn’t). Our tip… take a look at the light fixtures. If they are covered in dust and grime, it’s a reliable indication of poor hygiene and you really don’t want it hanging over your head, let alone your food!

If you think your restaurant could be seen in a better light and you’re not sure how to fix the lighting, talk to us… because there is more to light!


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