What Restaurants Need to Know About LED Lighting


What Restaurants Need to Know About LED Lighting


Last year, we wrote an article that talked about why proper LED lighting in a restaurant is so important and how it impacts everything from sales to safety. The question now is how to implement the right kind of LED lighting into a restaurant space. As LEDs advance in usage and style, their placement in the overall lighting design of a restaurant is limitless. The type and location are dependent on a number of factors including mood, interior design, exterior facade, menu, and thematic focal points.

First impressions are important and the right LED lighting design will help your customers form a favorable opinion of the space before they even sit down. Ambiance, task, and accent lighting all play a part in enhancing features within your restaurant that affect a patron’s experience from start to finish. As you begin to build out the restaurant of your dreams, or breathe new life into an old favorite, consider the following points when it comes to LED lighting design BEFORE you dig in.

What’s the mood of your space?

Lighting is designed primarily for the customers, not for the establishment, and can play a pivotal role in setting the mood of your restaurant. When determining the ambiance, think about the kind of food you serve. Is it a family friendly pizza joint or an upscale steakhouse? While both are delicious choices, candlelit tables and little kids don’t exactly mix. Consider the color palate of the interior and the feel you want to communicate to your guests. Casual sandwich shops don’t often require low, intimate lighting, just as a fine dining seafood restaurant shouldn’t have ultra-bright panel lighting. Make sure you are creating the look and feel that’s intended through illumination – don’t design it to work against you.

Are there multiple personalities?  

 If you have a large space, use it to your advantage by creating different moods within the same establishment. If you have a dining area, make sure the light is uniform, comfortable, and bright enough to see the menu, helping guests interact easily with everyone around the table. If there’s an attached bar or lounge space, the lighting can be much different. There, accent LEDs are widely used to create a more quiet, intimate atmosphere.

Consider the time of day.

As the mood shifts throughout the day, so should the lighting. People desire a lighter, brighter atmosphere in the daytime compared to the night. If you are predominately a breakfast/lunch place, look for more even illumination with a warm, bright interior. Places that specialize in dinnertime should focus on creating a space that makes people feel at ease after a long day and relax their eyes rather than stimulating them. If your space is open morning to night, consider using dimmable LEDs that help change the mood in an instant.

Think outside the box.

Don’t forget about the exterior! Dark, drab entrances do not elevate curb appeal. Pay as much attention to outdoor lighting as you do indoors by illuminating outdoor focal points such as the architecture of the building and the sign of the restaurant itself. A place that glows as much on the outside as the inside draws people in and peaks interest. LED lighting (such as outdoor Wall Packs and Flood Lights) strategically placed in parking lots, on sidewalks, and near ramps will help keep everyone safe and secure in the evening.

Cultivate meaningful focal points.

Use task lighting (that’s brighter than ambient lighting) to highlight interesting focal points with your restaurant such as artwork, wall quotes, menu boards, or an open kitchen. Focal lighting can also help make your customers feel more at ease by illuminating all entrances, exits, and bathrooms.

Think beyond beauty.

 Beyond enhancing the functionality or beauty of the space, LEDs are considered more energy efficient than any other bulb on the market today. All EarthBulb lamps, for example, provide over 80% energy savings when compared to incandescent lighting and nearly 40% when compared to CFLs. They offer better quality and color of light. Additionally, high-quality LED products can last up to 20x longer than any other artificial light source, reducing the time, cost, and effort of maintenance.

Check out how our EarthTronics LED EarthBulbs were used within Abigail’s American Bistro to create an inviting atmosphere for her guests while saving energy.

If you’re in the middle of a renovation project and are considering making the switch from incandescent lights to LEDs, remember that doesn’t mean you have to lose an existing fixture that you feel is identifiable to the brand. In many cases, your existing lighting can be retrofit with a low-voltage LED alternative.

If you need help developing a LED lighting design that’s perfect for your space, reach out to our EarthTronic’s customer service team, we are here to help!