Our senses are continually working together to create experiences. This is especially evident when it comes to the food we eat and the places we choose to eat in. Research shows the way a plate of food looks has a direct correlation with how a diner perceives its taste. Similarly, a recent study conducted by Cornell University suggests a restaurant's lighting affects customers' moods and dining choices.
Here's where it gets complicated. According to that study, diners are 16 - 24% more likely to order healthy food in well-lit restaurants. That's because bright light increases a person's senses and heightens emotions. This same bright light that causes diners to make healthier choices also causes them to perceive stronger flavors.
These benefits both sound great, so why should a restaurant even consider using lower light levels? Because bright light leaves customers feeling alert, dim light conversely allows customers to relax. People dining at dimly lit tables tend to eat at a slower pace and feel more content with their dining experience. While their food choices are statistically less healthy than they might have been had the lighting been brighter, their meal is generally more intimate.
So, how do restaurants find a middle ground? Here are some possible solutions:
- Use natural light to your advantage. A restaurant with a lot of windows becomes very bright during the day. This style of lighting helps customers stay alert, while also boosting their serotonin levels to help maintain a relaxed, happy mood.
- Alter your lighting for the time of day. Lunch and dinner crowds can be very different entities. By keeping your atmosphere brightly lit during lunch hours, you will help customers not only make healthier mid-day choices but will also help make sure they aren't accidentally over-extending their lunch periods. On the other hand, because dinner is meant to be a more leisurely experience, bring the ambient room lighting down around 6 pm and lean on other forms light like lamps and candles.
- Create the illusion of a dimly lit room. When it comes to creating experiences, psychology is a constant factor. To create a dining environment that plays off the benefits of both brightly and dimly lit atmospheres, create the illusion of both. Try to keep brightness levels from natural and overhead light consistent throughout the day. Instead of setting fixtures brighter after sundown, add candles to tables that give off enough light to brighten a person's face. This will add ambience and give the illusion that the table needed extra light, despite the room being bright already.
Just like how the way a plate of food looks changes the way it tastes, the way a restaurant feels changes a diner's mood. By paying attention to your lighting and adding visually comforting tools like flameless candles from Hollowick, your restaurant could become a go-to for patrons who want an overall fantastic experience.
Hollowick is an industry-leading producer of commercial lighting solutions that can help enhance the atmosphere of your restaurant and boost the experience of your diners. Their innovative flameless candles deliver a lifelike ambiance, complete with a natural flame flicker. The company's flame technology, battery life, and warranties illustrate their firm commitment to improving customer service, product satisfaction, and the overall guest experience.