How lighting design can affect dining experience

Posted on May 21 2019 - 5:01am by Ella

The lighting design of an eatery can have a significant impact on a customer’s dining experience. From fast-food to fine-dining, it’s important for all food establishments to consider lighting as part of the overall customer experience.

While understanding the benefits of quality lighting has greatly improved in recent years with new technological developments, there are still too many examples of where it has gone wrong.

A survey

A UK survey conducted by energy company Npower highlighted how important it is for businesses to illuminate the dining space with style and substance. The research conducted by the energy specialists revealed that 88 per cent of people thought that the illumination in a restaurant or pub affected the degree to which they enjoyed a meal.

71 per cent stated that they would consider lighting to be important in their choice of venue for a romantic meeting, with 66 per cent of people reporting that is was more important than price.

Customer satisfaction


As the survey suggests, how well a restaurant or gastro pub plans its Lighting design can be the difference between customer loyalty or losing business. The results of the survey showed that illumination greatly increased the chances of customers returning to the establishment, with 87 percent saying they would pick a well-lit venue again for a date.

Getting the lighting wrong, on the other hand, can be a costly mistake. 29 per cent of those polled said that they had walked out of a restaurant or bar because the lighting was dim or too bright.

bright restaurant

LED lighting

Today, there is little excuse for making mistakes when it comes to lighting design. It’s true that a decade or more ago, lighting options were limited, but today it’s a different story.

With the advent of quality LED lighting, food establishments have the means to install illumination that is stylish, practical and money-saving. The availability of full spectrum LED lighting from pioneering companies like Soraa means that restaurants can benefit from highly versatile and cost-efficient lighting solutions.

Other factors to consider

Interestingly, it’s not just the emotional response to lighting that is important. Research conducted by Cornell University has shown that venues with bright lights, stimulating colours and exciting music actually encourages diners to eat more quickly. In contrast, a more subtlly lit environment can cause people to slow down when they eat. It is therefore important to choose lighting according to what type of eating environment you want to engender.

More evidence for the value of lighting comes from a study by the University of Brighton, which found that dining environments that had well-balanced lighting with matching colours stimulated positive feelings and acted as a mood-booster among customers. Remarkably, both light and colour affected diners’ perceptions of the size, shape and even the level of noise in a restaurant.