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The Manhattan Ceiling Mounted Light Fixture in Matte Black by Steel Lighting Co.

Restaurant lighting is arguably the most tricky element to achieving the right aesthetics for your business. Even worse, the old cliche of “People eat with their eyes” is used often for a reason – because it’s true.

People love food, but what they love even more is tasty-looking food. Lighting is a crucial element to that experience, and it’s something you, as a business owner, should pay attention to if you want to have some measure of success. This is doubly important in the internet age, where having food that feels “‘Insta Worthy” is critical to good word-of-mouth in the digital age.

As a result, having good lighting in a restaurant or cafe is now a crucial element of the business, and its importance goes far beyond the realms of a simple atmosphere. In fact, choosing the correct lighting methods for any food-based business is about as integral to the success of that business as just about anything else, including the food.

So, with you now sufficiently scared out of your mind about the suitability of your light, we’re going to take a deep dive into restaurant lighting and the benefits of Steel Lighting to the gastronomical cause.

Read on!

Making Good Optics

Much of what humans enjoy about food is in the visuals. As we said before, the adage that we “eat with our eyes” is a bit of a cliche for a reason – because it’s true.

Having the proper lighting to help set the mood for your restaurant or coffee shop is crucial to ensuring you’ve got the right attitude set for your customers. Coffee shops live and die by their ability to maintain a good atmosphere.

So much of the culture of coffee drinking and restaurant eating is about making the day seem a little calmer for a few minutes while enjoying the simple human pleasure of eating. That first cup of joe or tasty starter is all-important, and many patrons would admit that they’re often not the best version of themselves before they’ve had their food.

As a result, restaurant and coffee shop lighting is all about maximizing your lights’ ability to create the kind of welcoming atmosphere that maintains a relaxed vibe, even when the shop is at its absolute busiest.

Lighting for the Occasion

Venice Mounted Gooseneck Red Light Fixture by Steel Lighting Co.

It’s no secret that when we eat, we do so with a lot more than just our taste buds, with sensations such as smell, sight, and texture becoming huge factors.

It’s no secret then that in the restaurant business, the customer comes first as well, as their experience of your restaurant is going to be dictated by a whole host of factors with sight – and by extension, the lighting – being chief among them.

Good lighting for a customer is about combining the benefits of natural light with the flexibility of electric lighting. Daylight is easily the most comfortable and natural form of lighting humans can enjoy, so a restaurant or cafe will often prioritize that above most other light sources, with large windows and open spaces being key.

If daylight is unavailable or difficult to achieve fully in the space, then it’s often the goal of a restaurant to work to imitate these conditions as much as possible. Given that most humans enjoy their food at specific times of the day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner – imitating the periods of the day these meals occur are crucial.

Breakfast: Breakfast is, to many, the most important meal of the day and often coincides with the morning – the brightest time of the day. As a result, lots of light is required to imitate the sun as it emerges fresh from under the horizon. So if you’re running a cafe or diner specializing in breakfast foods, keeping things as bright as possible will be essential.

Lunch: Lighting for lunch is a whole different bag, with more moderate and softer forms of lighting being fundamental, and if you’re running a fast food place, like a burger shop or similar fast-food spots, then keeping things evenly lit without any frills will serve you well.

Dinner: Given that dinner almost always occurs during the time of day when natural light is at its lowest ebb, it’s pretty easy to assume that you’re going to keep your lighting pretty low-key. Lots of soft, ambient lighting is vital and will help create a comfortable and intimate atmosphere for customers to enjoy.

Daylight Savings

Hawthorne and Gardena Wall Mounted Light Fixture in Matte Black by Steel Lighting Co.

Of course, the only downside to daylight is that you can’t use it around the clock.

However, absent daylight can also be dealt with pretty efficiently if you plan to operate past daylight hours. Large barn-style lights answer this question and can quickly fill the gaps where daylight can’t. Our Carson ceiling light, as well as the even bigger Manhattan light, can quickly fill a space with an impressive amount of light, mainly if your business benefits from an exceptionally high ceiling, allowing the lights to cast even further.

Similarly, our wall-mounted lights also make a great option, with the Gardena and Redondo options being especially popular as lighting solutions.

Ultimately, the goal for evening lighting should always be about creating a cozy atmosphere. When customers enter a business during the evening, they’re usually on the hunt for something comforting. So imitating the comfiness of a good cup of coffee or a satisfying meal is the goal with evening lighting.

Low-intensity lighting is vital, emphasizing accent lighting and less so on creating something ambient enough to imitate the day. Creating a space that allows customers to unwind and relax with their favorite meal is crucial while also avoiding creating a space that seems gloomy as a result.

In this respect, our Hollywood Bowl and Rose Bowl lights are perfect for the job as wall-mounted and ceiling-mounted options, respectively. Both lights allow for a specific style to be dictated in a space with classic mid-century looks while also providing the kind of cozy lighting that businesses need during the evening rush.

If you’d like to know more about how galvanized steel can improve your steel lighting fixtures, then contact our friendly team at Steel Lighting Co., our friendly team of experts would be more than happy to give some advice and recommendations on what kind of steel barn light can best suit your needs.