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Practical advice on commercial lighting from LED retrofts to lighting design

Guide to Restaurant Lighting: The best lighting tips for any restaurant application

Posted by Brittany Woodard on



Imagine yourself ordering a medium rare, large, ribeye steak at a restaurant only to cut into it for the middle to appear orange and unappetizing. Or picture yourself at a fine dining restaurant that's so poorly lit your entire party has to take out their cell phones just to view the menu.

If you're a restaurant manager or restaurant owner reading that, I'm sure you may be cringing a little. 

Having the right, quality light for a restaurant is incredibly important for the customer's experience and the appearance of your product, the food. Whether you're a fast food restaurant or a high-end restaurant, mistakes with improper dimming, poor color temperature settings, and the wrong lamp types can set the restaurant up for the wrong impression from diners. 



Our lighting designers and restaurant lighting specialists have put together some simple and easy tips to help enhance your restaurant lighting.

Chapters in the Guide to Restaurant Lighting include:

  • Ambiance: Color temperature recommendations based on the type of restaurant.
  • Dimming: Why quality dimming is important in a restaurant environment.
  • Highlight artwork and tables: How to properly aim lighting to highlight artwork and tables in a restaurant. 
  • Menu: Helpful tips for lighting menus based on your restaurant type.
  • Exterior: Tips for attracting customers with quality exterior lighting.
  • LED product selection: Our top LED product recommendations for a restaurant setting.Guide to Restaurant Lighting

As you prepare to upgrade your restaurant and hospitality lighting, here are three things to add to your checklist:

1. Be sure to avoid these 3 pitfalls in restaurant lighting

Restaurants take a large amount of energy to operate so you may jump at a quick retrofit opportunity. It's critical to find a reputable manufacturer to partner with to provide you with quality lighting that dims well. Beware of unintended consequences from 'inexpensive, efficient lighting. 

2. Learn more about Color Temperature (CCT) and Color Rendering Index (CRI)

Color temperature and color rendering index are large pieces to the restaurant lighting puzzle. It's helpful to have a well-rounded understanding of CCT and CRI and how they impact the ambiance and appearance of your restaurant. In this guide, we break down the definitions, explain how to choose CCT and CRI, and how to solve for color consistency.

3. Calculate your energy savings

Once you've done your studying, it's time to get serious about upgrading your restaurant lighting. Use our energy savings calculator to see how much you could save by upgrading to more energy-efficient, long-life lighting.

We have lighting specialists on staff with years of experience in the restaurant industry ready to help you work through the steps of a restaurant lighting upgrade. Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions along the way.