When asked why they had ever left a restaurant or bar, 17 per cent of 1,500 respondents said the room was too bright, and 12 per cent complained that it was too dimly lit, proving that lighting has an impact on footfall.
According to npower’s head of customer service for small business Rachel Vincent, lighting is a crucial part of the customer experience, and should not be overlooked by restaurateurs.
“When you think about what makes a great customer experience, you’ve got three aspects: price, brand and experience. Lighting is a key part of that experience. Lighting is all about the ambience, but also links to the food and the quality,” she told BigHospitality.
Though lighting may not have been a huge concern in the past, consumers are presented with an ever-increasing number of options when choosing lighting for their home, and are starting to expect the same standards when eating out.
“If you’re choosing lighting for your house you get a lot of low-energy innovations such as energy-saving bulbs or LED lighting, but restaurant don’t seem to be keeping up with that technology and advancement,” she added.
And even if it doesn’t drive people out on the first visit, lighting can make the difference in terms of repeat business.
Vincent gave three tips for things to consider in terms of lighting:
- Customer choice: Offer a choice of seating with different lighting so customers can pick the ambience they want to eat in.
- Seasonality: Link lighting to the time of day and food you are serving, as well as with the seasons. For example, light bar food goes with soft lighting while sushi looks better in a brighter light.
- Efficiency: Make use of innovations and alternatives such as candles to cut your energy spend while maintaining lighting quality in your venue. “Energy-saving bulbs are an obvious one, but so many small businesses don’t use them. There are lots of different innovative ways of lighting a business according to the volume and the method with which you’re choosing to do that,” she said.
Other reasons cited for walking out of a restaurant included ‘too crowded’ (54 per cent), ‘too noisy’ (50 per cent), ‘too hot/cold’ (48 per cent) and ‘too expensive’ (45 per cent).
The survey also revealed that 71 per cent of Brits say lighting is an important consideration when picking a venue for a date, rating above price (66 per cent) and music (53 per cent).