Food Service Industry Focus: Using Your Downtime

We realize the major problem the COVID-19 crisis has been for the food service industry.  Even before shutdown orders began, data showed restaurant visits down 73% nationwide.  Even if you’re doing pickup/delivery and have a supportive customer base, times are tough. 

This guide discusses using this downtime to your advantage, focusing on your dining space.  But more to the point, we’re going to finish with recommendations for two options: One for those that have the financial resources for lighting changes, and one for those who have an abundance of time, but not an abundance of money.

Evaluating Your Dining Space for Optimal Lighting

Replacing your dining space lighting can require weeks of downtime. Unfortunately, that time is now available.

The upside? Minor changes may have a large effect on the diner’s enjoyment. Lighting design is crucial to ambiance, and not only do 91% of diners say ambiance plays a role in their choice of restaurant, 20% say it is their top concern.

First, Consider the Color of Your Lights

Though there are other factors that affect ambiance, the color of lighting is perhaps the most important component. After all, there’s a significant difference between the feel of a room lit by candlelight-like warm white and the bright white that matches the light of standard fluorescent tubes. In general, dining areas should use warm lighting temperatures (from around 2500 to 3000°K) and not stray too much higher on the spectrum.

Second, Consider the Colors in the Rest of the Space

Lighter colors make it easy to light the general area with indirect lighting fixtures, and when white or light colors are more common in a space, direct lighting tends to seem less harsh to the diner. You may be able to improve the ambiance greatly with simple color changes.

Third, Look Again for Glare

Check for items that are dark, but shiny; their presence can lead to glare as their dark color can cause you to perceive that more powerful direct lighting is needed. Eliminate items that are glossy, are made of glass or are otherwise highly reflective. Obviously, you’ll still need to have glassware and highly glossy silverware, but by carefully reviewing the amount of direct light in the table space, you can eliminate glare from these, too.

How to Move Forward

Depending on your current financial situation and what government relief becomes available, you will have one of two basic options:

The Well-resourced Option: Use your downtime to replace old fixtures with a better look, and with LED technology that pays for itself with energy savings. Partner with a lighting provider, such as Thayer Lighting, to create a great new design for the space.

The Low-Cost Option: Look to replace bulbs with LED equivalents that are the right color for the space, and use low cost repainting and replacement of items to eliminate glare and improve the general lighting effectiveness. In any case, it costs nothing to check in with an experienced lighting provider to get assistance choosing the right approaches and equipment.