For these old style breakfast spots- along with others, whether diner, caf?, greasy spoon, bakery or hole-in-the-wall, there are a few critical criteria to signify a place where the grill team cooks breakfast, any time, day or night. In many of these places no wimps dare reside in any of these kitchens. For within those kitchen walls, short order cooks have the guts to flip an omelet whenever a customer says
The lighting needs to be perfect, no matter what time of day or night a customer arrives. It needs to just bright enough to brighten the night but not so bright as to ruin the ambiance of the moment. But it can’t be so dim to make one squint when reading the menu, the paper, or their late night text messages.
Lighting – the glow that sets the mood- is key for every restaurant- no matter which rung of the culinary ladder the restaurant occupies. But, for many restaurants, lighting is an ignored problem.
Last Friday night my wife Kranston and I decided it was a breakfast-for-dinner night. We drove to a favorite
We go there about twice monthly, always sit at the counter, and immediately notice the smallest changes and additions from ambiance to wait staff.
On last Friday night’s visit, we both commented the lighting had drastically changed. A vast array of lights, one hanging over each booth, and a line of similar luminaries hanging over the individual counter seats were shining down differently. On previous visits the lights offered a warm, inviting ray. However since then, the owners had changed the bulbs to reduce costs. The new greener bulbs cast a spotlight-like glare replacing the once pleasing off-white reflection.
I felt like Kramer in the Kenny Roger’s Chicken episode. I ate slowly, hoping to get a tan. With the light’s beam hovering directly over my eggs, the luminosity did little for their presentation.
I mentioned the problem to the manager. While he claimed the lights were changed to the “greener, fluorescent bulbs” – those new spiral circular energy efficient bulbs- because they are more cost effective and efficient, he seemed to enjoy the fact that it was brighter than mid day inside at night. Unfortunately, the lights bothersome brightness will take the glitter off any evening.
Going green is great if the transition is done well. But not everyone realizes that in some cases trading green for customer comfort and enjoyment is a money losing proposition..
I am a serious proponent of green technology. Yet, calling on common sense when making any decision certainly beats being blind sided after the decision has been made.
When it comes to those $.29 bulbs, they certainly have a place in many lamps across the country. But above the counter in a restaurant is probably not one of them.
Many restaurant owners take their lighting for granted and eventually ignore it while focusing on other things. But we should all remember how important lighting is to your guests. Make it a point to use the same level of lighting at the same each day. Dim the lights during the day, and raise the light at night. Teach your managers and instruct floor staff on the vitals of the lights. And try not to shine the lights on your guests. Direct the spots on your artwork, your architecture and possibly the food on the table or counter, if the light is soft enough.
On the way out of the restaurant Kranston mentioned the food looked too bright, the reflection from the plate was blinding, and everyone in the restaurant looked pale and sickly.
Not good points to get customers to return. Pay attention to your lighting. When you dim the lights, it may help brighten your customer count.