Why do restaurants DRASTICALLY change lighting moods?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by MarkHastings, Jan 10, 2005.

  1. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    So I was at Red Lobster (I know, we had a gift card so we had to go there [​IMG]) and during dinner they decided (as most restaurants do) to turn down the lights to create "mood lighting".

    This always annoys me because we were perfectly fine with the lights the way they were, but then the lights go down to where you can hardly see.

    My dad was saying "I can see if this were a fancy restaurant and they wanted to create a 'romantic' feel, but this is Red Lobster..." - and the place was loud with tons of families.

    So why do they do this? I said that there's probably some research that shows that, when it gets dark out and you walk into a brightly lit restaurant, your eyes aren't acclimated which will cause people to be less hungry [​IMG] - I was just kidding, but who knows - they probably DO have some sort of research like this. [​IMG]

    Does anyone know of a really good explanation for doing this? I was even saying that it wouldn't be so bad if they turned it down a few notches every 15 minutes so that you didn't really notice it, but even though they turn them down slowly, it's still too jarring and annoying.

    My mom said, "well, maybe they don't want it too bright in here" and I agreed with my dad when he said "So then why don't they leave it dark all the time? I mean, you don't eat dinner at home in the dark".
     
  2. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    I always heard it explained that there is an old wives tale that "dark makes you hungry and the color red makes you thirsty" (or vice versa, I forget). Don't know if it is true, but this may be the logic for turning down the lights and all those red table cloths, wives tale or not.
     
  3. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    [​IMG] so my cock-a-mamey theory may be partially TRUE? LOL
     
  4. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    I dunno, but it must be a regional or individual restaurant policy. I ate at Red Lobster on Saturday. Showed up at 8pm and the place was lit up like a carnival.
     
  5. John Alvarez

    John Alvarez Screenwriter

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    Red Lobster is a carnival...[​IMG] I wish they would put dimmers on the table. If you want it darker you do it yourself.
     
  6. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    They probably turn down the lights so you don't actually have to see what you're eating! [​IMG]

    Jay
     
  7. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    LOL - I forgot, that's exactly what my mom had said, but my dad replied with "Then why don't they turn the lights down all the time?"
     
  8. Markus Lidstrom

    Markus Lidstrom Stunt Coordinator

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    It makes the partrons seem more attractive.
     
  9. DaveNel

    DaveNel Second Unit

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    Well mebbe they dont want you seeing anything especially the Bill (LOL) Notice is was prolly more lit by the REGISTERS [​IMG]

    Did the waitresses carry flashlights (LOL)

    or did they have those mining hats on with the light on top of it to keep there hands free to take money
     
  10. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    LOL - How funny would that be if I brought a flashlight next time. [​IMG]

    "Take that! Mood lighting!"
     
  11. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    A flashlight would not be as handy as a small Petzl Tikka (a headlamp) cause then it will leave your hands free to eat.

    I remember coming back from Alaska and on the plane and my cockpit light wasn't working so I remembered that my Tikka was in my carryon and used that to read. [​IMG] Stewardess was kind of puzzled...[​IMG]

    Jay
     
  12. DustinLC

    DustinLC Supporting Actor

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    I was at Black Angus and couldn't see my food [​IMG].

    I'm what of those people that needs to eat with good lightings. Anyone else?
     
  13. DaveNel

    DaveNel Second Unit

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    Nex time ask for GLOW in the dark plate and silverware[​IMG]
     
  14. DaveNel

    DaveNel Second Unit

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    Guess the places are trying to set certain atmospheres at night, But who wants atmosphere at Mcdonalds (LOL) The atmospheres all ready there[​IMG]
     
  15. andrew markworthy

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    I've just checked a psychological database, and whilst there's quite a bit on the effects of lighting on rats' feeding habits (not easily extrapolated to humans, because rats by preference are nocturnal) I couldn't find much on humans. Sorry!

    My hunch would be that marketing research has found that lowering the lighting levels is preferred by the majority of customers. It may be that an image of greater 'classiness' is created in some customers' minds, since almost inevitably expensive restaurants are imagined as being dark (possibly candlelit) whilst fast food joints are perceived as brash and brightly lit by neon light.
     
  16. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    There is a lot of psychology in restaurant ambience. Fast food places do not want people to "mingle", so they make it loud and obnoxious to keep turnover going.

    Some places keep their lighting at a higher-level during the day, since sunlight streaming through cracks in the shades creates problems, but the level is usually up to the manager's discretion. The problem usually arises when the manager turns the dimmer down too fast in the late afternoon, and people notice the room quickly getting darker. If they have patience and lower it slowly, it appears more normal.
     
  17. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    I'm sure it's just a matter of laziness. A lot of places will do it slowly, but that's not even the problem. It's the fact that your eyes take a while to acclimate to the change.

    Actually, my biggest complaint was with Red Lobster because when we first got there, the place was lit up like an operating room, but after we started eating, they turned it down so it looked like a horribly lit cave. It was this extreme change that bugged me.
     
  18. Craig F

    Craig F Second Unit

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    It lets the patrons know when the prices go up. [​IMG]
     
  19. DaveNel

    DaveNel Second Unit

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    Mebbe its there way of helping america diet[​IMG]

    See food when you get there, Then poof the lighting goes down to where you cant find the plate.
     
  20. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    I blame corporate.
     

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