Canadian Pizza Magazine

Making Dough with Diane: September-October 2016

Diane Chiasson   

Features Business and Operations Premises chiasson energy conservation lighting premises renovation

Lighting tips for pizzerias

Lighting can be an important way to attract customers to your pizzeria and highlight your pizzas and other fare. It is also important to use lighting sensibly and to understand some of the basic principles of retail lighting so as a pizzeria owner you can achieve the benefits of good lighting and avoid pitfalls.

Here are seven tips on using lighting to enhance your pizzeria and its sales.

1. Understand basic principles
It is important to have a familiarity with the three basic kinds of retail lighting when considering how to improve your restaurant’s appearance and sales with lighting. General, or ambient, lighting is the main source of illumination in a space. Choosing lower levels of this where appropriate can do much to reduce overall energy bills and be more environmentally friendly as all other forms of lighting can be lessened when set against a lower level of ambient lighting.

2. Reflect personality and brand
Your lighting should complement and conform to the theme and mood of your restaurant and reflect your brand’s identity. Diffused general lighting ensures a sense of well-being, which makes diners feel comfortable and more likely to stay longer in your restaurant and order more. If you have a sit-down pizzeria then this approach to lighting your pizzeria would be the way to go. A simple way to achieve this is by arranging recessed fixtures using reflectors, baffles and lensed trims in overlapping positions. Another of the three basic kinds of lighting, decorative lighting, can also be used to enhance the look of the space. Decorative lighting includes pendants, sconces, chandeliers, table and floor lamps and cylinders. These should complement and add visual interest to the interior, as well as provide or contribute to the overall lighting plan.


3. Use lighting carefully
Inappropriate lighting can destroy the experience offered by your restaurant. It is important you understand the atmosphere you are trying to create and the type of pizzeria you have in order to reinforce the existing theme positively. From the glow of intimacy to a feel of spaciousness and relaxation, the layout and selection of fixtures for lighting should address the image you want conveyed.

4.  attract customers
Decorative lighting such as pendants, sconces, chandeliers, table and floor lamps and cylinders can enhance the look of your space. They may be used to accent the entrance to your pizzeria or add flourish to your booths and tables. Decorative lighting should complement and add visual interest to the interior, as well as provide or contribute to the overall lighting plan. Your entrance area will determine your customers’ first impression of your pizzeria. It is likely to become the waiting area when the dining room is full. Plan lighting so that it will not have any negative psychological effect on your clients. While young people tend to be fascinated with low levels of lighting, older people generally want brighter light to appease their moods.

5. Consider LEDs
One trend gaining influence in restaurants is to adorn them in LEDs (light-emitting diodes that glow when voltage is applied to them). Energy-efficient, flexible, and absolutely beautiful, these lamps are available in a wide array of patterns and colours. You don’t have to worry whether your place uses prewired tapes and materials or standard fixtures. If you can afford them, you are saving on your cooling budget later. Be sure, however, that the ones you purchase do not have a problem with dimmers and won’t limit your ability to vary the mood of your restaurant.

6. Handle reflection and glare
By using lighting in a sensible way you can establish displays and enhance what you have to offer. In this regard, reflection and glare are both useful and potentially harmful to lighting in your pizzeria; they can attract the eye to your offerings when used properly but irritate and annoy when used incorrectly. A very bright store is not the most effective lighting solution. Using contrast to highlight certain offerings and different areas of the space helps customers feel more comfortable and draws attention to featured items.

7. Boost sales
If lights are too harsh (as with large fluorescents and incandescent lights), customers might feel anxious. Rather, LEDs installed under cabinets and used as down (or recessed) lights can create a more subtle lighting effect. If your pizzeria highlights only a select number of offerings, make sure the lighting is directed to focus on those items exclusively, using accentuated and contour spotlighting.

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping food service, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 25 years by providing innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or, or visit

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