It is safe to say that the world really had to adapt to Covid-19’s grip on every aspect of our lives. The last 15 months have been nothing short of difficult for many people, and it has really opened our eyes to how we can modify our way of living and overcome our issues together instead of individually.
One of the many industries that Covid-19 took a huge toll on was the food and restaurant industry. According to a recent survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association, the restaurant and foodservice industry likely lost nearly $120 billion in sales during the first three months of the pandemic alone. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Many Chicago area restaurants had to close their doors for good, unable to keep up with the slow trickle of business and lack of workers. As things start to open up and vaccines begin to roll out, restaurants are starting to get back on their feet again as they comply with the new set of rules and regulations that are being announced by the CDC sporadically.
However, that does not mean things can be picked up right where they left off. Many Chicago restaurants are trying to dig themselves out of the hole 2020 gave them. Things like outdoor dining and take-out are still being encouraged in order to support these restaurants and keep others safe.
Chicago is starting to feel like its bustling self again, and this is especially thanks to restaurants and bars conforming and adapting to the changes, but we are not in the clear just yet. Covid is still an issue that will not be going away anytime soon.
While Covid may be loosening its grip on the world, it hasn’t completely let go of it yet. This raises the question of how patrons and restaurants can bounce back from a year-long hiatus of fine dining services. There are many creative solutions to this question, but the main issue here is how can we make people feel safe again.
How these restaurants create an environment that feels safe, welcoming, and clean will be the difference between them surviving after the pandemic and thriving after the pandemic. Many of these issues can also be applied to at-home dining, as well. Things like lighting, ambiance, and design of the space have a much greater effect on your dining experience than one may think.
While many people are still choosing to stay home, there has never been a better time for an interior facelift. Below are a couple of creative and simple ways to take your fine dining experience to the next level through interior design and make up for all the delicious meals you missed in 2020.
When you are designing a space for a restaurant, it is important to create a look that aims to tap the customer’s senses just right. Successful restaurants know exactly who their target clientele are, and it’s how they’re able to conceive and build a carefully engineered experience around their needs and desires.
With this being said, sight is almost always the first means by which you gather information and make judgments on an establishment, especially if you haven’t been to that restaurant in over a year (or ever). Lucrative restaurants recognize this, and they take great pains to use it to send the right information.
Color is one way you can influence customer behavior. If you are looking for new ways to elevate the look of your restaurant and draw new customers in, using specific colors is one of the simplest ways to do so. Take the color red for example. It is scientifically proven to raise blood pressure and increase heart rate when one looks at it, thus increasing one’s appetite.
And what’s a better way to get your clientele to order more food than psychologically increasing their appetite? Now we know red is a bold color, especially in fine dining restaurants, so it is important to use it subtly and with a purpose. Look at this red leather booth below for example. It catches your eye, but it does not overwhelm the space.
You can also incorporate this color onto your walls as a quick and simple solution to bringing in a more high-end look and indirectly make your guests hungry for more. Other colors like orange and yellow are also appetite stimulants.
Yellow is associated with happiness, which will then translate to your guests feeling happy about the restaurant they chose and the food they ate. We would recommend steering clear of any grays, blacks, blues, or browns unless they are used as accent colors in the space.
Research suggests that this is because these colors rarely exist in nature in the form of food and cause consumers to either lose their appetite or not think of food at all when walking into the establishment.
Choosing the lighting of your restaurant space is solely based on the vibe you want to give off to your clientele. In many cases, the more high-end the restaurant is, the more dimly lit the space will be. If you want to take your restaurant to the next level and attract a more high-end clientele, lighting would be the first detail to address.
When you are choosing the correct lighting for your space, there are three types of light to consider: ambient, task, and accent. Ambient lighting is the type of lighting that sets the tone of the entire space. It is the overall illumination of the environment, and it is also what gives the first impression when you walk into the restaurant.
Low lighting creates an intimate, upscale atmosphere, especially in a restaurant’s bar and lounge areas, where patrons are more apt to sit closer together. Bright lighting, however, creates a more busy and animated atmosphere that typically screams casual dining. Depending on the mood you are going for, low lighting has been proven to produce more profitable results.
In addition to ambient lighting, task lighting is a little bit more flexible to work with. Everyone appreciates good task lighting when it comes to things like reading the menu, walkways, and cooking the food. Adding more high-end task lighting to your space can be as simple as placing a candle in the middle of each table or hanging a mini chandelier over each section. Creating better task lighting does not have to be expensive, and your guests will appreciate not having to pull out their cell phone flashlights in order to read the drink specials.
Finally, there is accent lighting. This is probably the least important of all the three, but when used correctly, it can make the whole space. It is decorative rather than functional and is typically used to illuminate things the restaurant wants the guests to notice.
For instance, items like paintings, sculptures, menus on the wall, and bars are all illuminated by accent lighting. It draws the customer’s eye and brings attention to smaller details in the space. When combining all three of these lighting elements together, it can change the whole ambiance of the environment in a positive way.
Of course, not everyone is a restaurant owner or ready to go back to eating indoors quite just yet, but that does not mean you cannot translate lighting and color to affect the mood of your at-home dinner party experience. If you are like one of our great clients, Jill Lowe, you realize the importance of a fine dining atmosphere in the comfort and safety of your own home during these ever-changing times.
Jill, like many others, adapted to the at-home style of fine dining for two during the pandemic, and she did not disappoint. Check out her article that explains just how she was able to create a fine dining experience with a little help from Areté here. We were able to renovate the interior of her home to help give a high-end ambiance to any dinner party she is willing to throw, whether that be for two or twenty.
She experimented with table settings, task lighting, floral arrangements, and recipes that were inspired by some of her favorite Chicago area restaurants. She understands the importance of how color, lighting, and mood can affect the fine-dining space and made sure to incorporate all of these elements into each experience she created. If you are still unsure about dining indoors, you can always follow the advice of Jill and create a fine dining atmosphere while still supporting your local restaurants.
Take-out can be just as fun, if not better when you get to decide how to set the table. And when you finally feel comfortable enough to begin visiting your favorite restaurants once more, make sure to keep an eye out for these tiny details that make your dining experience that much more special.
If you are looking for an interior facelift to your restaurant or home that reflects a high-end ambiance, look no further. Areté Renovators can help turn any space into an upscale dream. Our aim is to achieve creative excellence by providing the best remodeling services in Streeterville, West Loop, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, River North, Gold Coast, Old Town, and Roscoe Village. Breathe some art into your space and get in touch with us for a consultation today! Call us at 773-610-4551.