As a business owner, you understand that every decision you make plays a role in the success or failure of your operation. When it comes to commercial kitchen lighting, this area matters a great deal, but is often finalized without enough prior consideration to get the best result possible. Most restaurants simply install traditional fluorescent tube lighting and never give it much thought beyond that. Here are 5 tips to help you make the most of this important and often overlooked area of your business.
1. Invest in shatterproof lamps
One of the best tips for making commercial kitchen lighting better than what is traditionally in place rests in the type of bulb installed into the fixtures. A commercial kitchen should have shatterproof bulbs for several reasons. The first reason is the high temperatures in most kitchens over areas such as stoves and ovens. The heat can cause lesser bulbs to shatter which results in problems such as glass in the food which is a serious matter. The other reason is that your employees can also be affected by shattering glass by means of cuts or getting glass in their eyes. The bottom line is that all of these dangerous and painful experiences can be avoided with the simple installation of shatterproof bulbs. These bulbs are available in several specifications to fit the needs of most fixtures and locations and are often not more expensive than non-shatterproof bulbs.
2. Use warm temperatures for plating areas
Another great tip for commercial kitchen lighting is light by area in terms of color temperature. While you will obviously want a cooler temperature in areas where cutting and cooking tasks are being performed because a cooler temperature can help aid in concentration and focus for your staff, the plating area would actually benefit from a warmer temperature range. The reason for choosing a warmer temperature in this specific area is because warmer temperatures are more pleasing to the eye and can help the employee plating the food arrange a visually pleasing aesthetic of the food on the plate. With a 2700-3000K range, you get a nice, warm tone that is pleasing to the eye. Another tactic is to try to match the color temperature of the plating area to that of the light temperature experienced by the guest when receiving the plated food to create consistency.
3. Choose easy to clean solutions
In any type of kitchen, but especially a commercial one, cleanliness is imperative. It is important to choose options that are easy to clean and maintain over time. The best choice here is to go with recessed lighting. Any type of lighting fixture that is placed directly into the ceiling is always going to be easier to clean than fixtures left out in the open to accumulate dust, residue, and food stains. With traditional 4 x 4 troffer-style lighting, you can simply wipe down the lens to make it look clean again whereas a fixture such as surface mounted or pendant style needs more cleaning since more of the fixture is exposed.
4. Don’t ignore task lighting
While having general lighting in the form of recessed troffers is a smart move, you shouldn’t ignore task lighting. Task lighting is lighting aimed at performing smaller tasks which require more light or light spread that is more focused in scope. For instance, the cutting board area requires more focused lighting because it is a specific task requiring precision. For the area of task lighting, you can choose to incorporate a few focused spotlight style light fixtures so that the table or workstation is adequately illuminated with a focused light spread.
5. Choose low heat emitting operation
There is no denying that any commercial kitchen gets pretty hot in terms of temperature. The last thing you need is a lighting solution which emits high levels of heat by way of heat production or heat loss. Typically, a fixture produces some heat in the process of converting energy to illumination, but there are efficient solutions, such as LED, which produce mostly illumination and very little heat.
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