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Originally Answered: What is the reason behind why the lights in some restaurant are so dimly lit that you can barely see your food?

I have designed lighting for restaurants and this is always a conundrum. If you’ll notice…coffee shops and fast food restaurants are always very brightly lit, while more elegant places (as well as bars and pubs) are more dimly lit. This is in part because some eating establishments want you to finish up, clear out and leave the tables for the next customers. Others encourage you to linger, with soft and romantic lighting, a more home-like atmosphere, because they know that when you do, you feel more relaxed and spend more, and also leave bigger tips. It’s also true that we and our surroundings look our best in soft lighting. If you were to see the way some restaurants look in the harsh light of day, or under brighter lighting (sometimes such lighting exists, for cleaning purposes, but it’s never shown to customers!) you’d see that the tablecloths are not pristinely white, the carpets need replacing, and the woodwork was last painted in 1961. It’s all about aesthetics and emotions.