INTERVIEWS

FM manager, Nando’s Restaurants

Getting it right is massively important to us
Lighting creates the look and feel of the restaurant. It supports the restaurant’s look and getting that right is massively important to us.

I think technology has caught up
Front-of-house lighting should use energy-efficient lamps, so that’s a primary requirement of the design process. Getting those warm colours with the latest technology has been a challenge until recently, but we try to approach all of them and deal with them in the best way possible.

Where we’ve used GLS we’re upgrading
We install a lot of LED front of house. Most ambient light sources are LED, and lots of decorative lighting is LED as well now. We tend to stay away from fluorescent on the sales floor because it just doesn’t give the type of light we like. We also use halogen to some extent as well, so where we’ve historically used GLS or an incandescent, those tend to be upgraded to at least a halogen now, but where possible we use LED.

LED is a much better lighting source for us
There is a responsibility in terms of energy use, but obviously design life and maintainable life are important too. LED is a much better light source for us in that regard. In the walk-in fridges and freezers we tend to use bulkhead-type fittings but I think that’s an area we can explore. LED would certainly fit in.

You can do a lot with daylight
We do a lot of lighting control to create different mood settings during the day. Where we’ve got restaurants with a lot of daylight, we don’t need the system on during the day, so we try to balance it. There are restaurants where we’ve used a large mirror to reflect light from the ground floor down to the basement or we’ve got lighting wells, which allow light to penetrate down to those areas.

New Look is much more about being bright
New Look [where Painter previously worked] was much more about having a very similar sort of design concept rolled out across the entire estate. It was about creating – I won’t say ‘stark’ – but very bright atmospheres. There were a lot of metal halides – very, very high levels of lighting. Nando’s is completely different.

Being bright and attractive is still important in the high street
I think being bright and attractive is still important in the high street. There’s an awful lot of competition out there and you need to make sure you’re shining over your competition.

Better lamps mean you can reduce ratings
At New Look, the new stores used better reflector technology and reduced 150W fittings to 70W and 70W fittings to 35W. They did quite a bit of work making sure light levels weren’t too different. Then it was controls at back of house, making sure stockrooms, for example, were on centre controls to reduce energy use in areas that weren’t highly trafficked.

Our staff understand environmental responsibility
At Nando’s, we take energy extremely seriously. We have an energy manager whose sole function is to look at energy and ensure we are buying it at the right time, at the right price, and using it responsibly. We have quite a young workforce who have grown up understanding environmental responsibility and the need to be prudent with energy.

Adapting luminaires to new lamps is a problem
We’ve got some trials we’re running in terms of uplamping existing restaurants. In three restaurants we’re uplamping to LED. Some of the retrofit GU10 and MR16 lamps are a different size if you want the dimming technology associated with them. We have to look at adapting the existing fitting to take a different size lamp or a new fitting of a similar design. We’ve already done two, so we’re taking what we’ve learned to understand how they could be rolled out to the wider estate.

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