Food & Drink
April 28, 2023

What is Restaurant Ambience and How is it Determined?

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A dining experience is much more than just enjoying top-notch food options – it’s about the ambience. From the type of music an establishment plays to the visual aesthetic of the dining area, these choices determine the mood of a guest’s dining experience.


Staying at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sacramento soon? Check out the diverse dining options and full-service bars that are awaiting you, including the upscale Council Oak Steaks & Seafood, the crave-worthy Fresh Harvest buffet, and Hard Rock Cafe's monthly Celebrity Burger Special.


Studies show that the ambience can even affect how much a guest spends during their night out. A perfectly curated atmosphere can boost positive emotions and lead to higher guest satisfaction.

What is Ambience in a Restaurant?

In technical terms, the ambience is the character and atmosphere of a place. Ambience is key to establishing the personality of any restaurant. Our senses are activated by elements that create a unique atmosphere specific to each establishment. Depending on the variation of the five core elements, you can create endless possibilities and set intended moods!


  • Ambient Lighting - Best for general illumination of an environment and setting the overall mood. Low lighting is optimal for an intimate experience that invokes a more upscale perception, especially in areas where guests are more likely to be close to each other such as at the bar or lounge area. On the other hand, bright lighting imitates natural light, influencing energetic and refreshed moods. More casual eateries can make great use of this type of lighting, such as our very own Hard Rock Cafe.
  • Accent Lighting - This lighting is more decorative than functional to create visual interest. Accent lighting showcases a specific unique environment element like a sculpture or artwork. Restaurant bars may even increase sales if this type of lighting is incorporated as it draws the guest’s attention to it! 
  • Task Lighting - Just as the name suggests, task lighting helps patrons perform tasks such as reading the menu. For example, buffets use this type of lighting at food stations to allow guests a clear view of each dish. Using this lighting in areas other than the dining room adds to a guest’s experience. Applying it to spaces such as in the bathroom to illuminate mirrors gives guests a well-lit reflection of themselves. It’s important to note that each area that a guest may be in during their visit should add to the ambience of the main room. Keep the atmosphere cohesive, and the restaurant is sure to flourish.


Noise level

Having an overarching concept is essential for determining the noise level of a space. The noise level depends on your desired result, whether it’s a loud, upbeat setting like a bar or a more muted elegant dining experience. Understanding the fundamentals of acoustics can be helpful as different textures and materials can amplify sound in different ways. Noise level and music type is an element that is unique to each restaurant. 

Space and Scale

A foundational vision of a restaurant is vital with the space and scale element of ambience. An intimate setting may be expansive, giving guests more personal space, or it can be scaled down to allow for closer interaction and comfort. Space and scale can be determined after the overall theme and desired effect on patrons are established.


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Using materials that add to the interior design’s visual satisfaction is a must, but people tend to remember how they felt more. Rich textures such as granite or slicker material like glass or metal can create many different surface combinations that invoke various emotions. Everything from the fabric of napkins to the cushions of the dining booths can affect a guest’s overall mood too.


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Studies show that smell is one of the most acute senses guests utilize to determine their overall mood. It is also the sense that has a more significant and long-lasting impact on their attitudes toward their dining experience. Aroma selection is an element that varies but should be kept within a unified concept. Involving pleasant ambient scents that complement the type of food being served is a sure way to boost spirits. A restaurant may also let the food aromas speak for themselves!

Council Oak Steak & Seafood 

Looking for an intimate restaurant in Sacramento? The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Sacramento has you covered with an exquisite culinary journey at Council Oak Steak & Seafood! Enjoy the taste and aroma of aged steaks cooked to absolute perfection. With an award-winning wine selection, sip and savor a glass of wine to compliment the main course that will surely leave you wanting more.


As you make your way through the restaurant, bask at the view of the Butcher Shop through a glass wall. Here is where your steak is expertly aged between 21-28 days, selected, cut, and branded for you. The quiet and lavish ambience of this fine dining experience is one you don’t want to miss during your visit and stay at the Hard Rock Hotel!


Council Oak Steak & Seafood Dining Area


Needless to say, the ambience of a restaurant can make or break its reputation. A well-thought-out combination of design, aesthetic, aroma and food section will boost sales and contribute to the overall success of any restaurant. Join us at the Council Oak Steak and Seafood on a night out to experience a quiet dining experience in Sacramento with excellent ambient elements. Don’t forget to book a suite with us too!


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