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Music in restaurants: From beginner to pro in less than eight minutes

Getting the music right.

There’s no faster or more affordable way to enhance the atmosphere in your restaurant. And it makes a world of difference for your customers and staff alike.

To help you get smart about music in your business, the Soundtrack music team has put together the following list of things to check before you press play.

1. Develop a rock-solid concept

The more specific your restaurant’s concept is, the easier it is to find the right music. What image do you want to communicate to your guests? What does your restaurant represent? And who are you targeting? These are questions you need to ask yourself when thinking about your business and its sound.

“A guest arrives at your restaurant with certain expectations you should seek to meet. An oyster bar in the Scottish countryside will have a different atmosphere and should have a different sound than an oyster bar in London” - Alf Tumble, Music Supervisor

Alf Tumble, Music Supervisor at Soundtrack Your Brand

2. Beware of the charts

People come to a bar or a restaurant to escape the sound of the top charts, since it draws attention away from your visitors’ experience. In fact, chart music is likely to decrease your sales as opposed to lesser known songs by as much as 9.1%.

3. Avoid repetition at all costs

While your average guest won’t hear a repeating song, even when playing a 50-song playlist, your staff most certainly will. By using a really long playlist (we like to call them soundtracks), your restaurant can sound the same while not repeating a song for an entire work week. Not only will this help with staff morale, but also with the overall branding of the business, since it’ll always sound the way it should.

4. Schedule according to intensity and energy

Schedule your music into different energy levels. This makes it easy to switch vibe and intensity if you get a rush of customers. Example: If you know you’ll receive 40 guests to your restaurant at a particular time, you need to make sure the music’s intensity and energy match the flow of guests.

5. Stick to your guns

Don’t keep switching the style of music to cater to the whims of guests or staff. Changing the music too often can result in a confused brand sound, which means confused customers and staff is likely to follow.

6. Get a good sound system

With bad sound, it doesn’t matter what kind of music you play. Aside from keeping the audio quality in mind, also think about the speaker positioning. Having additional speakers at a more even volume will eliminate spots in your seating where the music is too high or too low.

7. Keep an eye on the volume

Adjusting the volume throughout the day and the evening is essential. Fade it higher or lower depending on how many guests you have. One person absorbs some 0.3 dB on average. So the more guests you have, the more you need to raise the volume and vice versa.

And if the music is too quiet, your guests will think you’re
about to close and will leave. Raise the volume some 2 or 3 dB. That will give your guests the feeling that “something’s about to happen.”

8. The chef thinks he/she is a rockstar

That’s probably not the case. People are far more restricted by their personal taste of music than they realize. Rather than letting the chef play
his/her favorite music, think about how your restaurant should sound from a branding perspective and leave any personal taste behind you.

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Want to learn even more?

Download our new 2019 guide to music in restaurants here

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