Working in the restaurant industry, you get used to a certain amount of noise. The clang of silverware on plates. The din of chattering restaurant guests. The shrill sound of a blender at the bar. Restaurants are naturally bustling environments, but when the sound becomes overwhelming it can turn off diners in a big way. A restaurant sound system helps mask the noise clutter and can make your space a more pleasant place to dine.
The Importance of Sound
According to a recent Dining Trends Survey, diners reported that noise is the most bothersome aspect of eating out. This includes poor service and high prices. This is especially true for diners with hearing impairments, who can suffer adverse effects at loud restaurants. Noisey restaurants are frequently called out on review sites (like Yelp), while apps like SoundPrint are specifically for rating restaurant noise levels.
Loud noise is not only irksome and unhealthy for guests but also dangerous to restaurant staff. Prolonged exposure to sounds above 85 decibels – the unit in which noise levels are measured – can lead to hearing loss. Background noise in the range of 75 to 90 decibels is common in restaurants, pointing to adverse effects on restaurant staff.
In order to combat the excess noise, it’s important to understand where it’s coming from. It might seem obvious, but one of the biggest factors lies in the restaurant’s design. Modern restaurants favor open spaces and hard surfaces over the more old-school, compartmentalized style. Tall ceilings and larger rooms amplify sound volume, while open kitchens only add more noise to a restaurant space. Surfaces like marble countertops, brick walls, and bare table surfaces also reflect sound — these design elements leave nowhere for sound to go.
Reduce Noise Levels
Some ways of reducing noise levels — like working with acoustic consultants and doing major renovations — can be really expensive, but there are more cost-effective ways you can reduce the noise levels in your restaurant.
- Sound-Proof Your Chairs
The sound of chair legs scraping against the floor of your restaurant isn’t a pleasant one. Rubber caps or fuzzy floor protector pads on the bottoms of your chair legs both eliminate sound and prevents floor scruffs.
- Utilize Curtains, Area Rugs, and Tablecloths
Windows and glass reflect sound, and curtains can help absorb and soften noise levels. Area rugs and carpeting in high-traffic areas like reception or near restrooms can help absorb the sound of staff and guests moving about. Tablecloths help reduce the sound of silverware and glassware clattering on tables.
- Keep Machinery Out of Dining Areas
Ice machines, soda machines, espresso machines, and other equipment add to the overall noise level of your restaurant. Plan to place these stations and machines away from dining areas or if you can utilize sound-absorbing materials on nearby walls and ceilings.
- Create a Barrier to Kitchen Noise
It’s challenging to separate kitchen noise in an open kitchen concept. If your budget allows, try closing it off with a pane of glass. This leaves the visual effect of an open kitchen intact but blocks out many of the irritating noises. If you don’t have one, make sure kitchen doors are kept closed when possible.
- Walls and Ceilings Can Absorb Noise
You can make your ceiling “soft” by installing sound-absorbing ceiling tiles, soundproof panels, or even just hanging some fabric. Other acoustic products like sound absorbers and wall panels can help avoid major renovations. Plus, ou can get creative and integrate them into your decor!
It’s All About Balance
Details are important when it comes to creating the right ambiance in your restaurant. Interior decor, seating, lighting, and friendly personnel: everything has to be just right to achieve an atmosphere that makes customers return. Your restaurant sound system is no different.
If you’ve ever been to an eatery where the music is a tad too loud for comfortable conversation or too soft that it’s barely there, you know what we’re talking about. Often, such establishments have not invested in quality restaurant sound systems. After all, not all speakers and amplifiers were created equal.
To get it right, restaurant owners need to invest in the right equipment that will give them reliable and efficient coverage across the space. But where to begin when choosing from all the restaurant sound systems out there? Let’s take a look.
Sonos tops the list of restaurant speaker systems for ticking all of the boxes. These sleek speakers are easy to install, incredibly flexible, and a popular choice for small and mid-sized restaurants.
Klipsch offers a number of speaker series that bring powerful musical sound quality to restaurant and bar environments, indoors or out.
Apart from the high-end sound and construction, Sonance speakers are designed for integration in walls or ceilings, coming with a paintable, low-profile grille. They are great for restaurants that do not wish to compromise on aesthetics.
Other Important Factors
Of course, no two sound systems are created equal. Because each should be uniquely catered to the space it’s installed in, there are several more factors to consider when finding the right audio solution for your restaurant.
Fine Dining vs. Volume Bar
Studies have also shown that the tempo of your music can influence how long patrons spend in your eatery. Upbeat music increases table turnover and alcohol consumption, while slow tempo music encourages them to remain for long periods of time. Make sure the sound system you install and the music it plays is in line with the aesthetic of your restaurant.
If you plan to host live shows or paging microphones in your restaurant, a PA system with a professional mixing console, microphones, and loudspeakers is vital. These ensure proper tuning, feedback suppression, and quality sound in the space. Remember to choose a system that is easy to learn and manipulate.
Ready For Music in Your Restaurant?
Using the right music in your restaurant is an incredibly powerful marketing tool. Engaged or entertained customers often perceive shorter wait times, leading to increased revenue. On the other hand, good music boosts morale and productivity, making your staff more efficient and personable. Pair a great playlist with the right audio system for restaurant music and everyone will enjoy their time at your eatery.
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