The buzzing Chin Chin restaurant, Surry Hills NSW.

What’s your restaurant mood?

Did you know that reviews by consumers on sites like Yelp, Trip Advisor, and Google often mention music when they review a restaurant? Whether good or bad, music is a key factor in the diner’s experience.

A well-rounded review covers all bases of the experience; the food, service, style, and the atmosphere. The general buzz of a place comes down to the music – especially if you’re looking to attract walk-in customers.

OneMusic compiled a report in 2019 compiling global studies that reveal how the right music can influence customers to spend more money and stay longer at a restaurant. It also reported that the wrong music can have a negative effect. Get it wrong and customers are unforgiving. The study showed 90 percent of customers said music in a restaurant or bar had previously made them leave or vow never to return.

What makes people consider the music ‘good’?

It’s a mixture of what fits the cuisine, the brand of the venue, the demographic you’re trying to attract, the volume, the placement of speakers, tempo, and variety. 

Background music seems like the last thing you’d think about, but it says everything about your brand. Send your diners on a journey by creating a perfect atmosphere, whether it’s a curated playlist, or the addition of a live performer.

If your food is a specific cuisine, take them to Hong Kong, Mexico, or the Greek Isles with music of origin to bring the experience to the next level. It’ll give them that ‘festive’ feeling like they’ve just been on holiday. If your food and style is modern and eclectic, your playlist should be too. It should attract the audience you seek.

Have you audited your audio? Ensure there are no dead spots in your dining area. Depending on size, you may need a speaker in each corner of your floor, or just one either side. The volume should cover the sound of the kitchen, but not be so loud that people can’t hear each other speak. If you have more than one floor, consider a different playlist for each depending on the vibe.

Katie White, vegan food entrepreneur, author and musician said, “I eat out a lot and I switch on all my senses on when I step inside a venue. It’s not just about the food I am eating, where it’s grown and how it’s produced. It’s about that venue’s attention to music, the authenticity of the experience, the tempo. As food authors we need to communicate that musical setting to readers, it is the whole story they are consuming”.

To play music in your restaurant or café, you need permission or a licence. A blanket licence from OneMusic gives you legal access to the majority of popular music worldwide.

Find out more at the OneMusic website.

References: Guéguen N., Jacob, C., Le Guellec H., Morineau T. & Lourel, M. (2008). Sound Level of Environmental Music and Drinking Behavior: A Field Experiment With Beer Drinkers. Alcoholism Clinic and Experimental Research Volume 32, Issue 10.