Music for Restaurants: How to Boost Revenue

Musica per ristoranti: il genere musicale

We are now in the fourth installment of  Music for Restaurants. After having analysed the rhythm  that influences the length of stay, the optimal listening volume that influences the brand perception, and the PAD Model  of purchasing behavior, it is time to pause more deeply on what makes the average check bigger for each client.

Stephanie Wilson of the University of South Wales studies  The Effects of Music on the Perceived atmosphere and Purchasing Behavior in a Restaurant and places attention on the effect that music has on purchasing behavior in restaurants.

Silence kills clients

Jazz, pop, easy listening, and classical are the proposed genres in a two-week arc. The results demonstrated to us how different musical genres have different effects on the amount of money clients spent.

One condition of the absence of music as a control variable proved an even more important aspect:

silence is even more damning than the wrong music.

Try to think of the last time that you entered in a restaurant of medium-high quality, without background music. You can’t remember, right? Unless that day the sound system was broken, it’s practically impossible to encounter deafening silence in this type of restaurant, as it makes us feel uneasy. Anglo-saxon countries know this well, given that as early as the ‘50s, they played music even in the elevator through the Muzak.

Improve your business and increase sales through the use of music

This series of articles and translations, entitled Music for Restaurants, aims to inform commercial professionals who manage restaurant activities and are receptive to research and developments in the academic realm. That which a few years ago was only intuition is now certain, demonstrated by researchers and confirmed by professionals who, like me, for many years have empirical evidence and not just data and values obtained by “sample and study.”.

The common theme that many managers often repeat, that:

“Music isn’t important, we have other things to worry about and other projects to spend money on,”

Is gradually disappearing from managements’ consideration.

In the case of a wine bar, “music pushed consumers to buy more expensive wine,” while in the case of a cafeteria they discovered that income was greater when they played classical music and pop.

This translates to mean:

if you want to increase your revenue, you can’t not consider the music.

Music influences the amount of money clients are willing to spend

Clients are pushed to spend more money and time in a restaurant when the environmental music makes them happy…

as long as it is chosen mindfully, reflects the criteria of consistency, and is appropriate to the context.

In the case of research taken into consideration, jazz music was associated with a tranquil but upbeat restaurant, characterising the conditions for maximum spending; to the contrary, easy listening is a genre that is associated with a kitschy context for the masses, generating the lowest amount of money that clients were willing to spend.

Classical music and pop generated intermediate results regarding the volume of sales and revenue.

Only the absence of music produced lower results in terms of revenue

The absence of music is the condition that created the worst result on the atmosphere, on the perception of positive stimuli, and on the amount of money that clients were willing to spend.

Classical music was not considered appropriate and consistent with the environment by a large segment of clients, who, rather than spending less than they did with the jazz music, prefered to leave the restaurant before the expected closing time. Few clients remained in the restaurant after 23:00 and a greater number of people left the restaurant in the early evening.

The lack of consistency between classical music and the connotations of the restaurant brought clients to shorten their stay, expect to leave and, as a result, spend less on food and alcoholic beverages.

The degree of adequacy between the music and the restaurant has an effect on numerous factors that are directly connected to the growth of a business and sales: the style of the music played implies a significant relationship with the responses of clients regarding the quality of service and their evaluations of the atmosphere.

Goals and strategies

In general, music for restaurants, when it follows a strategic objective and a tailor-made sound strategy, can be used by the management to create a specific atmosphere that distinguishes the environment and differentiates it from its competitors.

Marco Solforetti