Music for Restaurants: the Importance of Volume

Music for restaurants: volume

What is truly important about playing music in restaurants? The rhythm, the style, the genre? The presence of popular music or unknown music? What determines the success of a perfect musical setting?

The trend of adding sound to environments, popular for many years abroad and for the last few years in Italy, is now irreversible.

If we think about the fact that in the US, people started to play music in public spaces as early as the ‘50s, even in the elevator (Muzak), this phenomenon is relatively new to Italy.

It isn’t that there was no music before, but surely no one paid it adequate attention.

University experiments are often the impetus for change

If university professors say it, then it must be true. The University of Montreal conducted a study that said that playing unknown music did not distract people and therefore is better than popular music during the purchasing process. Then, a study at the University of London confirmed the opposite.

Who is right and why do the results contrast so starkly?

Firstly, it is necessary to ask some questions and dig a little deeper. Who conducted the research? Why was it done? Are there private entities or businesses who funded it?

One thing is certain: from the moment the results are determined, we can start a debate that until then could not exist. The aforementioned truth remains: good or bad, it is only important that we discuss it.

Music is emotion, suggestion, memory

The new marketing and communication trends are developing based on the concept of experiences that involve our senses. Sensorial, emotional, experiential, neuromarketing. These are the new terms associated with the concept of modern marketing.

Music helps more than a little to stimulate people’s sensitivity, to create a memorable experience, to produce a memory full of positive connotations.

When does a restaurant’s music become part of a mindful plan?

Let’s turn the question around: what happens when the music is left to its own devices or in the hands of the wrong people?

Firstly, what aspects of the service are penalized: the idea of a product or, worse still, the entire brand image? Sometimes it creates anxiety, discomfort, inconsistency between our internal world and the “world” around us. It is one of the causes that contribute to breaking our equilibrium, and therefore destroying a positive and optimal environment.

A candle-lit restaurant cannot play alternative rock nor techno music

Apart from some contrasts which are deliberately forged, studied precisely because they come from an original project, music must first and foremost convey a sense of consistency.

I was surprised to learn from a study conducted by Professor Rohrmann that people do not give much importance to the quality of the music played. Often, this is because they don’t pay attention and, in the moment they are interviewed, they prefer to respond vaguely. But most people believed that a restaurant is definitely better with background music. Even when the volume is louder than optimal.

Do you know when people tend to become aware of the music?

When the volume surges, or suddenly changes rhythm, or when someone pushes the “pause” button and it stops playing suddenly. It’s as if someone suddenly turned off the lights. Everyone realizes that something important is suddenly gone. In many cases, music helps to break a bothersome silence.

I dedicate a lot of attention to the volume and explaining to clients the criteria for achieving an optimal listening experience. In a restaurant, we obtain that more easily than we do in other environments. Conversations happen at a moderate volume, the background noise is quiet.

The optimal volume

The optimal volume is when we are able to speak with the person across the table from us without yelling, without being able to hear the conversations from nearby tables, and at the same time to clearly hear the music and not an annoying buzz. This is the optimal volume.

Naturally, the more crowded a restaurant is, the more the summation of “background noise” will contribute to changing the intensity of the listening volume.

It takes attention, dedication, passion

When the food is excellent and the service is impeccable, the details make the difference. The atmosphere that you hear and breathe. The particulars. It is worth an entire service. The brand image is in play.

Today, we are no longer used to the concept of silence. It would be like sitting in the dark.

Marco Solforetti