Decibels, Dining & Design: Is your restaurant too loud?
A Combo That Can Hurt Your Bottom Line
An increasing problem: restaurants that are so loud that meals become secondary to the decibel level. It breaks down to two factors: acoustics and music.
The interiors of some restaurants contain so many hard surfaces – brick walls, tin ceilings, concrete floors – that the flow of conversation is magnified into intolerable din, especially on busy nights. It’s clear that your restaurant design affect the sound level.
In other places, music is pumped in at such a decibel level that patrons feel more like they’re in a dance club.
In either case, partaking of a meal in a relaxed atmosphere becomes impossible. And some restaurants have sound “hot spots.” If you’re sitting at a table under a domed sky-light, you may have fallen into a black hole of white noise.
Patrons and business people alike will leave a restaurant if it is too noisy since conversation is part of the reason for going to a restaurant.
When there are “intimate” surroundings, the problem gets worse. In some places I have experiences, even a crowd of 10 people creates an echo and din that becomes ridiculously loud. It’s like you’re at a concert. In other places, between the cackles at the bar and the blaringly loud music, no one can have a conversation.
Granted, some restaurants that allow high levels are trying to set a mood and establish a niche, but that niche is the younger consumer; a sense of energy to attract the 18 to 30 year olds.
Restaurant owners: For people with discretionary income the food, service, price, menu, can be perfect. However if the ambiance is not perfect, if the restaurant is too loud, it repels the repeat customer. There’s an index of complete satisfaction that people look for, and if it’s not fulfilled, they won’t go back.
Consider your bottom line need, the type of clientele you wish to attract and keep and how your restaurant design will best accommodate both. Then make that decision.