One of the most common questions we get is from restaurant owners asking how to use background music strategically. Most of these restaurateurs understand the value of using restaurant sound systems to influence their guests’ experience, but few understand the best practices for doing so.
We thought we’d help by sharing our four top tips for using background music for restaurants to drive success.
(1) Increase Referrals by Playing the Right Music
Your concept is your restaurant’s identity. It’s what makes you unique. It’s important to make sure the music you play in the background supports your restaurant’s concept. Believe it or not, music can be as important as your interior decoration, signage, and in some cases how you present the food.
This very topic was studied by researchers at Cornell University. The researchers found that when music is properly aligned with concept, consumers show stronger purchase behavior, visit frequency, and an inclination to provide referrals to friends, family, and acquaintances. Music that was not aligned with concept caused a reduction in repeat visits, low average tickets, and dissatisfaction among patrons.
(2) Increase Table Turns with Faster Tempo Music
What if you could increase table turns by 20% by simply increasing the tempo of your background music? Well you can! Research and practice have shown that faster tempo modern background music increases both table turns and service speed.
Researchers at Cornell tested faster tempo restaurant background music (fast song beat) and uncovered a goldmine for restaurant managers. The researchers found the faster tempo music to increase service speed by 7%! The faster tempo also increased dining rate. Both combined for a 20% increase in table turns and had no negative impact on gross sales per customer.
(3) Increase Bar Sales with Slower Tempo Music
What if you could increase your bar sales by 30% by slowing down your bar music tempo. Well you can!
Just as faster tempo music speeds everything up, slower tempo music slows everything down. Our friends at Cornell found that the relaxing environment created by the slower tempo bar background music was good for bar sales. Even though the slower tempo reduced service speed and table turns, patrons sat longer and drank more, increasing bar sales by 30% and increase gross margin of 14%.
(4) Turn up the Volume to Turn up the Profits
Volume can be used to increase or decrease service speed, dining rate, and patron throughput. Research in The Journal of Consumer Psychology found louder music to be associated with increased sales per minute while having no effect customers’ reported satisfaction with the music or service experience. Lower volume, conversely, slows down the dining experience and keeps patrons in your restaurant longer.
Applying these lessons is quite simple. Increase volume and music tempo to accelerate dining rate and service speed. This will directly increase table turns. It’s the most profitable mix for the fast-paced lunch environment. At night, when bar sales are most important, lower the volume and decrease the music tempo. Your patrons will slow their pace and drink more, driving up gross margin.
It’s easy to use environmental background music restaurants to drive referrals and influence the behavior of your guests. Give our music providers for restaurants a try and start enjoying all that your restaurant music has to offer.
About the Author
Dr. Ryan Santangelo is Co-Founder and President of Dynamic Media, the nation’s leading provider of background music, music on hold, and message on hold for business. With over 10 years of leadership in the business music space, Dynamic Media serves over 20,000 business clients across the United States and in 12 countries around the world. With award-winning service and a customer-drive culture, Dynamic Media is one of the fastest growing full-service business music providers in the country.