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Business Owners/Operators / Chefs

How to choose the right music to enhance your customer's dining experience

Whether you run a fine dining restaurant, a busy inner city café or a country town bakery, the music you choose (or don’t choose) to play will impact the overall dining experience for your guests.

Not only have studies shown that background music can impact average customer spend, but it can also factor into how long customers stay at your venue, what pace they eat and how their food tastes!

Keep reading to find out how music can play such a crucial role in your venue and how you can leverage this to perfectly compliment your meal with music.

First things first

Before we go any further, its important hat you are aware of the laws behind playing music in your venue. You will need a licence in order to play music in your venue (whether it’s barely audible or a live band), so be sure to familiarise yourself with the different licences you can apply for at the APRA AMCO website.

What the studies say

Earlier we mentioned that average customer spend can be influenced by music – but how much so? Recent studies by Soundtrack Your Business show that correctly matching your venue theme and concept with music increases food sales by 15.6%. This is backed by an earlier study which not only concluded that the correct choice in music resulted in more impulsive buying behaviours, but that ”consumers rate the environment significantly more positive … and experience enhanced satisfaction”.

So we know that music can impact food sales and customer satisfaction – but what about the types of music? Whilst studies show that slower tempo tunes result in customers staying for longer and spending more on drinks, if this tempo doesn’t suit the venue vibe these results won’t be the same.

Pressing play on the right music

There is no one size fits all solution for choosing the right music that elevates guest experiences in your venue; however, there are some general rules of thumb that can help you become the ultimate song selector!

  • A very obvious place to start is stick to your theme. If your venue has a clear theme or ethnicity (ie. French bakery, Italian pizzeria) then your music needs to match. A University of Oxford study shows that when music is used to set up a particular ethnic context in a restaurant, the food flavours appear more authentic. Utilising tools like Soundtrack Your Business can offer great music for you to play that stick to theme without being tacky.
  • Whilst keeping customers inside your venue for longer may be a great tactic for increasing average customer spend, for fast turnover venues you want to play fast tempo tunes to turn over those tables quicker. This is also a great tactic if you have an unexpected busy period or have groups who appear to want to overstay their sitting.
  • If you want a faster turnover on your guests’ alcoholic beverages, pump up the jams! The louder the music the more drink sales you’ll see. Be wary to match the music volume with the vibe; any music that’s too loud will clear out your venue.
  • Whilst slow tempo music is fantastic for keeping patrons dining at your venue for longer, be sure to steer clear of easy listening – anything that you would imagine hearing in an elevator does not induce a positive dining experience!
  • Another great way to pick the right music is to think about the motives behind why people dine at your venue. If you run a bustling inner city café, your average customer who stays for a feed will probably be getting some work done – so ambient, happy music with no vocals is perfect to get their creative juices flowing! If you run a restaurant or pub that’s more of a special occasion venue, nostalgic throwback tracks are great for getting conversation and drinks flowing.

Music is a small yet significant part to creating a fantastic dining experience in your venue. If you want more information on creating a memorable dining experience for your guests, you can read our free e-guide today!

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