What Type of Music is Right for Your Bar or Restaurant?

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What Type of Music is Right for Your Bar or Restaurant?

For many people, going to a restaurant isn’t just about the food. It’s about the overall experience and atmosphere, and music plays a huge part in that. Having that perfect playlist can create the ideal ambiance. Some restaurants will play music far too loud, some allow the staff to pick, and some play the wrong music at the wrong time of day. All of these can result in an unpleasant experience for the customer.

Research has found that fast music increases the customer turnaround in restaurants, and slow music increases the individual customer’s spend. This is because loud, fast music increases excitement; meaning customers tend to eat faster. Similarly, slow music makes customers drink slower, eat fewer bites per minute and make them more likely to order that dessert, coffee, etc.

Restaurant Personality

There is one very important criterion that should be the guiding force in determining the music to be played in your restaurant and that is determined by the personality of your restaurant.  This does not mean the personality of the staff or owners. It should be the personality of the restaurant itself. Consider the décor and layout of the restaurant. What is the energy level of the restaurant?  What type of personality does your menu have?  Picture all of these and any other significant factors in your mind and ask yourself, “What type of music matches this?”

Time of Day

The time of day is another important factor to take into account when choosing music for your bar or restaurant. Your lunch crowd might prefer a more toned-down feeling whereas Fridays are fun, exciting, and loud. On weekends you have brunches which may need a more jazz feel and nighttime can fall under throwback songs from the 70s, 80s, and 90s.

Pre-Made or People’s Choice

A dilemma when deciding to have music in your bar or restaurant is allowing your customers to choose or having a pre-selected list of songs ready to go. Always keep in mind that when customers get to choose, not everyone in the establishment will necessarily agree on the music choice. You have to be prepared for a negative response if the wrong song is chosen. Typically, this won’t happen if you have a jukebox selected with the genres relating to your business. When making your own playlist, try not to spend too much time on the “perfect” choices. Think about streaming the music through sites such as Pandora, Spotify or other music libraries. These services provide a wide selection of songs while sticking to a particular genre (or many!)

If staff is allowed to pick the music, it’s best to set ground rules. You don’t want music that’s going to offend or annoy your customers. This means no profanity, heavy metal, or rap – unless this fits in with the style of your restaurant, except for the profanity.

All music should be kept at a low level in the background. Your customers want to be friends with your restaurant, not enemies.


Thank you for reading! Buzztime has helped businesses like yours increase guest count, customer frequency and average check size with Interactive Tablets that expertly blend best-in-class interactive entertainment, seamless and powerful marketing, and secure, convenient self-service dining and payment functionality to create an unrivaled experience

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  • Joel Siddall

    Another great article, thanks for sharing. As stated above, music can have a significant impact on a customers experience in your restaurant or bar. Therefore your music playlists are worthy of careful consideration.

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