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Are you playing the right restaurant music?

Mar 29, 2017 11:19:24 AM published by James Luck



  • “Just a small-town girl, living in a lonely world…”
  • “I’m a Barbie girl in a Barbie world…”
  • “Tragedy, when the feeling’s gone and you can’t go on…”
  • “Sweet dreams are made of this…”

As the above lyrics (hopefully) demonstrate, music is powerful. And evocative. And incredibly subjective. Music has become the soundtrack to our lives and what to one customer is a guilty pleasure is, to another, akin to being tortured by the sound of nails repeatedly scraped down a blackboard!

Done right, not only does music hold the key to keeping your customers in your restaurant or café for longer. It also means that they’re likely to spend more.

However, music also has the power to irritate intensely. For example, if it’s overly intrusive or up tempo – or incredibly downbeat and morose – it’s likely to turn your customers off fast.

Whether your aim is to create a romantic evening atmosphere or a lively buzzing environment, the right music is crucial because your customers want experiences. So – doing it yourself or using a background music service like soundjack – how do you go about selecting the right restaurant music?

Follow the five golden rules of music profiling

The right background music is no accident.  It needs thought and expertise. And there are some important rules:

  1. Define your music identity – what do want your music to say about your brand?
  2. Delve into your customer personas – you’re ideally placed to define their musical preferences.
  3. Be objective – don’t play what you want to hear but what you believe will inspire and excite your customers.
  4. Make your sound exclusive – not just by adding unknown artists but by picking album tracks rather than just the hits.
  5. Listen to your customers – make changes to your playlists based on their comments.

And don’t forget to tailor your tunes to the time of day…

Once you’ve compiled a general playlist that’s the right fit for your customers, you need to make your music appropriate for the time of day. Following these general rules will put you on the right track:

  • If you’re open early for coffee, breakfast or brunch, remember that your customers may be slightly bleary-eyed and won’t feel like being blown away by anything too heavy!
  • Weekday lunch times tend to be a time for socialising with colleagues or friends, so playing hits is a safe bet as they’re often a catalyst for conversation.
  • Weekend lunches are long and leisurely – encourage your customers to stretch them out and dare to be different so you catch their attention.
  • The after-work (or weekend evening) vibe is always a good one. Tap into the feel-good factor by ramping up the fun, but remember to be authentic and not too wild.
  • As the evening moves on and drinks turn to dinner, your customers are looking for music that won’t take over their conversation so vary the tempo depending on the type of business you’re running.
  • You can always ramp it up later and think about increasing the volume for after dinner fun – your customers are ready to party.

Whatever music you’re playing, it’s crucial to get the volume right. Too loud and your customers will struggle to hear each other and your team. But too quiet and they won’t feel able to indulge in intimate chat with each other.

Strike the right note with soundjack

If you’re unsure of the right approach for your restaurant, we’re here to help. We’ll create a tailored playlist, finding the perfect ambience and atmosphere to keep your customers happy and spending.

  • We can customise your music to the time of day, season or occasion.
  • Give your customers picking power – with our app, they can select the tune they want to hear (from your list, of course).
  • Use the music you play to generate revenue – for example, customers can pay-per-play.

Ultimately, you need to invest in the long term and stay committed to making the music as good as everything else you are offering.

Is your music legal? Read our blog to find out!

Topics: Restaurant music, Casual dining

Written by James Luck