Most restaurants only use background music for ambiance and atmosphere purposes, but music can also be utilized to increase a restaurant’s profits.  Music has the power to influence customer perceptions and emotions, which can increase table turnover, influence price perception and menu choices, and add atmospheric enhancement.

Services that offer streaming music for business use can help with appropriate music selection and licensing, but it’s important to choose the right provider.  If you choose to go about music selection yourself, make sure you acquire the appropriate licenses to use music in your business.

Music doesn’t directly increase restaurant profits, but rather indirectly by influencing other metrics that lead to increased profits.  Here are some of the metrics that can be improved with proper use of music.

Increased Table Turnover

Music can increase table turnover by influencing your customers’ perception of time.  When exposed to fast paced music, a span of time feels longer, which means customers will feel like they’ve been in your restaurant longer than they have.  Because of this, playing fast paced music can help increase table turnover.

Volume can also affect the amount of time people spend in your restaurant.  By increasing heart rate, louder music can increase the speed at which people eat.  However, loud music is also shown to suppress appetite, which can lead to lower food and drink sales.  Additionally, loud music can interfere with any socializing that may occur between customers, and because most of people eat out for the purpose of socializing, this could result in a negative customer experience.

Higher tempo music is the way to go if you’re looking to increase table turnover, but keep volume at a moderate level to maintain a great experience for your customers.

Create a Memorable Atmosphere

People go out to eat for an atmosphere that’s different from their home.  When choosing music, think about the overall theme or style of your restaurant, and choose music that compliments these other atmospheric elements.  For example, if your restaurant has a beach theme, Caribbean music might go well with surf style décor, while indie music might be a better suited for a café.

According to this survey, 45% of consumers think it’s important that the music choice of a business matches their brand profile.  In the same survey, 44% of respondents said the wrong music could make them leave.  You must consider your music carefully when choosing a playlist. Most importantly, make sure it matches your restaurant’s style.

Influence Menu Choices

Along with good menu design, music has the ability to influence the perception of menu prices.  One study showed that when exposed to classical music verses pop music, customers spent more on alcoholic drinks, which lead to a dramatic increase in overall check sizes and profit margins (since alcohol is often one of the most expensive menu items).

While playing classical music can help influence the purchase of menu items, you must still make sure that the music you choose matches the style of your restaurant.  While music plays a tremendous part in the influence of consumer decisions, it’s not the only factor.  It’s important to make sure that the other sensory elements of your restaurant work together to form a cohesive theme.

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