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The importance of good acoustics for restaurants

Why excess noise leaves a bad taste

For restaurants, the mid-century and modern minimalism design schools are both here to stay. These design facets promote sparse modern décor, high exposed ceilings and almost no curtains, upholstery or carpets.

Yet these designs could be made to contribute to restaurant noise:

  • Floors no longer have carpets
  • Seating is not upholstered
  • Tablecloths are a rarity
  • Communal tables are popular
  • Open kitchens
  • Clinking plates
  • Shifting seats on hard floors
  • Loud (and sometimes live!) music

Malcolm Sutton reports in his article Noisy restaurants leave a bad taste for diners, researchers recommend quiet spaces that “we found that even at normal noise levels, noise can have a bad effect on your dining experience”.

The research Mr Sutton refers to is by Flinders University PhD candidate Mahamoud Alamir. Mr Alamir’s experiment had 15 candidates exposed to varying noise types at 30, 40 and 50 dBA.

What types of noise affect restaurants?

There are several different types of noise that can affect venues:

  • Road traffic noise
  • Restaurant noise
  • Relaxing music

Studies showed that at any level, restaurant and traffic noise impacted the enjoyment of the meal. Conversely, music up to 40 dBA improved enjoyment of food by up to 60%. Research indicated that females were more susceptible to a stress or annoyance response to noise than males.

So if patrons do not enjoy the experience of noise, why are restaurants designed for noise? Some reasons include:

  • Hard surfaces (with no linens) are easier to clean
  • Less ornate décor and table settings mean fewer items to wash and replace
  • Noise encourages increased alcohol consumption, and produces faster dining turnover
  • Noise encourages people to order unhealthier food – and more of it!

All of that being said, it’s important to note that noise doesn’t encourage repeat business. In fact, it has the opposite effect and drives business away. There are even apps for smartphones to guide patrons to a quieter restaurant nearby.

From an acquisitions perspective, it also costs more to attract new diners to a venue than encourage repeat visits. Is the noise and the extra spend at the bar worth the lack of repeat business and additional acquisition spend?

Talk to Avenue about soundproofing solutions for your venue

Avenue Interior Systems could help you to improve the acoustic environment of your restaurant. Our products decorative, stylish, have microbial resistance and are easily cleanable, making them perfect for use in hospitality applications.

For help with solving noise in a restaurant and encouraging repeat visits, call the Avenue team on 1300 827 177.