Sound Advice: 8 Bar and Restaurant Background Music Tips to Boost Sales - Buzztime (2022)

Think restaurant background music is no big deal? It’s time to change your tune. Recent studies show that the right music can boost food and drink sales from 15.6 to 40 percent. We share 8 reasons to put restaurant background music at the forefront of your bar business plan – and how to do it.

IMPORTANT: Be a Restaurant Background Music PRO…Avoid Expensive Fines and Copyright Infringement

Before you turn on that restaurant background music, familiarize yourself with the rules surrounding PROs (Performing Rights Organizations) using the National Restaurant Association’s free guide. You can’t just play your perfect Spotify playlist (unless it’s a business account), turn on satellite radio, or even hire a live cover band. You may need to first pay licensing fees to a PRO such as BMI, ASCAP, or SESAC.

The 8 Bar and Restaurant Background Music Tactics

Once you’ve figured out your licensing, now comes the fun part: planning your perfect restaurant background music playlist. Why does the right restaurant or bar playlist matter? Studies by Soundtrack Your Business, the Spotify-backed playlist tool, show that music that meshes with your brand concept increases food sales by up to 15.6 percent. On the flip side, no music or just random music can actually hurt sales. Ready to press play on boosted sales? Let’s do this…

Tip #1) Play Slow Tempo Music During Slower Dayparts to Speed Up Drink Sales

When you have a lull in customer traffic – maybe mid-afternoon or early evening – don’t try to energize patrons with loud or lively music. Instead, play slow tempo restaurant background music. Why? Because a study shows that slower tempo music will encourage patrons to stick around and spend up to 40 percent more on drinks and desserts.

While food orders didn’t increase in the study, drink and dessert orders went up. So, make sure you promote your drink and dessert menus during slower dayparts. A great way to do this is with eye-catching digital signage you can change out with the dayparts.

(Video) 10 Ways to Optimize Your Bar or Restaurant for 2020

Tip #2) Try Low and Slow Restaurant Background Music to Increase Guest Satisfaction and Save on Food Costs

When you set a relaxing mood with soft restaurant background music, you’ll also increase guest satisfaction. A recent study put two groups of patrons in a restaurant. One restaurant setting had relaxing music and lighting. The other setting had bright lighting without music. In the relaxed setting, patrons ordered the same amount of food as the other group. However, the relaxed group reported more satisfaction with their food and ate less – discarding much of their food.

The takeaway for your restaurant background music is this: during slower dayparts, set a relaxed atmosphere with these tips. It won’t impact your bottom line to let guests linger if you have plenty of open tables…

  • Launch a mid-afternoon tapas or small plates menu featuring smaller portions to save on food costs.
  • Give guests another reason to stick around with on-demand arcade and trivia games.
  • Create a drink list with high-margin, low-alcohol content beverages: think craft cocktails and session craft beers (beers with low ABV).
  • Or, combine the two and try these 17 beer cocktail recipes!

Tip #3) Cater to Country Music Fans

Make sure your restaurant background music playlist includes some Nashville sounds. Today’s country music fan is the ideal patron – especially if you’re a casual, family-friendly establishment. According to a Billboard Music report, 42 percent of Americans are country music fans. One in every two country music fans makes more than $100,000. Plus, country music fans are more likely to dine out than the average American.

When country music fans dine out, they bring the entire family. While 42 percent of Americans eat dinner with family each night, almost twice as many country fans ensure everyone comes together at the table. With country on your restaurant background music list, you can attract these fans to your venue.

In fact, you might want to make your restaurant background music a main draw for country music fans. Designate a midweek evening as country music night for families. On that evening, play country music, hire a local musician, or even host an open mic night! Create a special menu featuring country and Southern classics like fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits, and pecan pie.

Tip #4) Pump Up the Jams…

Want to boost drink sales? Turn up the volume of your restaurant background music. Research shows that simply turning music on at a bar will lead to increased alcohol sales. Then, playing that music at higher volumes increases the rate of alcohol consumption even more. Be responsible. This study has been utilized to urge bars to monitor patrons for excessive alcohol consumption in short time periods. You should always instruct your bartenders to stop serving alcohol if a guest is becoming inebriated.

Tip #5) Turn Up the Tempo and Turn Tables Faster

We covered what type of restaurant background music to play during slow dayparts. But when business is rockin’ during peak periods, you need a different approach. To turn tables faster, one often-referenced study recommends playing fast tempo music. In the study, when 62 sets of couples heard fast tempo restaurant background music, they believed they spent more time at the restaurant than they actually did. This is great for two reasons: tables turned faster yet guests still perceived that they spent a good amount of time dining. They didn’t feel “rushed” out.

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Tip #6) How to Hear the Sweet Sounds of Success

This is one crazy restaurant background music tip but it’s backed by numerous scientific studies. Playing the right music will actually enhance the flavors of your food and drinks!

Pay close attention to restaurant background music if you’re known for your dessert menu. The study revealed that music with higher frequencies brought out the sweetness of food. An example of higher frequency – or higher pitched – music would be Pharrell’s “Happy.” Musical instruments associated with higher frequency include the flute, violin, and guitar.

Lower frequency restaurant background music – such as music heavy on the bass, and music featuring vocalists with deeper voices – emphasized bitter flavors. So, aim for low frequency restaurant background music if you’re a brew pub that caters to craft beer fans. They often seek out the bitterness of IPAs and trendy sour beers.

Tip #7) Don’t Drown Out Your Menu with Loud Music

Your restaurant background music should stay in the background if food is your main focus. A study revealed that when music is too loud, guests can’t perceive sweetness and saltiness very well. Their overall enjoyment of eating and drinking is literally drowned out by too-loud restaurant background music.

The analysis referenced the fact that most people order tomato juice when flying because the intense umami (savory) flavor cuts through the rumbling noise of the jet.

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Yes, #7 on our list of restaurant background music tips contradicts #4 – the recommendation to turn up the volume to increase drink sales. The trick here is knowing when to amp things up. The general rule is to match the energy of your crowd with the volume of your music. One way to do this is with the sit or stand rule. If more of your patrons are standing, chatting, and moving around – keep the music up. If the majority are sitting, turn it down.

Tip #8) Steer Clear of Easy Listening!

This is an easy one. But if you want a study to prove it, we’ve got it. When in doubt, don’t settle for easy listening restaurant background music. It will decrease sales of your food and drinks. If you’d classify a song as elevator music, keep it off your playlist.

Music choice is a personal thing. But the best advice for restaurant background music is to ignore your personal tastes and play to the preferences of your guests. That way, they’ll be singing your praises while they order more.


How loud should background music be in restaurant? ›

In most restaurants, the noise level should not exceed 70 decibels (including ambient sound), while more vibrant bars can play the music that's between 75 and 80 decibels comfortably. You want to choose a decibel level that is pleasant for your customers and employees.

What music increases sales? ›

Relaxing music will slow down the pace of customers while they are shopping. It encourages them to stay a bit longer in the store and spend more on products. On the other hand, fast tempo music will make them purchase what they have on their lists without exploring and perhaps purchasing more.

What sounds make people spend money? ›

Studies have shown that classical music, more so than any other genre of music, will influence customers to spend more. This works on two levels. First, classical music gives off an air of luxury.

What is the best music to play in a restaurant? ›

Background music for a restaurant

Soft jazz and classical music are perfect choices. At the same time, at weekends luxury restaurants may provide guests with live classical recitals. As a rule, these will be duets for piano and violin. Winds are a great fit too!

Why music in a restaurant is important? ›

Frequency and volume affect the taste of food

The music you play can make your dishes taste more flavorful. Scientists have been studying the effect of music on taste for years, and found out that playing low-pitch sounds while eating makes savory dishes taste better; conversely, high-pitch notes enhance sweet flavors.

Why do most restaurants have background music? ›

Turns out the calming music makes customers more patient. When slow-tempo background music played in the restaurant while customers waited for a table, they were willing to wait for an average period of 47 minutes per group of people. If the music was not as soothing as it was, the wait time would be 20% lower.

What music attracts customers? ›

More than 70 percent of people say they are more likely to shop in locations that play music they enjoy. But what they love can vary. Women often prefer oldies, pop, and R&B in their shops, while men frequently prefer rock, blues, and bluegrass. Think hard about your customer base.

How can I grow my audience with my music? ›

17 ways to get more music fans
  1. Know your fans. Otherwise known as “know your brand”. ...
  2. Focus on your live show. ...
  3. Treat your existing fans like royalty. ...
  4. Create consistent content. ...
  5. Invest in your local community. ...
  6. Partner with causes you believe in. ...
  7. Create your own playlist. ...
  8. Music covers of similar artists.
15 Nov 2022

What color attracts customers best? ›

Red is the color of power. It gets people's attention and it holds it, which is why it's the most popular color for marketing. The word SALE is always red, and you'll often find red a common tie color for professionals.

What sounds make people feel good? ›

Psychologists have studied why we seem to favour these natural sounds above all others and have come up with a few theories.
  • Hydrotherapy. ...
  • Calming fireplace. ...
  • Repetitive sounds. ...
  • Laughter. ...
  • White noise.

What sounds do people like the most? ›

  • Waves against rocks.
  • Rain against the windowsrain-on-window.
  • Treading on snow.
  • Baby laughing.
  • Birds chirping.
  • Crackling open fire.
  • People laughing.
  • Leaves crunching beneath your feet.
31 May 2016

What music makes food taste better? ›

According to their research, high pitched music will enhance the sweetness of food whereas low pitched sounds enhance more bitter tastes. Staccato sounds go best with crunchy food and creamier flavours are enriched by smooth legato music.

What is an 8 bar song? ›

There are usually 8 bars in a chorus. The majority of rap songs will have an 8 bar hook. Sometimes artists will do 4 bars and then repeat it to make up the 8 bars. You have total freedom within the framework here to do whatever you want.

What music should you play in a bar? ›

Here are a few of the top songs people never get tired of hearing in bars:
  • 'Don't Stop Believin' by Journey.
  • 'Living on a Prayer' by Bon Jovi.
  • 'Friends in Low Places' by Garth Brooks.
  • 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot' by Pat Benatar.
  • 'Raise Your Glass' by Pink.
  • 'Closing Time' by Semisonic.
  • 'Pour Some Sugar on Me' by Def Leppard.

Why sound in a bar is important? ›

How can bars and restaurants benefit from great sound? Great sound associates its quality with the venue, and with every product that's provided within that venue. Great sound will make food taste better. Not literally, but it will be perceived as tasting better, and that's essentially the same thing.

Why sound and music is important? ›

Sound is important because it engages audiences: it helps deliver information, it increases the production value, it evokes emotional responses, it emphasises what's on the screen and is used to indicate mood. When put to good use, language, sound effects, music, and even silence, can elevate your video dramatically.

How important is music in a bar? ›

It's undeniable that music influences bar, nightclub and restaurant operations. Volume, tempo, tone, lyrics, specific artists… Each of those factors affect the guests (and even staff).

Why is background music effective? ›

This is because music subconsciously, often without us knowing, affects our moods, energy levels, memory recall and even our behaviour. It can heighten our sense of connection to people, experiences and spaces, including businesses, especially within the hospitality industry.

What is the benefit of background music? ›

Listening to music and background noise while doing activities such as working or studying can lead to various benefits, including improved cognitive performance, improved task performance, improved concentration, increased energy levels, and improved mood.

Why do shops and restaurants play background music? ›

The slow music lends itself to customers having a more leisurely shopping experience which leads to them spending more time filling a cart and buying more items. Specifically, Milliman found that a grocery store saw an increase in sales that was 38% higher on days that slow-tempo music was played.

How do you make your customers feel special? ›

Paying attention to the little details of everyday life, and letting your customers know you noticed, will make them feel valued.
  1. Really Listen. ...
  2. Put Them First. ...
  3. Put Yourself in Their Shoes. ...
  4. Be Honest and Genuinely Open to Feedback. ...
  5. Deal with Problems Quickly. ...
  6. Be Creative in Showing Appreciation.

How do you attract and keep customers? ›

The following six strategies will help you attract and keep customers.
  1. Offer quality products. Good quality is the most important reason cited by consumers for buying directly from farmers. ...
  2. Cultivate good people skills. ...
  3. Know your customers. ...
  4. Use attractive packaging. ...
  5. Let customers try samples. ...
  6. Be willing to change.

How can I attract more people to my music? ›

12 Ways To Attract More Listeners To Your Music
  1. 1) Leverage Social Media. ...
  2. 2) Use a distributor. ...
  3. 3) Release A Single first. ...
  4. 4) Plan Ahead. ...
  5. 5) Submit Your Songs To Playlists. ...
  6. 6) Reach Out To Music Blogs and Reviewers. ...
  7. 7) Create A Lyric Video. ...
  8. 8) Release Alternate Versions.
13 Apr 2022

How can I promote my music today? ›

How to Promote Your Music
  1. Work on digital marketing. ...
  2. Create an electronic press kit. ...
  3. Create a website. ...
  4. Host your music on streaming platforms. ...
  5. Use email marketing. ...
  6. Pitch yourself to music blogs. ...
  7. Reach out to playlist curators. ...
  8. Connect with fans through live shows.
16 Feb 2022

How can I promote my music without being annoying? ›

Here are five ways to promote your music on social media without annoying your followers.
  1. Make it interactive. Social media is a terrific platform to interact with your fans. ...
  2. Speak with genuine excitement. ...
  3. Offer an incentive. ...
  4. Post in moderation. ...
  5. Make it personal.
9 Feb 2015

What color makes people happy? ›

Yellow is usually the color of happy, joyful emotions.

What color is lucky for business? ›

Colors Considered Lucky

Besides just looking at numbers, common colors associated with luck are red, yellow, and green in the Chinese Zodiac. Quite interesting, considering that red was in the majority of logos listed in the companies that produced the most revenue.

What color attracts humans the most? ›

Studies reveal that red is the most attractive colour to both men and women but, curiously, the two genders are attracted to the same colour for different reasons. Women are attracted to men wearing red because, according to one study, it sends signals of status and dominance.

What is the most calming sound? ›

The following six sleep sounds are the most popular and effective for soothing you to sleep.
  • Ocean, rain, river, and other water sounds. The rhythmic sound of water is undeniably calming. ...
  • Nature sounds. ...
  • ASMR. ...
  • White noise. ...
  • Calming music. ...
  • Oscillating fan. ...
  • Choosing the best sleep sounds.
5 Mar 2020

What sounds make you feel relaxed? ›

  • Whispering. Although it may seem like an odd choice of relaxing sound, whispering has appeal (just ask the 4% who say it's the sound that soothes them best). ...
  • A clock ticking. On average, 10% of us can't get enough of the sound a ticking clock makes. ...
  • Podcasts. ...
  • Audiobooks. ...
  • Radio. ...
  • TV. ...
  • Mindfulness apps. ...
  • Music.

What sounds do people like to hear? ›

However, twenty of the sounds that are consistently named as the best or most magical to hear include:
  • A child's first word.
  • Wedding vows.
  • The words 'I love you'
  • The sound of rain falling.
  • The pop of a champagne cork.
  • Bird song at dawn.
  • A child laughing.
  • Waves crashing onto the beach.
28 Jun 2018

What is the most powerful sound? ›

On the morning of 27 August 1883, on the Indonesian island of Krakatoa, a volcanic eruption produced what scientists believe to be the loudest sound produced on the surface of the planet, estimated at 310 decibels (dB).

What are 5 pleasant sounds? ›

1. Pleasant sounds
  • Music sound from Harmonium.
  • Song sounds from human being.
  • Bird's sound in the morning.
  • Slow wind's sound.
  • Vibration sound of leaves of tree.
  • Sound of raining.

What is the best sound? ›

9 of the best sounds in the world
  • #1: A baby's coo. As humans, cooing is one of the first sounds we make (besides, maybe crying). ...
  • #2: Your favourite music. ...
  • #3: The many sounds of water. ...
  • #4: The sweet spot. ...
  • #5: A child's first words. ...
  • #6: Thunderstorms. ...
  • #7: Those two little words - "I Do" ...
  • #8: Outdoors on summer nights.
9 Apr 2021

How music affects the taste of food? ›

' In general, higher-pitched sounds are associated with sweet and sour tastes; lower-pitched and dissonant sounds with bitterness; staccato sounds with crunchiness; and smooth, legato sounds with creaminess.

What are the tips for playing music in restaurant? ›

Below we provide you with tips for playing music in your restaurant.
  • Match it with your brand. ...
  • Make your playlist long, or update your playlist frequently. ...
  • Keep it dynamic. ...
  • Alter your music based on the time of day. ...
  • Don't play music too loudly. ...
  • Increase the volume if there are more guests.
16 Jun 2018

How do you write an 8 bar melody? ›

In a short, 8-bar tune, the end of the first phrase sounds best if it ends on an imperfect cadence. This means that the end of the phrase would sound good if it was played with chord V. The chord which comes before V is up to you, but common imperfect cadences are I-V, II-V, IV-V and VI-V.

What is an eight bar phrase? ›

The phrase typically relates to "Boogie Woogie" music, in that in the space that you might count a typical measure ('a-one, two, three, four'), the Boogie Woogie player would play 8 bass notes. Hence, "give me 8 to the bar".

What kind of music is good for background? ›

Certain musical genres such as smooth jazz or popular classical music are well suited for use as background music. Instrumental music is often preferred because it is assumed that human voices and sung lyrics attract too much attention. Ambient and lounge music also lack vocal elements or spoken lyrics.

What are the qualities of a good bar? ›

  • Service, décor, atmosphere, drinks selection and food, or at least bar snacks, all contribute to make a good bar but within those broad headings it is numerous small things that contribute to make a truly great bar. ...
  • Door staff. ...
  • Friendly welcome. ...
  • Consummate host. ...
  • Table service. ...
  • Clean toilets. ...
  • Age gracefully.

How do you describe a bar in music? ›

In musical notation, a bar (or measure) is a segment of time corresponding to a specific number of beats in which each beat is represented by a particular note value and the boundaries of the bar are indicated by vertical bar lines.

What is the perfect volume for background music? ›

So keep an eye on employee protection and do not turn the music up too loud. Basically, the ideal volume for routine activities and tasks requiring light concentration is 45-55 dB. Volumes above 65 dB can cause stress in the long term.

What audio level should background noise be? ›

Most video editors agree that the overall audio level of your audio mix (all of your audio combined) should normalized between -10db to -20db. I personally level my videos around -12db with occasional peaks to -8db. The trick here is to stay away from 0db as best you can.

How loud is too loud in a restaurant? ›

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), also part of the CDC recommends that employees' exposure to noise not exceed 85 dBA for an 8-hour shift, OSHA requires employers to implement a hearing conservation program.

Is background music good for concentration? ›

Proven to improve brain functions

Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons to listen to music during a study session is because music is proven to help improve cognitive performance. Basically, music helps your brain function! “Background music may enhance performance on cognitive tasks.

Why is background music louder than voices? ›

“Occasionally, we have found that viewers who experience an overly loud background music playback sometimes have a stereo television and that the 'front surround' feature is activated. This would move the rear surround, usually music and sound effects, information to the main speakers.

What are some good background noises? ›

Generally, white noise is better for focus and productivity, while ambient noise fosters creativity. Ambient sounds can range from flowing waterfalls to the steady hum of life in a coffee shop.
There are quite a few noise types, including:
  • White noise.
  • Pink noise.
  • Brown noise.
  • Blue noise.
20 Dec 2019

What is a good sound level? ›

Sounds at or below 70 dBA are generally considered safe. Any sound at or above 85 dBA is more likely to damage your hearing over time. Researchers have found that people who are exposed over long periods of time to noise levels at 85 dBA or higher are at a much greater risk for hearing loss.

What is the best audio level? ›

Ideal Audio Levels

The overall audio level should be in the -12 to -6dB (decibel) range, especially during dialogue. The audio meter will turn yellow in this range. Some parts of the audio will be louder or quieter than this, but the goal is that the majority of the audio settle into the above range.

Is background music good? ›

Some studies show that background music can improve your episodic memory and overall cognitive performance, yet other research suggests that background music can actually be a detriment to your ability to focus and learn. Still others say that it has no effect one way or another.

Does music sound better at lower volume? ›

At lower volumes you'll be able to hear if some instruments are too loud & what's sticking out too much. Mixing at lower volumes can really improve your overall volume balance. You'll hear dynamic processing better. Lower volumes make it more apparent what a compressor is doing.

Do people like loud music in restaurants? ›

Plus, some level of loudness seems to benefit the bottom line. Marketing research suggests that customers prefer places with lively background music, and they drink more alcohol and eat faster when the volume rises, boosting table turnover and revenue.

How do restaurants reduce noise? ›

  1. Sound-proof your chairs. The sound of chair legs scraping against the floor of your restaurant isn't a pleasant one. ...
  2. Utilize curtains, area rugs, and tablecloths. ...
  3. Keep machinery out of dining areas. ...
  4. Create a barrier to kitchen noise. ...
  5. Let your walls and ceilings absorb the noise.

Why are people so loud at restaurants? ›

Loud restaurants draw people in. Restaurateurs have found that louder restaurants are perceived as lively and successful. Very few people want to socialize in a silent room. If you're going out to drinks and dinner (and you are not a monk), you want to go somewhere fun, somewhere with energy.


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