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Let's Boogie: 6 ways playing background music changes customer experience

Do you play music in your restaurant? If it's a yes, then you already know why it's so important to have background music. The benefits are great for your customers AND your staff. If you're still delaying getting a music license, you need to turn up the priority, because there are so many benefits of playing background music in a restaurant and you're missing out.



One music licensing company asked their customers what their motivations were for buying a music license for their restaurant: 81% of people said playing music improved staff morale and 84% said music created a fun atmosphere for diners.


Some businesses don't play music because they don't want to pay for a music license. It's understandable you might want to save money but playing music is an important part of your customers' dining experience. Here are the benefits of playing background music in your restaurant: 


1) Benefits dining atmosphere

There are many points customers like to tick off before they decide whether they've had a good time at a restaurant. There's the food, the service, the cutlery, the centrepieces, etc. But a major checkpoint for customers is what their dining atmosphere was like. Although it's rare to be sat in a silent restaurant that feels like a library, many customers will struggle to relax if the atmosphere doesn't feel right. Having background music helps customers relax and have an enjoyable experience. 


One study has shown that listening to music helps to improve your mood and reduces stress. Surely, you want your customers to feel like they can relax and unwind at your restaurant.


2) Makes the restaurant more inviting

Nobody likes walking into an empty bar, and this is the same for a restaurant. Background music brings life into a room and makes it more inviting for customers hanging around the doorway when they're trying to decide whether your restaurant is for them. Music is like the tone of voice of your restaurant: if customers like the style of music, they'll more likely want to come inside and eat. 


3) Helps keep customer conversations private 

When you've got a busy restaurant, it's difficult to have a conversation without overhearing what the next table are talking about. Although many guests come out to have a meal in a public area, they want to be able to have a private conversation. Music helps to stop the sound of conversation from carrying throughout the restaurant, especially if you have a noisy customer. 


4) Improves staff morale

Music has been proven to help boost your mood and benefit your motivation. People who enjoy exercising, will often listen to music because it will encourage them to work harder. Playing music on the dining floor and in the kitchen can motivate your staff to work harder. Chefs, waiters and bartenders have active and stressful jobs, and music can help them continue working at their best. 


5) Live music invites a live audience


Offering live music is a strong selling point for restaurants. Enjoying a dinner and a show feels like you get more for your money and it's excellent entertainment. If you have a good band and they play regularly, more customers will likely make sure to book a table so they don't miss your entertainers.


6) Music can encourage customers to stay longer

Did you know playing music can impact how long people will stay at your restaurant? Recent research has found that the tempo of music can affect how long a customer stays in a supermarket or a restaurant. They found quiet and slow paced tunes influenced customers to stay longer compared to shops and restaurants that had fast and loud music. When slower paced music is playing, it helps customers relax whilst fast tempo inadvertently encourages diners to eat and drink faster. 


The longer customers stay in your restaurant, they are likely to spend more money.


The rules of playing music in your restaurant

Have we persuaded you? Have we encouraged you to try playing music in your restaurant? Then there are some unwritten rules all restaurant owners need to follow if they decide to play music in their establishment. 



Get a license

The first step for any restaurant owner who wants to play music in their establishment, they need a music license. It's illegal to play copyright music on a public premise without a license and you can get hit with a heavy fine


Right tone

See music as an extra feature of your brand. The style of music you play should reflect the style and tone of your restaurant. If you have a restaurant which usually hosts formally dressed guests, then you may want to stick to soft classical music. However if your main clientele is students from the university around the corner then you may want more current tunes. 


To find the right music for your restaurant, consider your customers and what they would like to listen to.


Inappropriate language is a no-no

Always check the music tracks. Naturally, customers can feel offended if there is inappropriate music playing, especially if they have young children with them. Avoid playing music that contains swear words. 



Have you ever been eating in a restaurant and you can't hear what your friend has said because the music is too loud? You've said 'pardon' too many times so you just go ahead with the awkward nod.


Get the volume right. Customers should be able to talk without raising their voices and your staff shouldn't be struggling to hear orders because Billie Jean's playing too loud. Having music at a high volume can also affect the safety of your staff as they won't be able to communicate effectively. Put the volume at a medium position so people can comfortably talk without having to shout. 




Buying a music license is an annual expense that won't make a major impact on your business bank account but it will make a major impact on your customer's dining experience. Make sure you get a license and choose what music style suits your restaurant best. 



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Have you experienced any other benefits of playing background music in your restaurant? Share them in the comments below.

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