Hitting the Right Notes with Background Music

Choosing background music for your restaurant can be a time consuming endeavor, but it’s one of the most important factors for setting the tone and atmosphere in your restaurant. If used properly, music can greatly influence your customers purchasing decisions. Finding the right music is something most restaurant owners fail to do correctly. They will usually play music they prefer instead of music that fits the style of their restaurant.

Background music services such Dozmia for Business can help restaurant owners put together playlists tailored specifically to their needs. This can be a good option for restaurant owners who don’t want to undertake the music licensing and reporting themselves. However, for those who would rather do this on their own, the following information may be helpful.

Set the Right Tone

It’s important to choose music that fits the style of your restaurant. Think about your brand personality and customer profile. Are you a coffee shop that attracts the hipster type? Indie music might make sense. Maybe you’ve opened an island style restaurant with a tropical theme. In this case, instrumental Caribbean music makes sense. The music you choose for your restaurant must reinforce the style and atmosphere you’re trying to establish for your customers in order to be effective.  Had one of the owners of these restaurants decided to use hip-hop or rap because that was the music they enjoyed, it would’ve clashed with the theme of the restaurant and confused the customers.


If you’re going for a clubbing, partying sort of vibe, louder music makes sense. However, for sit-down restaurants, high levels of volume as your background music, though they might have a positive affect on sales, can negatively affect the customer experience. People go out to eat so they can socialize, but if the volume is so loud it disrupts their conversation, those customers might not come back.  The volume should be loud enough to influence the atmosphere, but not so loud it becomes annoying to your customers.  The exact level of volume may need to be adjusted throughout the day to maintain its audibility, being louder for higher traffic hours, and lower during slower traffic hours.

Time of Day

Changing music based on the time of day can have a positive effect on the atmosphere and table turnover in your restaurant. Faster paced music tends to increase table turn, so it makes sense to play music with more beats per minute during high traffic hours. During low traffic hours, playing slow paced music would be more effective since there is a decreased need for table turn. With slow music, customers are be encouraged to stay longer, resulting in them buying more food or drinks. Even with the change in tempo, it’s important to maintain your style.  Play music that reflects your brand.

The Sound of Your Food

Sound can affect our perception of taste. Applebee’s knew this when they released their sizzling entrées. The sizzling sound created a positive perception of taste among their customers. Music can have a similar effect. Indie music is shown to compliment spices, while pop is great for Chinese food. Hip-hop and dance music, however, can have a negative affect on our ability to perceive taste.  When choosing music, consider the type of food you serve, and think about what type of music would enhance the overall experience of the dish.