by krghospitality

Sound Engineering for Your Restaurant or Bar

By Doug Radkey – 09/26/2017

In the bar (and restaurant) industry, emotions and experiences are paramount. Without delivering positive emotions and memorable experiences, you will not have a long lasting business. Outside of food, drink, seating, video, and decor – properly engineered sound (music) can enhance those much needed feelings that guests’ ever so often, desire.

Music has the authority to deliver the right ambiance based on one’s brand and based on one’s target demographic while increasing overall profits. No matter the concept, guests are known to enjoy their food, drink, and inner-circle company more so when music is playing; which ultimately makes them stay longer and of course, spend more of their hard earned dollars at one’s venue.

We sat down with our friends at Playdio Inc., a new platform labelled ‘handcrafted radio for your business’ to ask them a few key questions regarding the importance of sound engineering in bars today. Here’s what they had to say!

Bar Start-Ups

If you’re in the start-up phase of your food & beverage business, don’t overlook the importance of music and sound. As Mat Lunnen of Playdio tells us “a new bar is like a luxury cruise liner – it’s not a speed boat. Erratic music creates erratic guest behaviour. Changes in your music should be subtle turns like a large ship, not swerving in and out of the water like a jet ski.”

To accomplish this is no easy task. It takes the correct sound system, the correct speakers, the correct speaker placement, and the correct level of sound paired with sound management (song choices and playlists) to make it work like the noted luxury cruise liner.

“You’ve taken the time to surround yourself with professionals in your business. From designers and architects, to bookkeepers and chef/bar consultants, you rely on experts to craft these parts of your business. Music is equally as important and cannot be overlooked.”

Working with a sound or music professional “allows you to dive deeper into understanding your day parts and demographics while creating memorable and meaningful experiences for all your customers.”

In summary, make the right choice and invest in proper sound engineering and sound management, right from the start.

Psychology of Day-Parts

Whether it’s pre-game drinks at a bar, or a fine dining experience at a restaurant, crafting the perfect playlist is an art form. “Using professionals can help increase customer engagement, and impact customer behaviour & spending patterns, while allowing you to focus on the more pressing day to day issues of your business.”

Mat’s advice “is to take a good look at your day parts, understand them and who is in your business at that time, and create appropriate playlists for each day part”.

For example, during lunch hour, consider upping the tempo and energy of the music being played to encourage guests to eat their food faster, opening up tables for additional customers.  Analyze each hour of the day and the type of guests you’re typically serving. Subtle tweaks to music selection can play a large part in duration of stay, money spent, and guest satisfaction.

Four-Walls Marketing

Marketing events through sound & music is also an excellent way to drive emotion and memorable experiences. Does your bar show the hockey game every Saturday night? It would be ideal then to “play stadium songs that we would normally hear at the hockey arena, as if we were really there, to get your customers in the mood”. Don’t want guests heading to the exits after the game? Consider “crafting a high energy, familiar playlist and then crank the volume to keep the party going” which is a great option to pair with late night food & drink menus.


When you “take songs that are connected to our memories and times in our lives where music and sound had more of an impact on us – we increase social experiences, social activity, and often connect those feelings back to a specific venue where the song was played”.

Music builds brand perception, creates an atmosphere, influences guest behaviour, attracts & prolongs guest visits, increases staff productivity, and boosts staff morale. Who wouldn’t want all of that!?