Before delving too deeply into acoustics (this page is worth a read for a deeper dive) we thought it was worth giving an overview of how adding our Solo and Akusto panels to your restaurant will improve the customer experience.
Our bodies are hard wired to react to sound, either positively, or usually in the case of loud noise, negatively. Evolutionarily speaking this is a good thing if the loud noise happens to be a bear coming out of the woods to snack on you. Not so good if you are eating and it's the noise of the table next to you at a restaurant. Stressful, difficult to hear, frustrating to talk. This makes a room a place that you want to escape from, rather than one that is a pleasure to be in. And this of course has an impact. Yet it is easy to fix.
So, if you own a restaurant or bar, why does this matter?
A 2016 survey of over 1400 people for Action on Hearing Loss found that “background noise is the biggest problem faced by people when eating out, leaving many customers excluded from the conversations going on around them”. And if you surf through review sites, you can find countless complaints about how noisy restaurants are. People tend to vote with their feet, and not return.
As an example we recently did some testing with a well known pub chain, and found the dB levels peaking well over 90, the same kind of noise levels you would experience if you had a power mower next to your ear. In an industrial environment, that level of noise would legally require ear defenders if experienced for extended periods of time. Working in this kind of environment can be stressful and difficult for staff, as well as customers.
It's also interesting to note that research which explores how sound / noise affects the way we perceive the taste of our food, showed that saltiness or sweetness felt to be less intense when the noise level was high. So your guests may not be experiencing the food that the chef had in mind.
This is not to say that all restaurants are the same, or should be silent, or that background sound cannot be appropriate, nor create a welcoming and lively atmosphere. Different demographics will of course also prefer different experiences. But if you feel that your restaurant is too noisy, or you have customers who comment upon it being too loud at busy times, then adding our products can make a significant improvement.
How can we help improve the acoustics?
Adding an appropriate amount of absorption to the space will help make it more accommodating to customers, and less stressful for your waiting staff. The issue is often caused by hard surfaces. These reflect the sound, rather than letting it die away. As the sound cannot escape the noise level builds, so we talk louder to compensate and maintain communication. This vicious circle continues to raise the sound level, and with it, your stress levels.
Adding our panels allows the sound that reaches them to be absorbed, rather than bouncing around the space. Ideally a combination of Solo and Akusto should be used, close to the tables where the sound is created.