What keeps diners from going back to a restaurant? Sometimes it is not the food. Not even the service. Sometimes it is simply because the restaurant was too noisy, making it hard to have a pleasant conversation over dinner.
The interiors of restaurants, all the glass windows, marble bars, brick walls, wooden table, concrete floors and pillars can all contribute to create a noisy restaurant. All those reflective surfaces and nothing to absorb the sound. Adding thumping music. And that is how a romantic dinner for two turned into a shouting match. Suddenly the food became tasteless, the service was ordinary. You just wanted to pay the bill, walk out and never come back.
Not long ago, Good Food Guide did an investigation on restaurants noise and how it influenced diners experience. And here are the list of tips they offered restaurateurs to help keeping the noise down.
■ Dampen and disperse sound using physical barriers and alcoves to break up the soundwaves’ path.
■ Use sound-absorbing wall linings and create feature walls that can also be turned into art.
■ Use sound-absorbing ceiling linings or create ceiling islands and/or baffles of sound-absorbing materials where ceilings are very high.
■ Use fabrics and other soft furnishings wherever possible.
■ Put rubber caps on chair legs and soft floor coverings on main walkways.
■ Turn down the music.
As for diners, the experts suggested:
■ If the restaurant have bare walls, floors, tables and windows, it will be noisy. Add people and it’s a reverberating noise box. Avoid if you want intimate conversation but enjoy if you like a rowdy night out.
■ Don’t sit near speakers, open kitchens or coffee grinders.
■ Don’t dine in the dark. Even people with perfect hearing read lips and facial features to some extent.
■ Consider old-fashioned establishments with carpet, curtains and tablecloths. All those soft surfaces absorb noise, making the dining experience a lot more pleasant.
■ Let the owners know if there’s a noise issue — it may be good for you and other patrons in the future.
■ Ask for a quiet table.
Read more of the Good Food Guide article here.