New York restaurant owners know having audio visual systems that provide an experience the same, or better, than what guests can get at home is critical to success in our highly competitive city. But it’s sometimes hard to justify the ROI on installing dozens of ceiling speakers for perfectly distributed sound or mounting plasma or LED screens on every wall in a New York restaurant. Research, however, shows that the musical experience restaurant owners provide to their guests can affect how much they eat and drink, and how quickly.

When music is loud, but not deafeningly so, people tend to talk less, eat faster and eat more In a New York Times article, music designer Wyatt Magnum pinpointed 125 beats per minute to be “the perfect tempo for turning tables.” Magnum published an Encyclopedia of Beat-per-Minute to help restaurant and bar proprietors select music of the right tempo.

Research seems to back him up. A Fairfield University (Connecticut) study showed that people took 4.4 bites per minute, rather than an average of 3.83, with faster music playing. A study done in France showed that drinkers ordered an average of 2.6 drinks, completing one in 14.5 minutes, when listening to music playing at 72 decibels. Crank it up to 88 decibels, and guests order 3.4 drinks, finishing one in 11.5 minutes.

Urban Myth… or Music to Turn Tables?

We believe that audiovisual design is certainly part art and part science, and that includes the selection of music. Today’s control system technology makes it easy to automatically program music to increase in both volume and tempo as a restaurant or bar approaches its busiest time of day. But does it really work?

Restaurants have been employing color to evoke an atmosphere and cause people to either eat faster (think of the yellows, reds and browns of your favorite fast food joint) or to encourage people to linger and order course after course in fine dining establishments. It’s not a stretch to discover that music and sound, critical aspects of the ambiance in today’s hospitality venues, can do the same.

One thing we do know: High quality sound, designed and installed by area audio visual consultants with years of experience, creates a more enjoyable experience, letting guests know they are being treated to something special. Customers will return again and again… and tell their friends. Ultimately, that is the type of marketing that will bring your New York bar or restaurant continued success.