Close

The Impact of a Good Restaurant Music System

Music has been played in restaurants for centuries, building the desired atmosphere, entertaining guests, and creating an overall more enjoyable customer experience.

In 2018, the expectation to visit a restaurant and experience more than just a good meal is standard; consumers need a good reason to venture out instead of conveniently ordering in, whether this comes from more food and drink choice, a great in-venue entertainment offering, superior service, or a combination of multiple factors.

By the same token, research has shown that millennials are eating out at restaurants more than any other generation, suggesting a huge opportunity for the restaurant operators who are ‘getting it right’.

While a good restaurant music offering can significantly improve a dining experience, if high-quality, well-profiled music isn’t achieved, it could have the opposite effect.

Customer Experience

Music evokes emotion, and the impact of this on the quality of a customer’s restaurant experience shouldn’t be underestimated. For most, a complementary, fitting soundtrack increases the enjoyment of eating out. It enhances the atmosphere, encourages customers to relax and unwind, stimulates conversation and fills potentially uncomfortable silences.

Investing in a professional restaurant music system gives operators the tools they need to ensure a high-quality soundtrack is maintained. For example, while consumer music services such as Spotify are great for personal use, these are illegal to use commercially and could result in large fines and a disruption to your atmosphere if used in your restaurant. In contrast, professional background music services like Startle Music cover the necessary mechanical licenses needed to play music in a restaurant, and therefore provide a great platform to build a soundtrack that will enhance your customers’ experiences.

As well as ensuring your restaurant music solution meets the legal requirements, a professional background music system will usually come with a range of high-quality playlists suitable for different audiences, day-parts and purposes. With these at your disposal, scheduling a soundtrack that enhances your customer experience is made much easier. While bespoke music profiling is often a great choice for brands seeking a soundtrack specifically tailored around them, making use of readymade playlists means you can access professional music compilations without having to start from scratch if you’re lacking time or inspiration.

Brand Image

That said, it’s essential to carefully consider the types of music you play in your restaurant in order to uphold your brand image. Just like your logo, interior design, and all other elements of your brand, your background music is a reflection of your values and what your brand is about. In the long-term, a continuation of well-matched atmospheric features will build sense of familiarity with the brand, creating a feeling of community and encouraging customers’ return. Whether in a quick-service restaurant or a high-end location, the background music you choose should complement brand elements whilst aiming to elicit your desired customer behaviour.

First impressions of a brand are also key, as customers will be quick to develop a perception of your restaurant that can be hard to change. If using a consumer music service like Spotify or Pandora which are not intended for business use and often include ads, this signifies a lack of attention to detail and little regard to your atmosphere. Similarly, using CDs can be repetitive and suggest a dated approach and an ignorance to technology, which many consumers consider highly important in a restaurant experience.

Instead, a professional restaurant music system that has been designed specifically for its environment will give you more choice, quality, flexibility and control, helping you shape the way customers view your brand.

Employee Morale

While customers are quite rightly front-of-mind for restaurant operators, it’s also imperative to consider how your background music impacts your employees. It’s been proven that playing music within businesses can improve employee performance levels, increase job satisfaction and reduce absenteeism, but repetitive or unsuitable music can also be incredibly frustrating when you’re listening to it day in, day out. For this reason, its important to regularly refresh your background music schedule to maintain its positive effects on staff.

Employee engagement specialist Kevin Kruse sums up how having a motivated workforce can influence the success of a business: “Because they (employees) care more, they are more productive, give better service, and even stay in their jobs longer. All of that leads to happier customers, who buy more and refer more often, which drives sales and profits higher.” In an industry where customer service is so vital for success, employees can reap the benefits of a good restaurant music system and be more motivated in what they do, helping to maintain a thriving business.

While it’s often tempting to hand over control of your restaurant’s background music to your team members and their own preferences, a good restaurant music system like Startle Music will help you manage access levels by allowing you to delegate or restrict user permissions. This way, you can choose certain genres, artists or playlists to ‘allow’ and rest assured that your music schedule will always reflect your predetermined choices. With most professional background music systems, you can also manage multiple locations from one account, ensuring you have consistency across the brand and that employees don’t deviate from your schedule.


For restaurants or any other retail or hospitality business that take their brand and customer experience seriously, a high-quality, professional background music system is essential. With the right functionality, choice and control, achieving a great soundtrack that enhances your venues is made easy, whatever your style or requirements.

To learn more about Startle Music, read more on our website or speak to a member of the Startle team to enquire about our bespoke music and technology solutions.