9 Don’ts and Do’s for Music in Restaurants / Restaurant Chains

In this blog article we have put together some simple don’ts and do’s for restaurants and restaurant chains that can be the difference between having a successful background music policy and not. We’ve listed Don’ts first as we always like to finish on a positive vibe and energy.


1: Don’t use Spotify® or Apple Music® playlists from your phone

Without licencing them first.

Yes it is possible to get the music playlists you regularly use, licenced for broadcast and public use, but you must do that with a licenced music provider, such as Perfect Octave or similar (or otherwise pay enormous licencing fees).

It’s as simple as sending us your playlist, signing up for our Music for Business service and you are all set to go.

2: Don’t Use Unlicenced music

This seems pretty obvious but not paying a music licence for the music you play in your restaurant is a pretty big deal. It’s a little bit like a customer walking in to your restaurant, sampling everything you have to offer and walking out without paying for the food or drinks.

You, your team and your chefs are going to feel pretty unhappy about it and that is how songwriters and artists feel when venues do not pay them for their music.

It also means your business is potentially breaking copyright laws and can be fined huge amounts.

When it is so easy to play licenced music, there appears to be no reason not to.

Find out here how to licence your music.

3: Don’t Repeat / Shuffle

Avoid repetition at all costs. When staff are working in our restaurant for 8-12 hours a day, they don’t want to listen to the same songs over and over again, so avoid using the Repeat / Shuffle function of your playlist. Staff will become demoralised and customers will stay away for fear of listening to the owners preferred 80’s hits, over and over.

Playlists need to be regularly updated with new tracks to avoid going stale.

4: Don’t Play it Too Loud or Too Heavy

When you want your clientele to dwell and sit in your restaurant for longer, re-ordering food or drinks, then your music choices must match your ambience and your brand. Too brash or too loud and people will leave early before ordering coffees and deserts, too low or too slow and you could find your staff and your customers snoozing in their soup.

Timing is everything and music should be matched to the vibe / energy you require at any given time of day.

5: Don’t Scrimp on the Quality of your System

This seems pretty obvious but we often visit restaurants where the music is played out from low-quality, cheap loudspeakers or from too few car hi-fi speakers screwed into the ceiling.

Poor quality sound will cause people to leave early, whilst in contrast great quality sound will add to the vibe and encourage people to stay.

A new Mexican restaurant in a major city recently has completely overshadowed the steadfast, established Mexican restaurant for bookings. The new restaurant is consistently sold out, it has great music, a sound system that sounds fantastic and an energy and a vibe that is proving irresistible with local diners.

6: Don’t Play your Local Radio Station

Whilst local radio has its place, do you really want to be playing out the local Subway® adverts (or any other fast food restaurants) whilst your customers are with you? And sure the local radio stations’ playlists are nice and familiar but is that why your guests chose to dine with you today, we’re guessing not, so avoid playing out local radio stations for yours and your customers sake.


7: Do Tie your Music in to your Theme / Concept

The right music playlists are essential components of a brand’s (your brand’s) identity. Get it wrong and the repercussions are clear, get it right and customers will stay loyal to you. So it’s important to pay attention to your music playlists and ensure they fit your brand.

And stick with it. Staff will try to encourage you to play the latest hits but changing music styles regulalry draws attention away from your theme/ concept and it is quite possible your customers have chosen your restaurant to avoid the sound of the latest charts.

8: Do Day Part your Music

This means playing the right intensity of music at the right time of day and should  a large party of 30-40 people be scheduled to arrive with you you need to ensure your music matches the intensity and energy of your crowd.

Day parting is a science that automated playlists do not cater for. A professionally profiled playlist, created by music provider experts, will play slower tempo music during lulls in customer traffic, encouring customers that are already in to stick around and spend more on desserts and coffees.

When you are busy and you are looking to boost drink sales increasing the volume of your restaurant background music will lead to higher drinks and bar sales. Turning up the tempo / speed of your music can also turn tables faster if you are looking to move diners through more quickly in peak periods.

The right music at the right time of day.

9: Do work with a Music Provider

Getting the music right in your restaurant / restaurant chain, is essential for brand consistency and brand identity but also for boosting sales and keeping customers loyal to your brand. By signing up to our Music for Business service, we take care of licencing, music profiling, day parting and keeping your music playlists fresh so your staff stay motivated and your customers keep coming back.

Would you like to find out more?

e-book-mockup-noshadowWhy not visit our Music for Hospitality page or download our recently published eBook:The only guide you will ever need to Playing Music in your Business


Talk to one of our Music experts?

Book a call with one of our music for business experts, at a time that suits you, here;


Photo by Matheus Frade

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