VSAG Sounds Off: Is Your Restaurant Too Loud?

Noisy restaurants are the pits.  Often, voices compete with blaring music, with diners speaking louder to be heard by their companions, and in turn restaurants increase the volume of their music in an attempt to muffle the din.  It’s a vicious cycle that sometimes seems to have no solution.

Fret not – there are steps you can take to win the decibel battle without resorting to handing out earplugs when you drop your menus on the table.

The easiest time to install sound-absorbing materials is in the design and decorating stage, before you open your doors.  To help absorb future noise, consider laying carpet throughout the dining room and using upholstered chairs at your tables, as fabrics are terrific at muffling noise.  Not the look you intended?  Consider wrapping walls or pillars in softer materials, like fabric, fake grass or tufted upholstery.  Bold, fun and engaging, these materials dazzle the eyes while muting volume.

Long past the designing phase and business is (literally) booming?  Install insulation along ceilings and beneath tables and chairs.  Does your restaurant boast an open kitchen?  Invest in quieter exhaust hoods.  No effort is too small — even tablecloths muffle clattering silverware.

Cheaply and immediately reduce excess noise by training servers and busboys to pace themselves and not juggle too many clanking plates at a time.  Ensure waitstaff is mindful of unnecessary banging when setting tables or dropping dirty dishes off at service stations.

Perhaps the simplest of all — resist the urge to crank up the tunes during peak hours.  After all, background music is best when left in the background.