I have often wondered how it can be possible for restaurateurs to come up with a great restaurant concept, a nice-looking interior, a great menu, consistently delicious food, great service BUT to partly or completely disregard the acoustical experience.
I can’t even count how many times that my dining experience has been sub-standard due to the restaurant facilities having been too noisy. People having to raise their voices for others to hear you. And more importantly, the noise does not provide a comfortable, relaxing night out but it rather causes stress and discomfort.
Granted, we are all different and some have more issues with a noisy restaurant than others. But I’m confident that a lot more people than one could imagine would actually prefer a restaurant with a well-designed sound ambience. Different studies have shown that diners are increasingly including the acoustics when they rate a restaurant experience. So tomorrow’s most successful restaurants will have to add acoustics to the eqaution.
There can be different restaurant concepts that warrant different types of acoustics, with some restaurants fitting in with a hustle-and-bustle ambience. But even those places could benefit from a more conscious approach in terms of designing the acoustics in the restaurant facilities.
Restaurateurs really need to step up their game and show more empathy to their customers who come to them for good food and a pleasant experience, but who are often forced to suffer from an overly noisy environment while trying to enjoy their food and company.
I was happy to read about Knauf – an Australian manufacturer of acoustic design products such as acoustic ceiling tiles and plasterboard – who has launched a campaign that highlights the importance of great restaurant acoustics.
The campaign is called Dine Hear and has the tagline ‘Because Great Sound Matters’. The idea is to encourage foodies, designers, architects etc to nominate their favorite restaurant/s which get most things right except for the noise. Professionals are also asked to submit sketches on how the acoustics could be improved.
The objective is to highlight the issue of noisy restaurant acoustics and, in doing so, help improve the sound quality in Australian restaurants.
Dine Hear is backed by a collection of short videos portraying how patrons are having problems hearing each other due to the noise.
Besides issues with hearing each other, I would say that, more importantly, the noise creates a general level of discomfort with a heightened stress level – when dining out should rather be all about leaning back, enjoying each others company and experiencing great food.
What’s your take on this? Do you also consider noise to be an issue when you dine out? How does your favorite restaurant sound? Please, tell us a little bit about it below.
Swedish founder of Elevating Sound - Your Sound Guide to a Sound World. I have set out to inform and educate about progressive sound thinking, leading sound innovations and issues around noise in society.
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