Music has helped create atmosphere in restaurants for centuries, entertaining guests and generating a more enjoyable customer experience, writes guest blogger Melanie Frazer-Reid, Marketing Manager, Startle.
Bring this forward to 2018 and consumer expectations when eating out is about more than just a good meal; it’s about getting the full experience. Restaurateurs must create a compelling reason for customers to venture out instead of conveniently ordering in. This could be from enhanced food and drink choice, great in-venue entertainment offering, superior service, or a combination of these 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 operators who get it right.
While a good music offering can significantly improve the dining experience, if high-quality, well-profiled music isn’t delivered, it could have the opposite effect.
Music evokes emotion and the impact this has on the overall quality of a customer’s experience shouldn’t be underestimated. For most consumers, a complementary soundtrack increases the enjoyment of eating out, enhancing the atmosphere, encouraging customers to relax and unwind and can stimulate conversation.
Investing in a professional restaurant music system gives operators the tools they need to consistently provide a high-quality soundtrack. What many don’t know is while consumer music services such as Spotify are great for personal use, they are illegal to use commercially and could result in large fines and a complete meltdown of a restaurant’s atmosphere if taken away. In contrast, professional background music services like Startle Music cover the necessary mechanical licenses needed to play music in any hospitality setting and therefore provide a great platform to build a soundtrack that will enhance customers’ experience.
As well as ensuring restaurant music solutions meets the legal requirements, a professional background music system will usually come with a range of high-quality playlists suitable for different audiences, dayparts and occasions. While bespoke music profiling is often a great choice for brands seeking a soundtrack specifically tailored around them, making use of ready-made playlists means gives restaurateurs the ability to access professional music compilations without having to start from scratch saving precious time.
It’s essential for operators to carefully consider the types of music played in their venues to create a consistent brand experience. Just like a logo or interior design, background music reflects a brand’s values and personality. In the long-term, having an ongoing theme will build sense of familiarity with consumers, creating a feeling of community and, in turn, encourage customers to return.
First impressions of a brand are also key, as customers will be quick to develop a perception of restaurant that can be hard to change. Using a consumer music service like Spotify or Pandora, especially free versions which often include ads, gives consumers the impression that the operator lacks attention to detail.
A professional music system that has been designed specifically for its environment will give restaurateurs more choice, quality, flexibility and control, helping shape the way your customers view your brand.
While customers are quite rightly front-of-mind for operators, it’s also imperative to consider how background music impacts 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 listening to it day in, day out.
Employee engagement specialist Kevin Kruse sums up how these effects 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, restaurant staff 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 background music to employees, a good restaurant music system like Startle Music will help manage this. Operators can create tired levels of access and control genres, artists or playlists that can be accessed. This gives employees the freedom to change the music, whilst operators are assured the music will always reflect predetermined choices. With most professional background music systems, operators are able to manage multiple locations from one account, ensuring consistency across brands.
For restaurants or any other retail or hospitality business that take brand and customer experience seriously, a high-quality, professional background music system is essential.