One of the most overlooked things when designing a restaurant is the noise. Designers and architects alike take great care to provide the owner and customers with a visually appealing space made of glass, marble, brick, wood, metal, granite, tin, or drywall easy-to-clean surfaces but fail to take into consideration the impact the selected materials will have on the restaurant’s noise levels. Besides inventive dishes and an awe-inspiring decor, it’s paramount to make sure the noise within the space won’t be jeopardising repeat business and the restaurant’s long-term viability. As guests assemble in a restaurant with no soundproof design, their voices will begin to carry. Given that only a mere 5% of the echoes produced in the room can be absorbed by hard, reflective surfaces, the remaining 95% will continue to carry through the space, creating an unpleasant background noise that pushes conversations to raise up and causes feelings of discomfort and strain to guests. That’s when people characterise a restaurant as too noisy, although they can’t put a finger on exactly what makes it like that. It could be because the background music competes with the cooks clanging pans in the open kitchen or the sound of cocktails and drinks being shakes bounces against the mirror behind the bar. The opening team cannot possibly know what a full restaurant would sound like and by the time they do, conversations are already a challenge in the restaurant.
The number of contemporary restaurants aiming for a party feel and bustling energy has rapidly increased the last few years. Distinguished by their bare windows, concrete floors, open kitchens, metal chairs, and bars in the dining area, restaurateurs and designers want to increase the restaurant’s energy levels and answer to the demand for more animation and excitement. But, studies have shown that 70% of them are too noisy. According to a list of decibel readings against a noise source provided by Mayo Clinic, any noise beyond 85 decibels is a risk range (60-80 decibels equal a normal conversation, washing machine, and heavy traffic). Indicatively, 110 decibels equal a rock concert, and, with 80-90 decibels, you are almost getting into the sound of jackhammers! It’s not comfortable for the customers and also damaging to the ears of the people that work there for 6 hours or so and are exposed to that sound. This is why installing sound absorbing panels is a necessity; they help increase the level of absorption in a room (up to 80% absorption rate) and bring the space’s acoustics back to good quality levels. The perimeter background noises collapse and conversation within the room has more clarity and normal tones. Besides a happier, more productive staff, clients will also be satisfied and willing to come back to a user-friendly space that’s been soundproofed.
When starting out with a new restaurant, restaurateurs usually don’t have a line item for sound and make false assumptions as per the noise levels their customers will feel tolerable. Undeniably, though, the amount of noise clients can endure has a direct impact on their dining choices. For example, baby boomers consider eating out a big thing; something special. So, they demand ambience, service, and cuisine in perfect balance. Millennials, on the other hand, see dining out as a chance to socialise with peers and have a flair for communal settings. Although the second group is considered the prime source of income for restaurateurs, given that they dine out much more than baby boomers, they, too, can’t stand having conversations in short bursts. An intrusive, headache-inducing noise is unpleasant to everybody despite age and forces clients to adjust their expectations about noise, making booking be a bit cautious. That said, what these two groups of customers have in common is that they will all use the social media to provide feedback for everything they experience; every place they have visited, everything they have tasted, worn, and so on. According to a Harvard Business School study, a one-star increase in a Yelp rating can lead to an increase in revenue of about 5%-9% (for non-chain restaurants). Unhappy clients, due to the noise levels of a restaurant, won’t hesitate to deduct a star or provide a negative review that can affect the restaurant’s reputation and business. A problem that can be easily solved by installing ceiling or wall mounted sound acoustic panels.
Long gone are the days when sound absorbing panels were ugly additions to a room that compromised the design of restaurant space. Today, sound panels are distinguished by their modern twist and versatility. They indeed have the power to increase the wow factor of a space and blend beautifully into the existing ceiling or wall space. You may choose to have them play a subtle role and go undetected through paint matching or go for more fancy designs that inspire and please the eye (see our Celeste, Prism, Twig, Wave, and Splat galleries for some examples; all class A fire rated). Whatever design you choose, you can make sure our sound absorbing panels are all offering exceptional reverberation absorption (Class A) that help reduce background sound noise levels, allowing conversations to be pleasant and easy. From a pool of 12 colours and 9 eye-catching designs, you will certainly be spoilt for choice. And, if you need a second set of eyes to see your project first hand and make recommendations that will enhance the acoustics of the space (i.e. determining the square footage of the sound panels you should target based on the shape, size, and surface textures of your space), just contact us and get all the project support you’ll need. A strategist for a US-based consumer research group said that noise is the new secondary smoke. People are still dining out to make a connection and socialise. And, although a little buzz is nice, nobody feels comfortable with noise levels that don’t allow them to hear their partner. With sound absorbing panels, you can create that cool, happening place, and let your customers rave about it!