Putting together the perfect audio-visual plan for a restaurant takes more than a few ingredients.
Most restauranteurs planning their new restaurant have their focus mainly on the menu, location, staff, and ambience. The first three on that list are straightforward and easy to understand, but the term “ambience” means something different to everyone. Most folks are likely thinking lighting and décor, which are both important to the ambience of your new restaurant, but not the only two pieces to the puzzle. Your restaurant’s ambience needs to pay special attention to the sound of your space as well. Background noise is essential to creating ambience, but ambience is not once size fits all.
Planning Audio for your New Restaurant
First, you need to consider your space, and we don’t mean simply the aesthetic. When we are talking about planning a new restaurant, we mean consider factors such as where the bar is in relation to the main dining room. Where the bathroom is versus the entrance, and how you might want either the volume or the type of music to be different in those areas.
You’ll also need to consider factors such as structure of your building (i.e. brick walls versus aluminum versus lots of windows, etc.) and how sound might either be absorbed in the space or how sound might bounce off the walls.
There is a lot to consider here, needless to say. This is likely the number one area for which we suggest seeking out professional help. Knowing where to place speakers and how to adjust based on the area of the restaurant you are working in is not easy. Especially if you are a novice – seek help! The last thing you want is to spend a fortune on the wrong equipment or place the right equipment in the wrong place.
The next step to creating your audible ambience is deciding the kind of music you want to play in your venue and how you will play your chosen genre. Keep in mind, you might love classic rock, but your fine Italian dining establishment is not going to jive with that. On the other hand, you might love 90’s pop but the young college crowd you are trying to attract may not. This can be a harder step than you might think. Ultimately your choice needs to reflect the crowd you are trying to attract.
A sub-step to selecting what music you will play is deciding how you will play that music.There are numerous music streaming services available but not all of them are intended for retail spaces. There are services out there specifically meant for restaurants, bars, and retail like Rockbot or Spectrio.
Your final step is the one with the largest impact on the budget: where will the controls for your audio system be kept and who will have access to it. This is serious; you are investing a lot of money in your system and especially in whatever you choose to use as your central hub for controlling your sound system. Think hard about where the central hub will be kept, how it will be kept secure, and who will have access to it. We do not recommend all your employees having access to the audio system; safeguard your investment by keeping it under lock and key to avoid services fees, replacement fees, and/or total outages.
We’ve said it a bunch and it’s truly not a sales pitch: your restaurant’s sound system is an area worth budgeting for professional help.