How to Manage Noise Pollution in Your Restaurant

How to Manage Noise Pollution in Your Restaurant

Restaurants are excellent social hubs. Customers can relax, catch up with one another and share the delicious food of their choosing. Whether breakfast, lunch or dinner, guests get to take in the atmosphere and enjoy their cuisine.

As an owner in the restaurant industry, one of your biggest goals is to create a pleasurable dining experience. However, excess noise is one of the most significant detractions from this goal. From chairs scraping across the floor to hammering background music and everything in between, a restaurant can be a noisy place. If there’s too much noise, it can negatively affect both staff and guests.

It’s important to reduce restaurant noise to optimize a customer’s experience.

Why Restaurants Get Loud

Restaurants can get loud due to a variety of factors. Between the chattering customers, the busy kitchens and the many machines located throughout, things can get noisy fairly quickly. Without attention, some of this noise can get out of hand.

These are other examples of noisy stimuli in restaurants:

  • Music: A cornerstone of many restaurants, music can contribute to your establishment’s mood and help create a specific theme. Depending on your restaurant’s theme, you could play the latest popular songs or quiet instrumentals. Without the right regulation, music could become too distracting or noisy for your customers, especially when coupled with other restaurant noises.
  • Modern design choices: Another reason for the recent increase in restaurant noise pollution is a shift in design. Older restaurant styles favored cozier atmospheres, with closer quarters and more fabric, such as carpet. In contrast, many modern restaurants use open designs, with tall ceilings and hard surfaces. These design choices often make it more challenging to reduce sound, as there aren’t any natural barriers to break up noises. Some sounds could echo against the high ceilings and make the entire room louder, while open floor plans can actually make your space noisier overall.
  • Kitchen noises: Clattering from the kitchen is unavoidable in a restaurant. Cooks and kitchen staff need to communicate clearly with one another, and preparing food is often a noisy process. Without a clear divide between the kitchen and dining area, sounds from the kitchen can reach customers and affect their experience. When it becomes too loud, customers and kitchen staff might have to speak louder to be heard, raising the noise level even further.
  • Noisy equipment: Restaurants are full of noise-inducing machines. Depending on your restaurant’s specialty, it could contain anything from drink dispensers to food processors. When all this equipment runs at once, it adds to the noise pollution in your restaurant.
  • Cultural preferences: Cultural preferences also influence a restaurant’s noise levels. For example, many people might prefer a loud ambiance during their meal. The louder a restaurant is, the more it appears like an exciting place to visit. Many restaurant owners and staff might encourage a loud atmosphere to make their location seem more desirable.

Why Restaurants Get Loud

If you notice your restaurant’s noise levels are becoming too high, it might be time to consider new ways to manage them. You want to ensure your customers have a great experience so they spread the good word to others. Keeping noise at a manageable level contributes to a positive experience.

How to Manage and Reduce Restaurant Noise

Despite all of the noise in a restaurant, there are many ways to reduce it. By trying new and creative strategies for noise reduction, you can improve the overall atmosphere. Read on for nine ideas for restaurant noise control.

1. Alter Your Music Levels

Music is a central aspect of restaurants. You can appeal to your target customers and create a desired atmosphere with the right soundtrack. However, it’s important to view your music as background entertainment rather than the most important element customers need to hear. If music grows too loud, it can become overwhelming. Customers should be able to listen to one another during conversations, and restaurant workers must communicate comfortably.

You don’t have to remove music from your restaurant to maintain the noise levels. Instead, try lowering the volume one or two notches. You want a balance where you can still hear the music, but it’s not overpowering. Experiment with the sound levels until you find a preferable atmosphere for your restaurant.

You can also use customer feedback to gauge the best music volume. If a customer notes the music is too loud or soft, use their feedback to update it. Try to arrive at a consistent sound level for each day to establish a cohesive experience for customers each time.

Use Carpet Throughout the Restaurant

2. Use Carpet Throughout the Restaurant

One way to reduce sound naturally is by implementing carpet throughout your restaurant. Carpet has strong sound absorption qualities. It absorbs sound waves and other airborne noises, lowering the overall volume of your restaurant. These features make it a natural volume reducer, meaning you don’t have to make any significant changes to other sounds throughout the location.

Carpet is also available in many colors and textures, so you can select one that complements your overall theme. And, chairs and shoes make much softer sounds against carpet rather than hardwood.

You can implement carpet in small pieces if you don’t want an entirely padded floor. For example, you could place carpets in areas like:

  • By the entryway: The entryway is a high-traffic area for all restaurants. During peak hours in a busy restaurant, many guests might crowd the doorway at once, creating a high-volume environment. If there’s too much crowding in this area, it could affect the other customers as they eat. Adding carpet in the entryway is a great way to reduce some of this noise.
  • Near restrooms: Restrooms are another place most customers and staff visit. You can keep the restrooms quieter by implementing carpet outside the doors.
  • Outside the kitchen: You could also try adding carpet right outside the kitchen. This addition could absorb some of the sounds from the kitchen while keeping it in an approachable position.

3. Try Tablecloths

Tablecloths are another fabric type that can reduce sound levels. When placed over customer tables, they can quiet some of the conversational noise. If every conversation gets quieted, the overall noise in the restaurant could lower.

As guests use silverware or place their glasses back on the table, the cloth absorbs some of the noise.

You can find tablecloths in a variety of colors, textures and thicknesses. You could choose a uniform color for each table or implement your own color scheme.

4. Install Ceiling Insulation

Some restaurants want to keep a specific atmosphere and feel that a carpet or tablecloth detract from this vibe. If you don’t want to install carpet or use tablecloths, consider adding insulation to your ceiling instead.

Here are some insulation ideas for your ceiling:

  • Cloth drapes: You can hang fabric drapes from your ceiling for a unique look that also reduces sound. Personalize the drapes according to your desired style and color.
  • Soundproofed panels: You could also implement soundproof panels to your ceiling. These panels are lightweight and often made of foam, hanging easily. They absorb sound and can help lower the overall noise levels.
  • Official insulation: Lastly, you could hire a professional for a ceiling insulation installation. Insulation can also help improve your restaurant’s efficiency and take the pressure off your HVAC system.

5. Reorganize Machinery

Your restaurant uses a lot of equipment to prepare meals and drinks for customers. While these machines are essential for food production, proximity to customers could be distracting. Many of these equipment pieces might be working at once during busy times, such as a dinner rush. All of these sounds combined can lead to an unpleasant or overwhelming sound that negatively impacts a guest’s meal.

Examples of these pieces include:

  • Soda machines
  • Ice makers
  • Espresso makers
  • Blenders

Consider reorganizing your machinery to ensure it doesn’t bother customers. Keep particularly noisy machines as far from guests as possible. For example, if you notice a blender causes discomfort in guests, move it further back into the kitchen to muffle the sound.

If possible, you could also relocate soda and ice machines further from dining areas. That way, customers can still fill their drinks without bothering conversations.

Block Kitchen Noises

6. Block Kitchen Noises

The kitchen is an integral function of all restaurants, but it creates many loud noises. From the various sounds of cooking to communication between staff, the kitchen can quickly become a noisy place. These sounds could contribute to your restaurant’s overall high noise levels if they’re not regulated.

For instance, some restaurants might leave the kitchen door open, so there’s no natural barrier between kitchen sounds and dining guests. The kitchen noises then blend with the other restaurant sounds, raising the volume of your entire space.

To prevent kitchen noises from affecting your customers, consider adding a barrier between the kitchen and dining room. Many restaurants use swinging doors that open easily but still provide separation between the two rooms. You could also add soundproofing panels to the kitchen doors to mask the noises further.

7. Implement Other Soundproofing Elements

You can also add other soundproofing elements and accessories to manage sound in a noisy restaurant. These additions help absorb or deflect sound, which could lower the noise overall.

These are some examples of additional soundproofing materials:

  • Fabric panels: Similar to fabric hangings for your ceiling, you can also add soundproofed panels to your walls. To give them a visually appealing presence, wrap them in a fabric of your choosing. These panels could hang all around your restaurant and take in sound waves, reducing noise.
  • Noise-absorbing partitions: You could also consider buying noise-absorbing dividers and placing them in areas with high noise levels. These partitions can absorb sound and provide a separation between eating areas and high-volume places. For example, placing a partition beside the soda machine would reduce some of the noise.

These acoustic solutions help reduce noise naturally without any extra work.

8. Make Your Furniture Less Noisy

Furniture also creates excess noise in restaurants. Tables and chairs scrape or thud on the floor, adding to noise levels. After extensive use, they can also squeak as customers sit. If your restaurant features free-standing seating, such as bar stools, these also create excess noise when customers push them in and out of position. These sounds are usually unpleasant and could detract from a dining experience if they happen too often.

Luckily, there are a variety of options available to quiet your furniture, such as:

  • Adding rubber pads: Add rubber caps or other protective pads on the bottoms of chair legs. These pads will keep your chairs from scraping as they make contact with the ground. Instead, they’ll move soundlessly or make a noise you can’t hear over other restaurant sounds. At the same time, they prevent chairs from scratching your floors.
  • Trying other styles: Experiment with new seating styles that make less noise. For instance, booths are comfortable seating options typically attached to one place. They don’t move around as customers slide into them, making them a quieter option for your restaurant.

9. Hire an Acoustics Consultant

Lastly, you could hire an acoustics consultant to help you find the best solution for your restaurant noise. These consultants offer industry expertise on the best ways to manage noise levels and reduce noise in your restaurant. They can also help you install acoustic systems or other devices that optimize the sounds in your restaurant.

To get the best results, acoustic consultants usually perform an inspection of your restaurant location and sound environment. During the inspection, they identify the areas that cause the most noise or echoes and recommend specific solutions that would best help your location. For instance, if they notice a high ceiling creates more sound issues, the consultant could work with you to add soundproofing materials to the ceiling or install an acoustic system.

If other strategies don’t seem to help, hiring a consultant is a great way to get direct advice from an experienced professional in the field.

Improve Your Business Ambiance With Illuminated Integration

Improve Your Business Ambiance With Illuminated Integration

Sound levels contribute so much to an overall restaurant experience. Bothersome or overwhelming noises can ruin a customer’s meal and might even cause them not to return. Restaurant staff must also hear clearly to record orders correctly and speak with other workers. A clear sound environment is crucial for the functioning of the entire restaurant.

At Illuminated Integration, we understand the necessity of sound management. We offer a variety of acoustic services that can help you manage your restaurant sounds. Our experienced designers provide extensive consultations, allowing your restaurant to find the optimal sound solutions.

To get started with Illuminated Integration, contact us to schedule a consultation today.

Previous Article7 Tips to Improve Student Learning  Next ArticleHow to Improve Your Community's Theater
An Empty Bar With A Stage And Green Neon Lights.
A Teal Lighting Icon.

Tell us about your project

Contact Us Today!