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5 Ways Restaurants Use Music to Influence You

5 Ways Restaurants Use Music to Influence You

For restaurants, music is an essential part of putting together a complete experience. Together with décor and lighting, background music plays an important role in influencing how much you spend and how you behave in restaurants.

The psychological influence music has over us as humans, is the very reason restaurants pay for a music license to play the right songs in their establishment. Here are some ways restaurants use music to influence you and how much you spend on your meal.

1. They play fast paced music

Many restaurants want you to come in and make a decision quickly without thinking too much about the price. Additionally, restaurants want you in and out quickly because it helps them get new customers seated faster without the need for more tables.

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Fast paced music helps them accomplish this because the tempo increases your heart rate and breathing rate, which causes you to do other things faster as well – meaning you’ll finish that meal and be out the door sooner rather than later.

 2. They turn it up

One of the most common complaints people have about restaurants is that the music is too loud. You go out to eat not only for the food but because it’s a social experience. You want to experience the atmosphere of a place other than your home with your friends or family.

Unfortunately, many restaurants don’t take this into consideration when it comes to the music. They turn up the volume for the same reason they play fast-paced music – because it gets customers moving faster.

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Many customers will leave and never come back if the volume is too loud. Smarter restaurants have come to understand this and adjust the volume to more comfortable levels to allow their customers to socialize and enjoy their meal.

3. They play classical music to increase alcohol sales

If a restaurant is on the more expensive end, classical music can influence your decisions when it comes to how much you’re willing to spend.

It turns out that classical music when combined with a classy atmosphere, can actually cause you to perceive high prices as less expensive. Because of this, restaurants that have a range of alcohol selections tend to play classical music so that you’re more likely to opt for a more expensive bottle of wine.

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4. They play “happy” music

Restaurants are smart enough to realize that customers are likely to spend more money when they’re in a good mood. Music is an extremely powerful way to influence emotions.

Sad songs can make us tear up, and happy songs make us want to dance. Because of this, restaurants typically avoid minor key songs that reinforce a sad or dismal mood and opt for major key songs that are likely to have a positive influence on your mood.

5. Smart restaurants use music to compliment the atmosphere

The most important part of music when it comes to restaurants is that it reinforces the other elements of a restaurant to form an immersive experience.

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Companies like Starbucks and Chipotle understand this. They have internal teams or individuals working daily to select the best songs to compliment the atmosphere they’re trying to provide to their customers. If customers have an awesome first experience, they’re likely to come back and spend more money in the business.

Conclusion:

While the music has the potential to point you in a certain direction, it can’t control you. You’re still making the decisions for yourself. The restaurants are simply doing their best to point you toward the behaviors and purchasing decisions that benefit them the most, which isn’t a bad thing if you’re ultimately happy with the decisions you’ve made and you enjoyed the restaurant itself.

Featured photo credit: pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Nicholas Rubright

Entrepreneur

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Published on October 5, 2020

What Are Creative Problem Solving Skills (And How To Improve Yours)

What Are Creative Problem Solving Skills (And How To Improve Yours)

I think we’re all familiar with that feeling of needing to solve a problem, trying way too hard, getting frustrated, and then throwing our hands up in defeat. For example, when my editor assigned me this topic, the structure and concept of the piece weren’t instantly clear to me. I had to problem-solve to figure out how to even begin. But problem-solving isn’t quite so linear. It’s not just a matter of brute force. You can’t just muscle your way through. This is where creative problem solving comes in.

Creative problem solving is about using what we know about how the brain works to come up with outside-the-box solutions to creative problems. Sure, we can do things the same way we’ve always done them. Or we can try creative problem solving, which means we spend time ideating (a.k.a. brainstorming), collaborating, ruminating, and refining to land on better and more novel solutions than we could have if we tried to force or rush a solution.

Stages of Creative Problem Solving

There’s no right or wrong way to try creative problem solving, but there are some stages that can help you integrate it into your creative process. Here are the 4 stages of creative problem solving

1. Ideating/Brainstorming

If we’re using creative problem solving, we’re not just going with the first idea that pops into our heads. Brainstorming is crucial to come up with more novel solutions.

One of the most important things to keep in mind during brainstorming is that this is not the time to evaluate or judge ideas. The goal of ideating is to come up with as many ideas as possible.

There’s an improvisation rule called “Yes, And” or the rule of agreement that can help you get the most out of your brainstorming sessions.[1] The idea is simple. If you’re brainstorming in a group and someone tells you an idea, you need to go along with that idea. That’s the “Yes” part of “Yes, And.” Then, you can take it a step further by trying to add to that person’s idea.

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Let’s say you and your team are trying to figure out how to rebrand your shoe company. Your colleague says you could use a mascot. If you’re using improv’s “Yes, And” rule, you might agree and say that the mascot could be a shoe or a sock or a lonely sock looking for a shoe.

During the ideation stage, no one should be worried about which ideas are good and which are bad. Everyone is trying to come up with as many ideas as possible, and everyone should be trying to make the most of everyone else’s ideas.

“Yes, And” can also work if you’re creative problem solving alone. Instead of discarding ideas, you should be saying yes to your ideas, writing them all down, and trying to make all of them as workable as possible. But before you get too far in your creative process, it’s important to run your ideas by someone else.

2. Collaboration

I know sometimes you don’t want to share your ideas with other people. Maybe you’re self-conscious or you just don’t think that your idea is ready for prime time. However, it’s important to step out of your comfort zone and let other people join your creative process if you want to reach the best possible creative solution.

When we’re working in a team, it’s important to not judge each other’s ideas until we’re safely in the final stage of the creative problem-solving process. That means no critiques, no evaluations, and no snarky comments. Not yet, at least.

The reason to hold off on evaluating ideas at this stage is that some people tend to shut down if their ideas are judged too early. There’s a concept called creative suppression that occurs when people stop a creative pursuit temporarily due to feeling judged, shamed, or embarrassed.[2] Even worse, creative mortification is when judgment, shame, or embarrassment makes you quit your creative pursuit altogether.

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When you’re collaborating with others while creative problem solving, you don’t want to shut anyone down. The more people who are actively engaged in the creative process the better.

In improv, there’s something called “group mind.” The basic idea is that a group can come up with a better solution than any single individual. It makes sense since each person in the group enters the creative process with their own strengths, knowledge, background, experience, and ideas. That means that when the group is working harmoniously, the best contributions of each individual will be reflected in the team’s solution, making that solution far better than what any individual could have come up on their own.

So, find someone you trust and lay the ground rules for your collaboration. Tell each other that you won’t be judging each other’s work just yet to bring out the best and make it as creative and effective as possible.

3. Pause

It can seem counterintuitive to pause during the creative process. But to tap into the creative unconscious parts of your brain, you need to stop forcing it and let your mind wander.

The part of your brain that you’re using to understand this article right now is not necessarily the part that’s going to come up with the most novel solution to your problem. To start using your creative unconscious brain, you need to take a break.

Have you ever had that experience of struggling with a problem and then effortlessly figuring it out while you were showering or walking the dog? That’s your unconscious brain doing the heavy lifting.

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This part of the brain can’t be forced into creative problem solving, so stop consciously obsessing about your problem for a while. Take a walk. Go for a drive. Let your mind wander. Dream. This gives your unconscious mind a chance to sort information and come up with some truly novel solutions.

The bonus to letting your unconscious take over is that it’s effortless. Conscious thought requires you to burn lots of energy, while unconscious doesn’t. So, stop trying so hard and let ideas come to you.

4. Refine

At some point, you’re going to have to start evaluating, eliminating, and refining your ideas to get to the best solution. But if you’ve brainstormed, collaborated, and ruminated enough, you should have plenty of material to work with.

An Example of Creative Problem Solving

I think it’s helpful to walk through an example of creative problem-solving in action. Let’s go back to the example of me writing this article.

First, I was presented with the problem, so I started brainstorming and “Yes, And”-ing myself. I thought about everything I already know about creative problem solving and did some preliminary research, but I still didn’t have a structure or theme to tie my ideas together.

Once the problem was marinating in my mind, I started talking to people. I talked to an old friend about my initial ideas about the article, but I still didn’t have any words on the page just yet.

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Then, one morning, the article seemed to come fully formed while I was showering. I could see which examples would work best and how to structure the article. So, I sat down to write and refine the ideas. During the refining stage, I swung back to the collaboration stage when my editor further refined and improved my ideas.

It’s important to remember that these four stages of creative problem solving aren’t linear. They’re circular. After I refine an idea, I can go back to brainstorming, collaborating, and pausing as needed to develop and improve that idea.

Bottom Line

Creative problem solving is, first and foremost, creative. You have to give yourself time and space to be able to reflect and ruminate. It’s also important to collaborate as necessary to improve your ideas with the help of other people.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you can’t force creative problem-solving. Forcing it only leads to frustration and failure, so give yourself some time and a team you trust to come up with the best possible solution to your problem.

More About Creative Problem Solving

Featured photo credit: Per Lööv via unsplash.com

Reference

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