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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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