Boost Your Restaurant’s Table Turnover Rate and Revenue with Music
It’s no secret that the restaurant business is one of the most competitive ventures to launch and operate. One inexpensive and fundamental aspect of the customer experience you might not be fully leveraging to your advantage is the selection of music you play. In fact, your business playlists are just as important as your restaurant design and an integral part of your overall aesthetic.
Posted on June 7, 2023
How does music affect restaurant revenue?
Music has been scientifically proven as a reliable way for restaurants to enhance the dining experience and improve table turnover rates. Restaurant table turnover rate is the industry measure for the amount of time different parties occupy a table over a specific period of time. Before we delve into the science behind how the right music can improve the guest experience, increase customer satisfaction, and bring your restaurant more cash, let’s review why table turnover rates are a crucial metric for owners and managers interested in maintaining their restaurant’s profitability.
How can table turnover rates make or break your restaurant?
Thin margins and local competition are not the only challenges that face the restaurant industry. Something as fundamental as the number of tables that customers occupy each night can make or break your restaurant over the long term.
Having a packed restaurant seems like a win for owners and managers, but the longer patrons stay seated at your tables, during peak hours, the longer your incoming guests will need to wait. Think of it from a customer’s perspective. After a long day at work, would you settle for a 15, 30 or 45-minute wait time for a table if your family was hungry? Probably not, even if you loved the food.
And rather than wait an extended amount of time, hungry customers will often choose to visit other restaurant options in the area.
Music can help ease the wait and set the tone during your busiest times. Think of the impact of music from your staff’s perspective, too. From your kitchen staff alleviating bottlenecks and improving back of house service time to your wait staff working to streamline operations front of house, everyone on your restaurant management team can work happier with the right music that fits your brand playing in the background. In the restaurant business, happy employees create happy customers, which can improve your bottom line.
Because the restaurant industry centers on the guest experience and sometimes unpredictable walk-in traffic, there isn’t a singular solution to increase table turnover. Turning a few customers away not only impacts your revenue, but your reputation and the long term impression it may leave.
Music alone isn’t capable of getting patrons up and out of their seats faster, but it is something that’s proven to be a subliminal way to improve your average table turnover rate. By working in tandem with other solutions like finding ways to make your waitstaff and management more attentive and your kitchen better equipped to handle the stress of increased demands, the right kind of music might be just the thing you need to change the game. The keyword here is the “right” music. Playing just any music or even popular playlists won’t have the same effect on the customer experience and flow. Why? Because brand fit music is proven to boost sales more than any other type of music.
What is brand fit music and how does it boost sales?
You already know a great menu and exceptional service are two fundamental aspects to your restaurant’s success. However, research shows that the atmosphere in your restaurant has a great impact on sales and the overall customer satisfaction of your target audience. With so many options and food selections available, guests gravitate towards restaurants that feel more comfortable, memorable, and inviting. One way to tap into that feeling is through the power of music.
Brand fit music is music that strongly matches a restaurant’s concept and personality. Logic might suggest focusing on popular music playlists, but studies show that it’s most important to consider the type of food and beverages you serve, concept, target demographic, and brand positioning in order to choose the right music and playlists in your effort to boost sales. One study found that brand fit music can increase sales by 9.1%. Interestingly, the right music for your brand can pack the most powerful punch on the sale of desserts (+15.6%), shakes and smoothies (+15%), and side dishes (+11%).
How do you find the right music for your brand?
Think about your target audience. From businessmen looking for the finest bottle of wine to twenty-somethings refueling with a quick snack in the middle of their bar crawl, the core characteristics of your guests guide your decision between classical music, hip hop, singer-songwriters, and more. Give your guests the music that may best appeal to the experience you're delivering, make them feel comfortable in your space, and invite them to linger long enough to order another side dish or drink - when time permits.
What science tells us about music and chew rate.
Studies also show that music tempo may impact how fast or slow we eat. The team behind a study in Denmark tasked more than 200 volunteers to eat five pieces of chocolate with music of varying tempos playing in the background, including a control group with no music playing at all. Participants averaged 34 seconds eating the chocolates listening to faster tempos and 38 seconds listening to slower tempos—but that’s not all.
Participants also chewed for longer listening to compositions with musical notes connecting seamlessly into one another than when listening to songs with distinctly separate notes.
So, how do you increase table turnover rate?
Music can send a subconscious signal for your guests to eat faster with faster tempo music—and by including tracks with distinctly separate notes you help increase seat turnover rate.
Music can do powerful things for your restaurant, but it can’t fix everything.
Playing uptempo music during busy times is a good start towards improving your table turnover rate, but it won’t make a big difference if the other more integral parts of your restaurant aren’t working the way they should. For example, making sure your wait staff greets recently sat tables in under sixty seconds is critical for maintaining a fast table turnover rate on a busy night. The same goes for making sure food makes its way to tables as soon as possible. But if these aspects of your restaurant are already relatively strong, more thought and direction about the sort of music you play at busy times could make a meaningful difference over time.
Tips for making sure the music your restaurant plays is legal and impactful.
Where’s a good place to start if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to play the right kind of music and boost table turnover rates? Music streaming services like Soundtrack Your Brand provide custom features and playlists specially curated for busy restaurant spaces. Soundtrack takes the time and guesswork out of creating playlists by delivering a range of music selections designed to fit various busy restaurant settings from fine dining establishments to family-friendly diners.
Given time, figuring out how to schedule the right music and playlists to match the traffic flow and atmosphere is key. The restaurant business is complicated enough, so alleviating the risk of using a service that’s not properly licensed for business use is important.
The music your restaurant plays might not seem to deliver a large impact toward improving your operational efficiency, but it could be an important missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to figuring out a way to increase turnover time during busy hours. Playing faster songs during busy times can also improve the workflow of your kitchen and waitstaff, which is music to your ears when it comes to finding strategic advantages for your restaurant.
Again, music combined with the right tools such as leveraging a great online reservation, contactless payment, and POS systems can help your staff spend less time juggling the number of parties and waitlists, which given time can help busy restaurateurs achieve high table turnover rate, while booking more efficiently during busy hours and high traffic days. Establish kind but realistic policies related to incomplete parties during peak hours to help improve table turns and increase the number of customers served.
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