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How Music and Noise Affect Restaurant Sales and Customer Experience

Too Loud
Does the type of music that your restaurant plays cause customers to drink more? Or does classical get them to spend more than top 40? Which music turns over tables fastest? While music and behaviour at restaurants hasn’t fully been explored, this blog article will give you the quick lowdown of some scientific studies on how music is affecting your customers. Some of the findings are contradictory.

Does the level of sound affect the way your customers taste food?

Back in 2010, a team of researchers from Unilever decided to test this out. They blindfolded 48 people and gave them food to try out in two different sound scenarios. Scenario one involved silence, while scenario two involved putting on headphones with noise being played. They found that when people had headphones on with white noise in the background, people found their food was less sweet and less salty than when they ate the food in silence.

It’s speculated that because airplanes have so much white noise in the background that that’s the reason people feel airplane food is generally bland.

What if it’s a sound that the person likes? Does the food tastes better?

While there has not been a study that has made this conclusion, the same researchers above have noted that it seemed people enjoyed their meal more when they were able to listen to sounds they thought were more pleasant.

Which causes people to spend more time at a restaurant, slow or fast music?

Clare Caldwell and Sally Hibert, from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow did a study in an Italian restaurant in an affluent neighborhood. They decided to test out how fast music (music that was 94 beat/minute or faster) and slow music (72 beats/minutes or less) affected how long people stayed at the restaurant.

They found that slow music caused diners to stay longer at the restaurant by 13.56 minutes.

Which is why you’ll see that many fast food places play pop music to try to get you to get out as soon as possible. While other locations like Starbucks will generally play slower music to keep you at the store to make it your “third” home.

Do customers spend more during slow music or fast music?

According to the researchers from above ,it was found that people who listened to slow tempo music spent 18.14 pounds on food, and 9.12 on drinks. While those that listened to the fast tempo music ended up spending 16.14 pounds on food and 6.04 pounds on drink.

A study in 1986 by R.E. Millman found that his fast versus slow music group spent about equal amount of money on food. However the study did find that people in the slow music group spent 40% more on alcohol than their fast music counterparts.

Does the type of music being played affect how much is being spent?

Stephanie Wilson from the University of New South Wales in Australia set out to answer this question. She did a study at a popular restaurant in Sydney called Out of Africa. There were some interesting findings. She found that people didn’t stay at the restaurant after 11pm when classical music was being played.

But here was a break down of how much people spent at the restaurant depending on the music.

No music, average spend was $17.12
Easy Listening = $19.67
Classical = $20.20
Pop = $21.01
Jazz = $21.82

Another interesting observation that came out was that higher income earners had no significant correlation with higher spending.

The difference between this study and the other ones I’ve researched is that this one did factor in age. The clear majority of subjects in this study ranged from the ages of 20-39.
The approximate age that many restaurants aim for as their age demographic.

Does loud music and noise annoy customers?

In 2011, Zagat reported that it was the number two complaint that people had about restaurants. Service was number one. Yes many customers find loud music and loud noise very annoying, so why does it seem some of the most popular restaurants do it?

In my personal opinion, I think it’s a way to divide generations of eaters and attract specific demographics. Since older people don’t want to dine in fast paced and loud noise restaurants, they generally stay away from those places, instead vying to go to restaurants that play classical music.

While loud pop music is seen as vibrant and energetic. This type of music environment which is closely associated with the night club environment tends to attract a younger crowed. After all how many older people do you see in nightclubs in North America? This will give you some idea why some stay away from night clubbish type restaurants.

Last Thoughts:

Noise levels are becoming a big issue, and are being included in more and more reviews of restaurants. Zagat has them, and even Open Table describes loud music as “energetic.” Music can definitely help increase how much a customer spends, and I personally would encourage you to try out which types of music bring in the most amount of money. It’s all about testing what works and what doesn’t.

If you feel like you don’t have the extra time, just remember that once you get the right music, each customer is probably going to be spending about $2 more on each order. If you’re serving about 100 people a day, then that’s an extra $200. Which amounts to an extra $6000 a month. Which is an extra $72,000 a year. Not bad for making sure you have the right music choice. You can probably see why Starbucks takes their music so seriously now.

Feel free to contact us if you’re interested in finding more ways to increase your restaurant’s revenue.

Help with Yelp
Yelp Banned this Marketing Book from Amazon

Tired of good 4 and 5 star reviews being taken down by Yelp? We know businesses are frustrated at Yelp, and we’ve found out some of the secrets that Yelp has that they don’t want business owners to know. That’s why they banned the book. Inside MCNG Marketing’s book it covers:

1) How to keep genuine reviews from your friends and family to stay on Yelp and not get “flagged.”

2) How Yelp ranks which reviews to show first and how long they stay up for, and how you can use this to your businesses advantage. (I don’t know anybody else that has studied Yelp Engine Optimization)

3) How to deal with aggressive and poor reviews to gain customer loyalty and much more.

MCNG has worked with a business that has over 140,000 visitors a year with their Yelp reputation and business and this book can do the same for your restaurant.

The book is priced at $4.99, which is less than a price of appetizer at your restaurant, but can save and earn you thousands off dollars a year.Let’s be honest, Yelp is here to stay.

If you’re not satisfied with your purchase you can get back 100% money back within 30 days of purchase. Payments are secure as we process via credit card through Paypal. Purchase now.

Buy Now

What’s Your Restaurant’s Brand Promise?

Bad Restaurant Service

Is there a mismatch with your delivery of food and service with your restaurant's brand promise?

A Restaurant’s Brand Promise Matters to your Customers

Let’s start off by defining what a brand promise is.

What is a Brand Promise?

A brand promise is the statement that you make to your customers that identifies what they should expect from all interactions with your people, food, services, and restaurant.

Starbucks’ Brand Promise:

Starbucks has a great brand promise in practice. Starbucks’ brand promise is simple. It’s about delivering the best coffee, providing friendly service, and to make customers feel that they’re in their “third place.” A place that is not their home, nor their work, but a place they can rest and relax from the hustle and bustle.

Why is it Important that a Restaurant Have a Brand Promise?

Brand promises are essential because they allow for your customers to know what your restaurant standards are, and what they can expect when they come into your restaurant. When the brand promise is matched up with the actual food and service, then this will increase your restaurant’s sales dramatically.

Let’s look at an example of a brand promise for a fictional restaurant.

“Our servers are always happy to help you with a smile.”

Now imagine that a customer, let’s call her Emily, has seen this on the restaurant’s website. She decides to come in to the restaurant because she found the brand promise appealing and to her liking. She drives half way across town to visit your restaurant.

She sits down and orders her food. She shortly receives her food, and is loving the food, but then midway through she decides she would like a cocktail. She waves a server down, and requests for a cocktail.

The server then responds, “I’m sorry, I can’t help you, I’m not your designated server.” Worse, the server says the statement in a rushed tone, and with a grumpy face.

Emily thinks, “Wow, it seems like servers here aren’t always happy to serve me, and they sure don’t smile.”

This is when a brand promise created by a restaurant no longer holds true, and word of mouth goes around that your restaurant doesn’t deliver what it promises. However, imagine that Emily is attended by servers who are happy and smiling whenever she has a request.

This is going to help validate that the restaurant does deliver on its brand promise and isn’t just using it as some marketing gimmick. Emily is going to be very happy in telling her friends to come to the restaurant.

Your Staff Need to Know the Brand Promise Inside Out

A brand promise is also important in allowing your staff to know what the priority is when delivering a type of brand personality or image to the customer. In the above example, the brand promise was, “Our servers are always happy to help you with a smile.”

When the staff read this, they understand that the food is important, but the brand promise is about delivering great service with a positive attitude, and with a smile. This means that when a customer is looking to have their water filled, they don’t tell him that it is some other server’s duty. The server with a positive attitude and smile will say, “I will be back with your water very shortly.”

Or when a customer is asking for the washroom, it’s having your server pause, smile and point them to the washroom and give him an accurate description of how to find it, whether he has a dish in his hands or not.

A brand promise also works as a guidance system on how your team should behave, or how the food is presented and cooked. Without a solid brand promise, a restaurant’s staff may be misguided into believing that their priorities are cleanliness, or it’s about producing the quickest food. Having a brand promise clarifies and unites staff under similar values and similar courses of action.

Brand Promises Matter to Your Customers

A brand promise matters because it allows your customers to confidently and consistently know what to expect from your restaurant. It also differentiates yourself from the rest of your competitors. Customers are looking for consistent quality and a consistency of delivering the brand promise you have set.

This is why there was a period of time when Starbucks shut down so many stores. They were growing too fast and aggressively that many customers were no longer getting the personalized service they had been accustomed to. And therefore many of the stores shut down, because the brand promise was not being delivered.

There’s a positive correlation between increased revenue and cafes that delivered Starbucks’s brand promise.

Ensure that your staff are buying into the brand promise, and truly believe in it. You need to ensure that whatever brand promise that you are creating for your restaurant, it’s one that is simple to understand by both your staff and your customers. If your restaurant finds it challenging to create a brand promise and can’t differentiate it from other competitors, and you would like to find a way to create the perfect brand promise, then feel free to contact us.

Help with Yelp
Yelp Banned this Marketing Book from Amazon

Tired of good 4 and 5 star reviews being taken down by Yelp? We know businesses are frustrated at Yelp, and we’ve found out some of the secrets that Yelp has that they don’t want business owners to know. That’s why they banned the book. Inside MCNG Marketing’s book it covers:

1) How to keep genuine reviews from your friends and family to stay on Yelp and not get “flagged.”

2) How Yelp ranks which reviews to show first and how long they stay up for, and how you can use this to your businesses advantage. (I don’t know anybody else that has studied Yelp Engine Optimization)

3) How to deal with aggressive and poor reviews to gain customer loyalty and much more.

MCNG has worked with a business that has over 140,000 visitors a year with their Yelp reputation and business and this book can do the same for your restaurant.

The book is priced at $4.99, which is less than a price of appetizer at your restaurant, but can save and earn you thousands off dollars a year.Let’s be honest, Yelp is here to stay.

If you’re not satisfied with your purchase you can get back 100% money back within 30 days of purchase. Payments are secure as we process via credit card through Paypal. Purchase now.

Buy Now

How to Reduce Staff Turnover at Your Restaurant


High Staff Turnover is a Huge Expense



Empty Kitchen One of the biggest challenges restaurants face is the constant high turnover of staff.

This is a hidden expense that most restaurant owners don’t give much thought to because they feel that it is a natural part of the business. However, high turnover doesn’t have to be. Reducing staff turnover should always be part of a restaurant’s long term strategy.

Let me break down some of the costs. I know that at the 4 star hotel that I worked at, it costs on average $2000 to post a job, interview several people, hire that one person, and to train them to be competent at their job.

Imagine that 10 staff leave your restaurant per year. That would mean that your restaurant is spending an additional $20,000 a year on hiring and training new staff.

Now what if we reduced this turnover by half and only 5 staff left a year, them you would spend $10,000. Seems obvious right?

But most restaurant owners would rather spend $20,000, then to find a way to reduce staff turnover by spending $5,000 a year to reduce staff turnover by a half. This would be an expense of $15,000.

That $5,000 can now be used towards one month’s wage of a good manager at your restaurant.

What do you do to reduce turnover at your restaurant and potentially save yourself tens of thousands of dollars a year?

1) Care About Your Staff on a Personal Level.

It seems like simple advice, but I don’t meet a lot of managers that care about their staff on a personal level, and want them to be better people. Not just better servers. A good restaurant will always want the people they work with to be better people in general.

When I hired people at Starbucks, one of the first things I would ask, “If there was a skill you wanted to improve upon, what would it be?” Some of the answers varied between, “I want to be more assertive” or “I want to learn how the operations of a cafe work.” I listened, and would always do my best to do something small every month to move them forward towards their personal goals, knowing that they would probably leave in a few months.

My staff told me that it was these types of actions that made it hard for them to leave for another job even though they weren’t getting paid very well.

2)Thank Your Staff.

Please,thank your staff consistently if they are doing a good job. The number one reason that people leave their job is not because of stress, it’s because they are under appreciated for all the hard work that they do.

If you take the time to point out who the superstar servers were, or if you have an employee of the month program, or if you write personal thank you cards to your staff, they will stay a lot longer at your restaurant. Happy and appreciated staff stay loyal.

3) Reward Your Staff.

I know that you may not be able to give your staff raises all the time, and that you have to watch your budget, especially as food costs and minimum wages continue to soar, but it’s important that you reward your staff for the hard work that they do.

Have you heard of the Great Little Box Company? How can a company that makes boxes have such a great work culture? Let’s be honest. on the surface level making boxes isn’t as sexy as working in a restaurant or cafe, and yet this company is one of the top 100 employers in Canada. A big part of that is because they reward their staff for the hard work that they do.

The beauty of rewarding your staff is that you don’t need to spend money. One of the best things you can do is to barter with businesses around in your city. Talk to the HR people at hotels and see if you can do an exchange. Offer them gift certificates for their annual staff party in exchange for a complimentary one night stay at their hotel.

Talk to the spa down the block and see if they can do an exchange so that one of your staff can enjoy a day at the spa. But whatever it is you do, reward them for their great work ethic.

4) Get Them to Grow.

One of the main reasons why turnover is so high in the industry is because most staff stop learning at some point. They don’t grow, and soon this leads to boredom, which is why they end up seeking another environment to work in, and the cycle repeats.

Giving your team a feeling of accomplishment is extremely important. This means getting your team to set goals that are meaningful to the team, and ensuring that the results are measurable.

Make it fun for them as if it’s a game. I used to have morning versus evening crew challenges. One of the challenges was to see which shift was able to remember more names of customers in one month. The winners would get treated to dinner by me at Le Crocodile. At end of it, we were able to learn 110 new names of customers by the end of that month.

5) Hire Right the First Time Around.

One of my management rookie mistakes that I made when I was a first time manager was that I hired people that were “good enough” for the position. This was a poor attitude and it attracted staff that were just “good enough” but never outstanding. It’s always best to aim high and think how a person you are hiring will fit in with the restaurant culture as a whole in the upcoming months.

If they’re going to spend 8 hours a day there, they’re going to want to be with people who they can get along with and have a great work ethic. Always be patient when hiring someone, even if it means that your staff will need to work extra hard for one more week. It’s much better than having them suffer for 4 months before an incompetent employee leaves.

Those are five ways to help reduce staff turnover and costs. Every restaurant should ensure that reducing staff turnover, and retaining talent is a priority that should be addressed as soon as possible.

If you would like to know more about how you can reduce your staff turnover, please feel contact us MCNG Marketing.