Restaurant Background Music Tips - How To Set The Mood For Customers

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Music evokes emotions, and emotion is the most vital component of the customer experience. Restaurant background music has the power to excite us or repel us and can be instrumental in setting the mood for a day or night.

In the worst case scenario, when you don't have any control over the music playing, and it's something you dislike, it can be very irritating. Some restaurateurs will even say, that the best compliment to your music is that people don't remember it, alluding to the fact that guests will generally only complain if the music is bad.

Tips For The Best Restaurant Background Music

(Updated for relevance 2016)

From hard rock, to indie-pop, to slow jams, and hip-hop, there are many different types of music out there, but most restaurant background music services offer a very limited catalog with little to no customization. Luckily, emerging technologies are allowing new companies like Rockbot to offer restaurants larger music libraries and mobile apps for easy customization and control. Today's solutions should be equipped to handle multiple locations and be a breeze to set up, unlike the archaic systems of the past. 

Whether you decide you want the help of a licensed service, like Rockbot, or have the time to handle on your own, here are some tips on implementing background music during different times of the day.

A Soundtrack For Each Part Of The Day

Daytime: It depends on the style of your restaurant, but during the day, fun light tunes are usually best. People are often having lively conversations during lunch, so music should set to the atmosphere of the restaurant, without being overwhelming and interfering with conversation and meals.

restaurant music happy hour

  • Happy Hour: When people get off work, they’re usually socializing with co-workers over a few drinks and some snacks. Happy hour playlists can contribute to the atmosphere of the restaurant greatly. Trying out some lively instrumental tunes or new indie tunes for a hip and fun vibe. At this point, customers' energy is increasing, but it's not quite after-hours party.
  • Dinner: Depending on your restaurant, jazz or classic rock playlists are often great picks during dinnertime. You want music people can relate to, but that doesn’t take over the environment. But most importantly, music should always cater to the image and customer demographic of the restaurant.
  • Late Night: For late night happy hours or dining, you can usually liven up the scene a bit by some louder, more upbeat songs. Take a hint from bars across the country and let your customers engage with your music from their smartphones (within your custom settings, of course).

A Soundtrack for Each Type of Environment

restaurant music tips

Just like planning the right music for the time of day is important, choosing music for your environment is also a necessity. Below is a list of typical restaurant environments and the type of music you should consider or not consider playing for those times. Of course, many restaurants will mix and match these as the environment changes from day to night, the important thing is that you are aware of this change.

  • Family Friendly: Make sure explicit lyrics are off on all your music and be sure the provider you're using understands what that means to your business. Sometimes explicit lyrics can mean more than just words that are considered swears, but also lyrics that refer to situations or actions that aren't suitable for all ages. 
  • Fine Dining: Here, the emphasis is always going to be on the quality of food or service and music's role will be to enhance, not take away from this. Typical fine dining music tends to reside at a lower energy level, encouraging diners to take their time and enjoy things slowly and relaxed. 
  • Bar and Grill: A bar and grill is a unique scenario in that the bar area could be drastically different the dining area. In the case that your bar area is separated from your dining area, you might want 2 different streams for your restaurant so you can distinctly define your vibe. 
  • Lounge: An evening spot with a fun but relaxed vibe needs music to match. In this case, music will be helping to define the space so taking careful time to consider a specific genre or vibe of music will go a long way. 

restaurant music app

Restaurant Background Music For Your Smartphone Customers

Restaurants are influenced by much more than just the food and drinks. It’s about the entire experience. New mobile-savvy companies provide music services that allow customers to influence the vibe (with your permission) and empower managers to control the vibe via mobile. It's time to meet your customers where they are interracting with most, their mobile phones.

Rockbot - Restaurant Music That Engages Customers

Rockbot provides customized music for businesses that engages customers directly with a social and mobile jukebox app while letting managers easily control their vibe with a business music app. For more information, visit Want to learn more? Click below to fill out your information and speak with one of our music specialists!

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 Let us know what restaurant background music tips you have for other industry professionals -- post your advice or suggestions in the comments!