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Noisy Restaurant a Nuisance?

Everywhere I am reading more and more about people complaining about the noise of a restaurant rather than their food, service, and look of a restaurant. How are the 3 major factors that used to be the only reasons people would go out to eat now playing second fiddle to noise? I can easily tell you why.

“Well, where is your credibility in this situation, oh master of sound?”

That’s what you’re thinking. In those exact words even, I’m sure.

Little known fact about me, because you barely know me outside of the herd: I worked in the restaurant industry for 10 years before stepping over to the acoustics industry. From lowly busboy to a bartender and everything in between, I worked my cowtail off in restaurants for a good while. I can tell you how loud a bar can get at a 5 o’clock happy hour in down town Pittsburgh, and also how Frank Sinatra playing too loud can get you verbally ripped to shreds by a once pleasant 80-year old woman when she is trying to have Eggs Benedict at brunch. It wasn’t always bad though, but extra noise in a restaurant has been a pressing issue for a lot longer than the last couple of years.

So what’s with all the recent hubbub about noisy restaurants? Simple: restaurants aren’t as inviting, offering little to no homey accents as they once did. Plush carpets, gone. Big comfy booths, gone. Spaces designated for relaxation, gone.

Restaurateurs are smart. They started realizing that people were getting comfortable, which meant they would stay longer, which equated they wouldn’t get as many tables turned and they were losing money. Soon carpet was replaced with a hardwood or tile floor, booths were gone and in its place were three small tables for couples, not groups, and the music was now a faster pace of music. Fast music makes for faster eaters, go figure.


I actually love when restaurants are noisy on most occasions, I see it as a sign of the restaurant doing well. If I am trying to have a nice meal with my wife on our anniversary though, there are going to be limitations to where we can go to have a private meal and conversation.

There are ways that the sound can be reduced; acoustic paneling; putting absorbent material under tables and other hard surfaces; heck, even turning the music down. I’ll get into some of these solutions at another time, but just know that a lot of restaurants are looking to take care of these problems, I know this because restaurants are calling in to ask us, The Herd, what can be done. So have no fear, your favorite restaurant is well on its way to getting things a little bit quieter for you so you can focus on back on the major factor: Food!

Tell them you heard it from the herd. 

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