The Custom Channels Blog

Turn It Up or Turn It Down – Doing the Volume Twist

Posted by John on July 7th, 2015

CLIENT QUESTION: We got a complaint about the music being too loud in a store and a franchisee is asking what the standard decibel (volume level) should be. Would you guys have any suggestions on that front?

CUSTOM CHANNELS: That’s an interesting question — and a first for us.

Honestly, there are too many variables at play to come up with a useful standard answer to this. And a big part of the answer is personal preference. There is no standard decibel level which is right in all cases.

stereo volume control maxIt’s true in most stores (of all kinds) the music is often either too loud or too soft at any given time, and particular location within the business, depending on how busy the restaurant/store is. More people equals more talking equals the need to turn up the music. Same is true with a party at home. Plus, volume is effected by where the customer is standing or sitting relative to a speaker.

Occasionally, some customers are just more sensitive to what’s “loud” than others. So, even if you have the volume at what you believe is the “right level” for the space and the time of day, it’s still possible to get a complaint from an individual who just thinks the music is too loud. Sometimes “too loud” really means “I don’t like this music”.

Our recommendation is to manually adjust the volume in the dining room (or store floor) throughout the day depending on how busy and loud the dining room is. It’s one of the many “to do” items a manager should include on their list. As a manger walks the space they should be cognoscente of music volume and make any necessary adjustments.

The easiest way to adjust volume is to have a volume control available at the point-of-purchase (or within earshot of the dining area for restaurants). That way, if it feels too loud after the lunch or dinner crowd has cleared out, it can easily be turned down a bit. Adjusting volume is more difficult, and hence adjusted less often, when the controls are in the back room office or in an out-of-the-way storage closest.

We think many businesses can play the music higher so it’s more foreground IF music is part of the branding and the vibe. As the crowd ebbs and flows and the noise level changes throughout the work day, be prepared to manually adjust the music volume accordingly.

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