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Radio Talk and Ads Interrupt Restaurant Experience

Posted by John on March 27th, 2010

I was eating at an Italian restaurant recently and got to experience local FM radio as the soundtrack to dinner.  It wasn’t an enjoyable experience and really detracted from the atmosphere.  It was the local AC station playing Delilah at Night.  It wasn’t that the music was so bad.  Most of the mellow AC tunes were palatable and didn’t completely detract from the mood, if you don’t mind hearing Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ and Janet Janet Jackson’s Let’s Wait Awhile while you’re deciding on fettucini and chianti.  It was the talk and commercials that really bugged our dinner group.

At one point it was about 8 minutes between songs as Delilah talked, many commercials played, and Delilah aired a phone call with a lonely person.  The radio wasn’t low and in the background.  I heard most every word of the sad-yet-inspirational phone conversation along with details of Macy’s 10 to 15 percent off sale, Just Brakes special, the excited Netflix offer, an overly enthusiastic car dealer urging me to “get in here today” and even a commercial for anotther restaurant…iHop. The worst ad was for sink stain remover.  Ugh.  Pass the garlic bread, please.

This restaurant is not fast food or even fast casual – this is a nice restaurant charging from teens to well over $20 per entree. They have a good visual atmosphere inside, well-themed, covered with Italian sports posters of soccer stars and logos.  It’s not a stand-alone place – they operate three Italian restaurants under the same name in town. The waitstaff is professional and well dressed, and the wine list is large and not cheap.  So why cheapen the dining experience by playing a local radio station?

There are so many better options for in-store, in-restaurant, background music without talk and commercials than local FM radio. Local radio has its place and shines in many times and places, but not as the soundtrack to a restaurant.  Good food, good service, poor music.

If you’re restaurant owner using FM radio as your soundtrack, please talk to us at Custom Channels about new ways to get better, uninterrupted music to match the mood and theme of your restaurant.  Some of our clients include Lucille’s Creole Cafe in Boulder, Pita Jungle in Arizona and Roti Mediterranean Grill in Chicago.

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