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Ever Visit A Restaurant And The Music Doesn’t Match The Mood? Me too!

Posted by John on August 23rd, 2011


Well, it happened again.  I was in a restaurant that was playing totally mismatched music.  Last time, it was an Italian restaurant playing a local FM radio station.  In that case, it wasn’t solely that the music was so bad (but it wasn’t very good); it was the announcer talk and obnoxious commercials that detracted greatly from the dining experience.

This time it was the music that conflicted with the brand image that the restaurant was trying to project.

Picture an Asian restaurant. Not the stereotypical strip mall Chinese restaurant with white box carry-out. This is a slightly upscale, trying hard to be trendy, visually appealing atmosphere, Asian (some Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese) bistro and sushi bar with about 28 tables and full bar service in a trendy, popular part of the city.

This was some of what I heard:
Eagles – “Hotel California”
Fleetwood Mac – “You Make Loving Fun”
Modest Mouse – “Dashboard”
C+C Music Factory – “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)
Spinners – “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love”

This is a good example of how a music mix didn’t mix with, and in fact detracted from, the atmosphere and environment of this Asian bistro and sushi bar.  I didn’t expect “Chinese music”.  I did expect a hipper, more trendier, more contemporary music mix than I heard.  Maybe some Thievery Corporation, Zero 7, David Byrne, Tape Five or Chris Botti.  Even Jack Johnson would be better than “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)”.

It was prime dining time on a Friday night with some empty tables so this bistro/sushi bar could use a little more word-of-mouth buzz…maybe better music as part of the upgrade to make it “a dining experience.”  By the way, the food and service were both good.

If you’re a restaurant owner, take a listen.  Reflect for a moment on what your customers are hearing in your restaurant.  If it’s time to evaluate your in-store music, please talk to us at Custom Channels about fresh ideas and new ways to get better music to match the mood, style and theme of your restaurant.  Some of our clients include Lucille’s Creole Cafe in Boulder, Pita Jungle in Arizona, Cava Mezze in the D.C. area and MOD Pizza in Seattle.

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