Over the years we’ve used this blog to try and get the word out that acoustics can be very important when designing a restaurant and that the assistance of a qualified acoustical consultant during the design phase will save the proprietor both time and money while ensuring the ambience is top notch. So just how important is acoustics in a restaurant? I spent a little time looking around at recent restaurant reviews in Chicago and Detroit to see what I could find… do the critics notice?
In a restaurant summary of reviews from Phil Vettel, a critic for the Chicago Tribune and WGN, we find that he includes a rating for “noise” in every review. In this summary his rating system ranges from “hushed” to “conversation-challenged”. Depending on the type of restaurant you have, the rating may be appropriate. Hopefully none of the “conversation-challenged” restaurants are targeting patrons looking for a quiet evening get away from their everyday lives. You can find the reviews here: http://bit.ly/cL0flm.
In another review by Molly Abraham, a critic for The Detroit News, the restaurant is given a positive review right until the final paragraph when she says, “And despite the rush, things have gone pretty smoothly, with just one little problem: When the room is at capacity, as it was on the first Saturday night, the noise can be a concern.” To me, no matter how good the food is, I simply won’t go back if I can’t enjoy it along with conversation amongst my friends. You can find the full review here: http://bit.ly/97hKPJ.
I’m really not trying to pick on any of the restaurants here, and hopefully if there is an acoustical issue they’ve been able to resolve it. My goal is to just point out that your critics and guests do notice the acoustical environment, and it may be positively or negatively impacting your business. At Acoustics By Design, our goal is to be your independent representative and to help you to achieve the maximum potential and positive impact of acoustics in your establishment. What we’re finding out is that, for both food critics and restaurant patrons, acoustics is a big deal.