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15 Minute Read

A Symphony for the Senses: A Guide to Choosing the Best Restaurants Sound System

by Ryan Santangelo, Ph.D., Co-Founder & CEO, Dynamic Media

In the bustling world of restaurants, it’s not just the cuisine that appeals to your guests. To craft a truly memorable dining experience, attention to detail extends far beyond the plate. Lighting, décor, service and, of course, music all play a considerable role in shaping the ambiance of your establishment. You need the right music and restaurant sound system to set the scene.

Sound Systems For Restaurants

Restaurant music is more than just background noise; it is an essential, often overlooked, ingredient in your recipe for success. It creates the mood, impacts customer perceptions and influences behavior, from how long guests stay to how much they spend.

But not all music solutions are created equal. The quality of sound, ease of control and seamless integration into your restaurant’s operations can mean the difference between an excellent dining experience and a forgettable one.

This article will review how dedicated music players interact with sound systems for restaurants, providing critical considerations to help you make the best choice for your business.

How Music Psychology Affects Your Restaurant

Before we discuss the best sound system for your restaurant, let’s look at the crucial role music plays in your establishment. Music psychology subtly influences customers’ dining experiences in ways many may not consciously recognize. Research has shown that music tempo can affect the speed of customers’ eating habits. Uptempo music leads to faster table turnovers, while slower music encourages diners to relax and spend more time, potentially leading to higher food and drink sales.

Volume is another critical factor. Louder music might stimulate lively conversation and faster turnover. But it also can diminish customers’ ability to taste food, leading to a disappointing experience.

The genre of music is equally significant. A carefully selected playlist aligned with the restaurant’s brand can reinforce the establishment’s identity and enhance customer perception. For instance, classical music in a fine dining establishment can promote an aura of sophistication and luxury. Conversely, indie rock might be the perfect accompaniment at a trendy, urban eatery. Studies indicate that on-brand music can increase a restaurant’s revenues.

By understanding and applying music psychology, restaurants can create the appropriate ambiance, optimize customer behavior and improve their bottom line. The best sound system for your restaurant simplifies the process.

Your Restaurant Sound System and the World of Licensed Music

Having a restaurant sound system doesn’t give you the legal right to play music. You must have all the licenses for the music you want to stream. There are several licensing groups to deal with, and the process can be confusing, time-consuming and expensive.

Using your personal streaming music service won’t work. Doing so violates copyright law and the user agreements for most services. The best solution is to pair your restaurant sound system with a streaming music service designed specifically for businesses that provides all the necessary licenses.

Restaurant Sound System

Connecting to Your Restaurant Audio System

Many establishments already have a wired restaurant audio system that came with the space. In that case, you only have to plug your streaming device into the amplifier, and the music should start playing.

This works equally well whether you use your own compatible device or a dedicated player. Using your own device, like a smartphone or PC, can be attractive because you already own and are familiar with it. The downside is that using the device for other activities can be hard once it’s connected to the amplifier.

On the other hand, a dedicated player is just that — dedicated solely to playing music for your restaurant. It requires you to purchase and learn to use an additional device, but most dedicated players are intuitive and easy to use.

Stream Music From Your Restaurant Sound System With SiriusXM Music for Business

SiriusXM Music for Business provides over 240 music channels and 10,000+ Pandora artist stations for you to stream music in your restaurant. Developed specifically for businesses, our service is compatible with a vast range of devices, including PCs, smartphones, connected devices, dedicated players and satellite radios. You get convenience, full licensing and an outstanding selection of songs, all for the affordable price of $26.95 a month. Sign up today and take advantage of everything SiriusXM Music for Business offers for your restaurant sound system.

Dedicated Players and Restaurant Sound Systems

Players are a crucial component of restaurant sound systems. Without them, you literally would have no sound. Let’s look at some of the top dedicated players that are compatible with today’s sound systems for restaurants. We’ll compare them based on critical criteria, like the availability of onboard controls and Wi-Fi support.

Sound System For Restaurant

Onboard Controls

Onboard controls are buttons or dials that are on the physical dedicated player. Like radio controls, they’re an easy, intuitive way to manage the device. This is an excellent feature where ease of use is the primary consideration.

SiriusXM Music for Business is the only business-focused streaming service that provides onboard controls with its dedicated player. Other services, like Soundtrack Your Brand, Mood Music, Pandora for Business, Cloud Cover and Rockbot, require a separate device, app or computer to control the player.

Wi-Fi Support

Wi-Fi support provides essential functionality for your restaurant audio system. With Wi-Fi capabilities, you can access your dedicated player without a wired internet connection. Restaurants that want to stream music in outdoor or public areas where it’s impractical to run cables need Wi-Fi capability. Wi-Fi’s flexibility allows restaurants to use their dedicated players in a variety of locations.

All of the major business streaming services except Rockbot provide Wi-Fi support.

Stored Playlists

Playlists stored locally on the dedicated player provide the necessary flexibility to play music when the device is disconnected from the internet. This is particularly useful for businesses in areas with unreliable internet service.

Only Soundtrack Your Brand offers full interactive content. Mood Music, Cloud Cover and Rockbot provide limited options, and SiriusXM Music and Pandora have no stored playlist capabilities.

Real-Time Control

Your restaurant sound system will benefit from the real-time control of your dedicated player. This feature allows restaurants to make quick, accurate changes to the music being played. With real-time control, a restaurant can efficiently respond to changes in customer mood or update playlists based on the time of day. Real-time control enhances the customer experience by allowing restaurants to respond to the prevailing atmosphere and patron preferences.

SiriusXM Music for Business, Soundtrack Your Brand, Cloud Cover and Rockbot offer real-time control, while Pandora for Business and Mood Music do not.

Overhead Audio Messaging Support

Sound systems for restaurants need overhead audio messaging support. Dedicated players with this feature enable restaurants to make announcements subtly and unobtrusively without interrupting the music or disrupting the restaurant’s atmosphere. With overhead audio messaging support, restaurants can effectively communicate with their customers and employees.

All major business-focused music streaming services have dedicated players that support overhead audio messaging.

Price

Most services offer dedicated players for $99 to nearly $400. SiriusXM Music for Business provides its dedicated player at a low price of $79 after rebate.

Best Sound System For Restaurant

Other Considerations for Your Restaurant Sound System

To take full advantage of your restaurant sound system, you need a music streaming service that offers essential features, like a comprehensive music catalog, AI-generated stations and a web player.

Size of Music Catalog

The size of a streaming service’s music catalog impacts the depth and breadth of the music that plays over a restaurant sound system. A more comprehensive collection makes it easier for restaurants to find songs to match their brand. Smaller catalogs increase the likelihood of repetitions, which turn off customers and employees. Restaurants need to ensure they have access to enough music to create an engaging, dynamic atmosphere for their customers.

Soundtrack Your Brand has a catalog of 65 million songs, while SiriusXM Music for Business has 45 million songs. The catalogs of the other services are considerably smaller, with Rockbot at 16 million and Pandora for Business at 3 million. Cloud Cover and Mood Music are estimated to have 1 million to 2 million songs in their catalogs.

AI-Generated Stations

Semi-custom AI-generated stations provide all the benefits of artificial intelligence. They can be created based on characteristics like genre, mood, energy, tempo or artist. AI-generated stations allow restaurants to keep their music fresh and exciting without spending precious time hand-selecting songs.

Soundtrack Your Brand uses AI technology to generate and continually update playlists so they’re always interesting and relevant. Pandora for Business also employs AI technology to create semi-custom playlists based on selected artists and songs. Because every SiriusXM Music for Business subscription includes Pandora for Business, SiriusXM Music offers the same AI capabilities.

Rockbot, Mood Music and Cloud Cover do not offer AI-generated stations.

Web Player

A web player lets restaurants turn any computer into a music player by accessing a music streaming service through a web browser. Once connected to a restaurant audio system, web players can be a convenient and cost-effective solution for restaurants that want to play music.

SiriusXM Music for Business, Rockbot and Cloud Cover have web players, while Soundtrack Your Brand, Pandora for Business and Mood Music do not.

Frequently Asked Questions and Information About Sound Systems for Restaurants

As a leading streaming music provider, SiriusXM Music for Business is well-versed in the needs of sound systems for restaurants. Read the following questions to get the information you need, and be sure to visit our full FAQ page for more answers.

What Is the Best Sound System for Indoor Restaurants?

The best sound systems for indoor restaurants take full advantage of the features of the top-rated dedicated players, like overhead audio messaging support and real-time control.

What Is the Best Sound System for Outdoor Restaurants?

Because of the difficulties in running cable outdoors, the best sound systems for outdoor restaurants offer Wi-Fi capabilities.

How to Improve Your Restaurant’s Ambiance

Playing the appropriate music genre is the best way to improve your restaurant’s ambiance. Playlists that match your brand and your patrons’ expectations enhance the customer experience and boost your revenue.

How Loud Should Music Be in a Restaurant?

Restaurant music should be less than 70 decibels, which allows patrons to easily converse while still enjoying the music. Pubs and bars can play music as loud as 75 to 80 decibels.

How to Improve a Restaurant’s Acoustics

Some basic practices can improve a restaurant’s acoustics, including:

  • Soundproofing chairs
  • Using rugs, curtains and tablecloths to absorb sound
  • Creating a barrier to kitchen noise
  • Installing soundproof panels on the walls and sound-absorbing tiles on the ceiling

Stream Music Today With SiriusXM Music for Business

Whether it’s a web player, AI-generated content, an extensive music catalog or more, SiriusXM Music for Business gets the most out of your restaurant sound system. With thousands of playlists, we offer millions of tunes that you can use to craft the perfect atmosphere for your restaurant. Subscribe today and put the power of SiriusXM Music for Business to work for you.

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