Most of us have, at some point in our lives, had an unpleasant dine-out experience, just because the restaurant in question was unpleasantly noisy. Statistically, ‘excessive noise levels’ is among the top three most common customer complaints that most of the restaurants face.
Whether it’s the annoying hum and whirr of kitchen machinery, the clanking of cutlery, loud co-diners, or a particularly whiny kid, or even unpleasantly loud music, these noises can get on your customers’ nerve, disrupt important conversations, kill magical moments of intimacy, and effectively destroy what your diners anticipated to be a pleasant evening out.
It can lead to customers walking out, never coming back, criticizing your restaurant on public fora, and spreading bad word of mouth, tangibly hurting your business.
Here are a few steps that you, as a restaurant manager/owner, can adopt to address the issue, effectively:
1. Interior Design Solutions
- Keep noisy kitchen machinery and frequently used equipment – blenders, grinders, ice machines, and such far from the dining area.
- Use cork-lined sound-proof kitchen doors to prevent the kitchen noises like the clanging of pots & pans and conversations of the chefs from going out in the dining area.
- Add carpets, drapes and curtains, cushions and upholstery and other sound-absorbent soft furnishings all over the restaurant, to muffle and minimize discordant outside noises.
- Use rubber caps at the bottom of the chairs, table, and sofa legs, to eliminate the sound of furniture scraping against the floor.
- Incorporate separate booths and cubicles for couples and groups who are seeking to enjoy a romantic or intimate meal.
- Indoor plants like Ferns, Peace Lilies, and Baby’s Tears are good natural sound absorbents that can not only reduce noise by 6-15 decibels but also add to the aesthetics of your restaurant and improve indoor air quality. A healthy environment always feels pleasant.
2. Psychological Solutions
- An intimate setting with dim lighting and soft music are the most preferred choices for date nights and intimate gatherings. When the vibe is pleasant, the diners go with the flow and it is less likely that they deviate from it. Also, Reservation apps make it easier for you to give every diner their preferred table or section at the restaurant.
- A Formally dressed staff that engages with the customers politely, subtly encourages the diners to hold pleasant conversations amongst themselves as well.
3. Infrastructural and Human Resource Solutions
- Train hostesses and ushers to seat customers accompanied by kids at a designated area within the restaurant – ideally one that is subtly isolated from the rest of the crowd.
- Some child-friendly eateries have designated kids’ zones with toys, games and trained waiters to keep the little ones occupied & fed while they play. In this way, the parents and other diners can also enjoy their dine out moments without any disturbances.
- If your restaurant serves alcoholic beverages, you can train your waiting staff to take subtle measures to turn down repeat orders and firmly discourage or refuse repeat orders to tipsy customers, to prevent them from turning raucous and unruly.
Make Every Customer your Restaurant’s Brand Ambassador
It is always larger than life experience for the customers when you grant them good experiences other than just good food. Hence it is necessary to ensure that every customer has, not just a pleasant but delightful dine-out experience, every time they visit you. You can monitor where your restaurant stands in terms of diner experience through feedback apps.
This keeps your restaurant in the limelight despite the increasingly competitive environment. Your first-time customers would be repeat customers, which will eventually become your regular patrons, and then the active brand advocates who spontaneously recommend your restaurant to every next person they meet.