Pouring Profits Through Effective Music Management

One of the most overlooked areas in most operations is the music.  If you’re leaving the decision of what music to play to unqualified individuals, now is the time to gain control of your music to increase customer length of stay, check averages and improve your overall guest experience.

One of the first tools to think about is music dayparting.  More specifically, you shouldn’t be playing the same music all day.  Your audience, in most cases, is very different from open to close.  Typically, your audience becomes younger as the evening unfolds.

If your venue is open for lunch, dinner and late night, you’ll need to create three playlists to effectively target your guests during each of these periods. So how do we do that? First, analyze the average age you’re attracting during each of these periods.  Next, add ten years to both sides of that age.  For example, if the average age of your guests during your lunch period is 45, you would want to play music that caters primarily to a 35 – 55 year old audience.  Apply these same formulas to your other dayparts when developing your playlists.


Now that you’ve targeted the age ranges you need to cater to, what music will you play? This will depend on a number of factors.  A fine dining restaurant will play a much different soundtrack then a sports bar.  A mix of jazz, lounge and adult contemporary would work well in a steak house.  A mix of classic and modern rock would be suitable in a sports bar. 

This is where music programming services can be a big help.  A music designer can help you pinpoint exactly what music you should play as well as offer effective music management tools.  You’ll need to understand your target audience to ensure your music compliments your environment when working with your music designer.

You’ll now want to create an effective way to properly program your music during each daypart.  You wouldn’t want to play an entire hour of contemporary jazz in a restaurant or play an hour of 70’s classic rock in a sports bar.  On the other hand, a randomly generated playlist is not going to provide the right mix either.

You’ll want to create your playlists in quarter hour increments playing a percentage of each music style accordingly.  This will ensure that everyone in the room will hear a song or style of music they identify with throughout the hour.  You don’t want to play one style of music for extended periods that would alienate anyone in your target demographic.

Setting the correct volume level in each zone of your venue is critical.  Volume levels that are too low or too high will make guests feel uncomfortable.  Levels should be set to buffer conversation from table to table; you shouldn’t be able to hear the conversation that’s happening two tables over. 

Speaker placement is another critical factor in setting volume levels.  It’s more desirable to have an effective number of smaller speakers placed strategically throughout your venue then to have a few larger speakers in each corner of the room.

Again, if you’re leaving the decision of what music to play to your staff or customers, it’s time to rethink that strategy. Fine tuning your music can be one of the keys to attracting a great crowd and keeping them in your place longer, two things that go a long way toward keeping your profits pouring.

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