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Are Restaurants Too Noisy?

Restaurant patrons across the world are joining in unison on a much talked about topic – noisy restaurants. Dining out is an occasion to enjoy delicious food, a nice ambience and share the experience with friends and partners.

This image is often shattered with excessively loud dins at some restaurants.

Charity Action on Hearing Loss has heard diners’ complaints of the intrusive and painful levels of noise in restaurants time and again. Because of this wave of concern, the charity undertook a survey of 1,200 people. This report found that background noise was by far the leading problem to people when dining out, leaving many patrons feeling excluded from the conversations around them.

79% stated they’d left a restaurant early due to excessive noise

Of these people surveyed between 3rd-6th February 2017, a staggering 91% said they wouldn’t return to a noisy restaurant, café or pub and 79% stated they’d left a restaurant early due to excessive noise. The charity took decibel readings from a range of chain restaurants before 6pm. Patisserie Valerie ranked highest with 97.8db with Wagamama coming in second with 90.1db. Third was Pizza Express at 87.9db.

Action on Hearing Loss chief executive Paul Breckell said, “These results demonstrate the business case for restaurants putting some real consideration into their acoustics. There are over 11 million people in the UK with some degree of hearing loss and they are beginning to spend money elsewhere. Everyone loves going out for a meal but with an increasing variety of takeaway options and the intrusive background noise levels exacerbated by fashionable hard surfaces, it’s no wonder customers are opting to stay in. It’s entirely reasonable for customers to expect to hear companions sat opposite them.”

As highlighted by Breckell, the problem is compounded by many properties’ décors of hard floors, bare walls and high ceilings, which magnify every crash and bang.  As a result of the survey, Action on Hearing Loss produced a guide for restaurants which outlines cost-effective ways to be more accessible to customers with hearing loss, from reducing the volume of background music, using soft furnishings that better absorb sound to investing in acoustic treatments.

If you’re a restaurateur, café owner or pub landlord who wants to monitor their property’s noise levels, download the Decibel 10 app for iPhone and Android.

If you’re looking to branch out and are in the market for a new property then speak to a team member at Restaurant Property. We’d love to hear from you.

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