Have you ever been inside of a crowded restaurant sitting at a table with your wife or girlfriend only to find out that you could not hear a word she was saying because the acoustics in the restaurant were so poor? Most restaurants employ hard surface areas throughout in order to easily keep the establishment clean and healthy. The problem with all the clean hard surfaces is that they reflect the sound. In other words, the sound bounces around the room making it difficult he understand what the person at your own table is saying, but instead clearly hearing the lady 5 tables away from you. Restaurant acoustics are generally horrible. Here you are taking the lady you love out for your anniversary and paying at least $50 per plate and you can’t even carry on a conversation with her.
Many restaurants are losing business because they don’t know the first thing about acoustics. There are many thing that restaurant owners and managers can do to make the room much more pleasant for their patrons. These dining areas need to be acoustically treated or absorbent materials are needed to absorb the reflective noise in the restaurant.
When furnishing a new restaurant, it is always best to add fabric covered chairs and booth seating because fabrics absorb the sound. The same goes for bar stools and lounge chairs and couches. Use fabric covered furnishings whenever possible.
Here’s a handy trick for tuning up the acoustics in a restaurant. There is a product on the market now called Echoless Roll material. This is a bonded acoustical cotton roll material that has a black neutral fabric facing on one side. Not a very appealing look for an up scale restaurant, but here’s the trick. Take your tables and chairs and glue this Echoless roll material to the bottoms of both the chairs and tables where none of the patrons will be able to see this material. The Echoless roll can also be glued to the underside of the bar and bar stools or to the underside of any of the furnishings in the establishment where noise reflection is an issue. This material strategically placed can actually reduce the amount of reflective noise by at least 50% to 65%. The more of it you are able to use in the restaurant, the better your sound absorption will be. You can dramatically lower reverb times and increase speech intelligibility to the point where a normal conversation can take place in a very crowded eatery.