4 Research-Backed Elements of Great Background Music for Restaurants

Group of friends eat food as the best restaurant background music in playing.

What makes a restaurant experience truly memorable?

(Hint: it’s not just the tasty menu selections.)

For a growing number of quick service franchises and fast food restaurants, music is becoming an increasingly important factor in brand identity. Not only does it have the power to influence turnover rate and purchasing decisions, but it’s also one of the easiest and effective ways to tell a cohesive story about your brand.

There are many dimensions to music, so it’s important to know what areas to focus on before you get started.

Consider the following four elements when choosing your restaurant’s background music mix: genre, volume, tempo, and valence.


  1. Genre

    When was the last time you heard heavy-hitting metal music at a quick service Italian eatery? Or classic country at a casual, island-inspired restaurant? (The chances are pretty slim.)

    Genre is incredibly important when it comes to restaurant music selection.

    Streaming in-store restaurant music on a laptop from Cloud Cover Music, a business music service.

    Not only should it accentuate your restaurant’s cuisine, decor, and personality, but it should also appeal to the customers you’re trying to attract.

    See Cloud Cover Music’s full station catalogue.

  2. Volume

    Have you ever been to a restaurant where the music was so loud that you couldn’t hear your own thoughts?

    If so, the experience was probably an unpleasant one, at best. And this makes sense because studies have shown that when restaurant music is cranked up, it negatively impacts social interactions.

    Some music for restaurants and bars is turned up loud so that customers eat and drink faster, but how loud is too loud?

    Naturally, music volume can be altered throughout the course of a business day, but make sure it always complements the activity and liveliness of your establishment.

  3. Tempo

    Did you know music tempo can influence the amount of time customers spend in your restaurant?

    Depending on your particular business objectives, you can use this to your advantage. If your goal is to turn tables, fast-paced music has been proven to increase the number of bites and sips per minute. Conversely, slow tempo music has been found to cause diners to stay an average of 13.5 minutes longer.

  4. Valence

    In psychology, valence is used to describe whether something is likely to make someone feel happy (positive valence) or sad (negative valence).

    A happy smiling family eats food as the best music for restaurants plays in the background.

    When it comes to background music in restaurants, valence plays a huge role: studies have shown that musical liking significantly enhances positive affective responses during long waits in the drive-thru lane or at the checkout counter.


Ready to implement music into your restaurant business plan?

Cloud Cover offers over 75 fully-licensed music stations, free from any negative or suggestive lyrics. Try us for free today.