Restaurant Sound Systems: Guide in Choosing the Best Speakers

Details are important when it comes to creating the right ambiance in your restaurant. Interior decor, seating, lighting, and friendly personnel: everything has to be just right to achieve an atmosphere that makes customers return. However, there is one detail that many restaurateurs overlook: music.

If you’ve ever been to an eatery where the music is a tad too loud for comfortable conversation or too soft that it’s barely there, you know what we’re talking about. Often, such establishments have not invested in quality restaurant sound systems.

Not all speakers and amplifiers were created equal — sound equipment used at home does not fulfill the needs of a commercial sound system for restaurant music. To get it right, owners need to invest in the right equipment that will give them reliable and efficient coverage across the space.  But where to begin when choosing from all the restaurant sound systems out there? Let’s take a look.

How To Play Music Over Your Restaurant Speakers

music speaker systems

First and foremost, a restaurant owner needs to pay attention to what’s coming out of their sound system. After all, a good restaurant audio system would be a waste if the wrong kind of music is coming out of the speakers.  

But how do you ensure you get the best music at all times? Even where you or your staff would love to pick all your favorite songs, creating your own playlists takes too much time and you might inadvertently run into licensing issues.

Many business owners don’t realize that it’s illegal to use personal streaming services to play music in their business. Personal streaming services like Pandora are designed to entertain just one person—the consumer. If you play them over speakers at your restaurant, you’re technically holding a public performance of that work. Play the songs without permission, and you could be violating copyright laws.

On the other hand, playing music from radio stations is a big no-no with the various ads and radio hosts interrupting the flow of music. Both of these options also mean repetition of the same tracks repeatedly, which will annoy both you and your guests.

Both of these options also mean repetition of the same tracks repeatedly, which will annoy both you and your guests.

Fortunately, commercial music streaming services exist to take all these issues off a business owner’s hands. They give businesses access to the widest variety of music, so you can create the perfect feel for your restaurant without having to worry about breaking copyright law. Services like Pandora CloudCover even give restaurant owners the option to play ads that are designed specifically for your business, so you can effectively communicate with your customers.

A Guide To Choosing Restaurant Sound Systems

interior of a restaurant

What are the best speakers for restaurant ambiance? We researched all the options out there, taking into consideration the following factors:

  • Sound quality
  • Ease of installation
  • Ease of use

Here are our top picks:

1. Sonos

Sonos tops the list of restaurant speakers systems for ticking all of the boxes. These sleek speakers can be moved around the store and come with multi-room technology, making them easy to install in seconds. They also offer business-specific solutions to customers, such as the option to control a streaming service right from the Sonos mobile app on your phone or tablet. These features have made the brand a popular choice for small and mid-sized restaurants.

2. AudioPro Business

The main advantage of AudioPro Business speakers over other restaurant music system options is the ability to play music without using WiFi or Bluetooth wirelessly. Their devices use DECT technology to enable stable and high-definition sound with at least 2X the range of a WiFi system. Their speakers also give restaurant owners the freedom to play music from any source.

3. Sonance

Sonance provides professional purpose-built restaurant sound systems for all types of spaces, even outdoors. Apart from the high-end sound and construction, their speakers are designed for integration in walls or ceilings, coming with a paintable, low-profile grille. They are great for restaurants that do not wish to compromise on aesthetics.

4. Google Chromecast Speaker System

Google’s wireless streaming technology for multi-room audio is growing in popularity for its flexibility to mix and match speakers from various brands together. More and more respected brands are integrating Chromecast into their speakers, giving restaurant owners more options to instantly stream their favorite music service from their mobile device on a variety of speakers.

Factors To Consider When Choosing a Restaurant Stereo System

While the above sound system for restaurant options are excellent in their own right, the brand and type of speakers you go with ultimately depends on the space you have.

Before choosing an audio system, consider:

  • The Size of Your Restaurant

A powerful sound system in a small restaurant is a waste of technology and resources, just as using small or few speakers for a large space will be ineffective. Consider hiring a professional sound-system installer if your space is larger than 200 square meters.

  • Acoustics

Restaurants often build their spaces according to acoustic design and with materials that absorb or modify sound. While this may be great for reducing noise levels, it may reduce the intelligibility of a sound system. Instead of bombarding the entire space with music to counteract this, choose speakers that use line-array technology, such as column speakers.

  • Live Performances

If you plan to host live shows or paging microphones in your restaurant, a PA system with a professional mixing console, microphones, and loudspeakers is vital. These ensure proper tuning, feedback suppression, and quality sound in the space. Remember to choose a system that is easy to learn and manipulate.

What About the Amplifier?

An amplifier is an electronic device that increases (or amplifies) the sound that comes into it. This crucial tool can take a small sound from a device like your computer and turn it into something large enough to fill an entire restaurant.

An amplifier sits in the circuit between the item accessing the music (the receiver) and the items broadcasting the sound (the speakers). The larger the space you want to fill, the more powerful your amplifier should be.

Many bloggers and restaurant owners use a so-called “rule of 5” when sizing an amplifier. They say an amplifier should have 5 watts of power per person seated in the space. However, you may need slightly more power. For example, if you’re seating customers outside, you may need amplifiers that can project 10 watts per person, as your music will compete with the natural sounds that surround your customers.

Calculating the right amplifier power also means examining the power (and number) of your speakers. Your speakers should list their wattage, and when you add them all up to your amplifier, they shouldn’t exceed its wattage.

Confused? Let’s break this down a bit and help you choose the right sound system for restaurant applications.

You have a 300-square-foot restaurant and four 25-watt speakers. Your amplifier should probably hold about 150 watts of space, allowing you to serve about 20 people with the right amount of sound.

See what we did there?

We calculated the added wattage of the speakers and bought an amplifier that could handle them. Then, we checked our figures against the rule of 5 to determine how many customers we could serve.

If we wanted to add more customers to the space, we’d need to add more speakers and kick up our amplifier choice accordingly.

The Importance Of Music In Restaurants

Using the right music in your restaurant is an incredibly powerful marketing tool. The most obvious reason for this is that it enhances the mood and ambiance of an eatery, but the power of in-house music is farther reaching than that.

Music can also increase your restaurant’s revenue by reducing perceived customer wait times as they stay engaged and entertained while they wait for their meal. Studies have also shown that the tempo of your music can influence how long patrons spend in your eatery: upbeat music increases table turnover, while slow tempo music encourages them to remain for long periods of time.

On the other hand, good music boosts morale and productivity, making your staff more efficient and personable. Pair a great playlist with the right audio system for restaurant music and everyone will enjoy their time at your eatery.

Play the Right Tunes with Pandora CloudCover

Now that you know what a good sound system for restaurant spaces can do, it’s time to support that with a winning selection of music. Pandora CloudCover has an ample selection of quality music for restaurants. Subscribe to our restaurant music plan today and get fully licensed music stations playing everything from golden oldies to timeless pop and modern hits, all free of explicit language and ads.


Musical Works, Sound Recordings, and Copyright. (February 2020). United States Copyright Office.


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