Loud music means you’re likely to order a cheeseburger

How restaurant music influences what you order: Loud music means you’re likely to get a cheeseburger and soft music will make you opt for a salad

  • Loud music makes us excited whilst quiet music relaxes us  
  • When subjected to louder music, customers are likely to order unhealthy food
  • Restaurants and cafes could use this to manipulate the orders of customers 
  • e-mail

21

View
comments

If you find yourself ordering a greasy cheeseburger in a restaurant instead of a low-calorie salad, the music might be to blame. 

A study has found that music not only sets the mood of an evening but can also influence what you order.  

When subjected to louder music, customers have a tendency to order unhealthy food, such as burgers, researchers found.

However, if the same track is playing in the background but quieter they are more likely to opt for a healthier alternative. 


Twenty per cent more of a restaurant’s customers ordered something unhealthy when exposed to louder ambient music compared to those who dined during a quieter time

Tempo of music has long been linked to levels of excitement – a quicker beat raises the heart rate while a slower rhythm induces relaxation. 

Dr Dipayan Biswas from the University of South Florida looked at the effect of music volume on human behaviour.

Dr Biswas found that volume directly impacts heart rate and arousal.

Similar to uptempo songs, louder music increases stimulation and stress, inspiring diners to crave a greasy cheeseburger and fries. 

Softer music has a calming effect, making people more mindful of what they order, researchers found.

Dr Biswas believes that this discovery could be used to manipulate people’s buying habits. 

He said: ‘Restaurants and supermarkets can use ambient music strategically to influence consumer buying behaviour.’   

Dr Biswas writes in his paper, published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science: ‘Retail atmospherics is becoming an increasingly important strategic tool for stores and restaurants. 

‘Ambient music and background noise are especially important atmospheric elements given their ubiquity in retail settings.’


 When subjected to louder music, customers have a tendency to order unhealthy food, such as burgers, researchers found (stock image)

As part of his research, Dr Biswas conducted an experiment at a café in Stockholm.

The café played various genres of music in a loop separately at 55Db and 70Db. 

Fifty-five decibel noise is somewhere between gentle background chatter and the hum created by a refrigerator or an air conditioning unit. 

A 70 decibel raucous however is closer to that of a vacuum cleaner.    

The items on the menu were divided into three categories: healthy, non-healthy and neutral. 

The experiment was conducted over several hours on multiple days.

Twenty per cent more of the restaurant’s customers ordered something unhealthy when exposed to louder ambient music compared to those who dined during a quieter time.

Last year researchers found that restaurant music also influences how much customers spend. 

CAN A RESTAURANT’S MUSIC MAKE YOU SPEND MORE?

Major restaurant chains, including McDonalds and TGI Fridays are installing specially-designed sound systems that make customers spend as much as 10 per cent more, it was revealed last year.

The system, called Soundtrack Your Brand, plays music that reflects a brand’s values, evoking a range of positive emotions in customers and increasing guest satisfaction.

Researchers from HUI Research, a research-based consulting firm in Stockholm, conducted the largest ever academic study of background music, to design the system.

While most restaurants play music in an attempt to shape their customers’ experience, they choose their songs casually and without much thought.

But the researchers believed that the right music could have a huge return for restaurants.

Over the course of five months, across 16 McDonalds restaurants in Sweden, the researchers analysed a pool of nearly two million unique transactions.

The researchers compared the sales impact of playing a carefully selected choice of music that fit the chain’s brand, with playing random popular music.

The results showed that the difference was 9.1 per cent over the period of the study.

Music that fit the brand made customers more likely to buy additional items than if the restaurant played random popular music.

The formula for success appeared to be a mix of popular and less known songs that still had a good brand fit.

Major restaurant chains, including McDonalds and TGI Fridays installed specially-designed sound systems that make customers spend as much as 10 per cent more, researchers found.

The system, called Soundtrack Your Brand, plays music that reflects a brand’s values, evoking a range of positive emotions in customers and increasing guest satisfaction.

Researchers from HUI Research, a research-based consulting firm in Stockholm, conducted the largest ever academic study of background music, to design the system.

Professor Sven-Olov Daunfeldt, who led the study, said: ‘This is without doubt the largest field study on the influence of music in restaurants to date, and we’ve analysed an enormous pool of data.

‘When done right, music has a major positive effect on sales, largely stemming from guests purchasing more items such as desserts and sides.

‘Play the wrong music, and you just might find that you’re alienating that very same customer and selling significantly less.’

Source: Read Full Article