Eating in your favorite restaurant is always a treat but you may find yourself exhausted when it gets too loud, and may even adjust your reservation to avoid the loudest times. Some restaurant owners assume a noisy room means business is good and everyone is enjoying themselves. This may be true - but also comes at a cost.
Research on ‘Noise and its impact on the perception of food and drink’ from the University of Oxford concluded that “…the uncomfortably high background noise levels found in many restaurants are increasingly being recognized as a very real and pressing concern by restaurateurs, restaurant critics, audiologists, and the general public alike. What is more, research from the laboratory suggests that loud noise can indeed affect the taste, flavor, and texture of food, often in an adverse manner” (1).
This can be explained in part by the fact that if surrounding stimuli such as high decibel restaurant noise becomes overbearing, the brain can switch to survival mode through the hormone stress response of cortisol release. This hormone is part of the body’s security force, able to control fear, motivation, and mood. When an eating establishment becomes too noisy it is no wonder a patron’s taste can become adversely affected. Outside stress can slow the digestive system to allow for more energy to be used against a potential threat. Therefore, the customer may not enjoy a great menu as much as they could and may even be averse to returning without even knowing why.
There are ways to reduce interior noise so a space can remain lively without people struggling to have a conversation. More importantly, the inconspicuous health hazards stressed on the human system’s exposure to high decibel chatter and reverberating ambient clamor should be considered.
Mitigating interior noise sources in an eating establishment can be achieved. At FSorb we offer affordable, non-toxic material soundproofing applications based on precise acoustical engineering to manage interior and exterior sound. By doing so, a restaurant that was once an echo chamber of chaotic vibrations can be transformed into a room of private talk and laughter that reduces hearing stress and keeps the nervous system calm. When a customer enjoys this kind of atmosphere, the bottom line responds in kind. Find out how a noisy restaurant can be inconspicuously tweaked into a more lucrative experience that celebrates gustatory delights while improving and protecting the health of each patron and employee. Through precise and simply installed soundproofing, your business can thrive, leaving competition in the noise.
Designing a restaurant requires getting the most out of a space while maintaining a pleasing ambiance. What is rarely considered is how the noise vibrations will travel throughout the room according to the materials used to create such ambiance. Although it looks good and is easy to clean, choosing materials such as granite, ceramic, marble, and concrete can create noise deflection that causes the conversation decibel to gradually rise to unhealthy levels. This is called the Lombard effect which is described in research from the Department of Speech and Hearing Science at the University of Illinois as “…noise level exceeding normal conversational levels causes a phenomenon called the Lombard Effect, an involuntary tendency to increase the amount of vocal effort when talking in the presence of noise” (2).
We’ve all been there when a room starts out at a low murmur and suddenly we find ourselves yelling into each other’s ears. This rise in decibels could get so out of hand it can compare to levels found while working amongst factory machinery noise. The Lombard Effect has been tracked at reaching levels as high as 85 decibels.
This should be concerning as the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders states “Long or repeated exposure to sound at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss” (3).
Furthermore, the EPA reports that safe levels of interior noise should not exceed 45 decibels to prevent activity interference and annoyance (4).
Whether it is an annoying rise in restaurant chatter or employees exposed to constant high decibel dangers, your business may be at risk when it comes to patron satisfaction as well as the performance, health, and safety of your staff.
FSorb can develop and install an acoustical engineering fix. We reroute or absorb sound vibrations by softening hard surfaces with our product. By inconspicuously changing the surface of materials like those mentioned above, we can help reduce the decibel levels making dining more pleasant. This is one example of how you can improve sound maintenance and create some beneficial differences for your restaurant on a variety of levels.
Tame Sound, Profit All
There are several health and wellness groups that continue to lobby for federal sound decibel regulations but none have been mandated yet. As science keeps proving the dangers of all kinds of noise decibel risks, by tamping down sound in your establishment you can easily move ahead of the curve. Moreover, FSorb’s affordable packages can pay for themselves when it comes to several benefits that could occur through our soundproofing expertise, including:
A rapidly growing number of those eating in restaurants are over sixty years of age. These baby boomers can be a real part of your business, and if they have a hard time hearing in your restaurant it could push them elsewhere, probably to an establishment that invested in soundproofing.
In the same University of Illinois study referenced above, it was also reported that “Adults over 60 years represent the second largest population in the US and the majority of them suffer from some degree of hearing loss” (5).
A U.S Department of Labor Survey found that “Households age 55 and older now account for over one-third (36%) of all restaurant spending” (6).
So, if you do the math, it looks like reducing restaurant noise can certainly support a considerable chunk of your patrons.
Employee Performance and Morale
The other group that can benefit from soundproofing is the employees. The data on restaurant noise levels regarding customer satisfaction and health risk is apparent, however, it is the restaurant employees (and employers for that matter) that are subject to continuing high decibel sound vibrations. It is the accumulation of the aforementioned high cortisol stress response to noise on the CNS (central nervous system) that can affect the entire workforce.
A restaurant and especially a kitchen can become a chaotic workspace.
A study of combined research found that “Human studies have demonstrated that diminished VEMP (vestibular evoked myogenic potential - muscle response to noise) responses are related to the severity of noise-induced hearing loss, and dose-dependent vestibular [inner ear] deficits following noise exposure have been corroborated in animal models” (6).
When hearing is affected on this level, in addition to potential hearing loss, an employee can go through the following and no one ever attributes it to constant high decibel noise exposure.
Reducing noise levels in your restaurant could be the mitigating factor that moves the needle to a more enjoyable experience for your customers, a safer work environment for your employees, and increased profits for your business.
Aesthetically Pleasing Beneficial Soundproofing
If someone came to you and said you need soundproofing you might visualize a cumbersome installation of blocky cushioning. FSorb creates aesthetically pleasing, streamlined designs that seamlessly integrate with your space. We map out targeted placement of materials that will significantly absorb noise. This can transform a restaurant into an ambiance that most will look forward to returning to. Plus, all our materials are easy to clean and do not pose an off-gassing toxic VOC (volatile organic compound) risk.
We pride ourselves on producing affordable, safe, and aesthetically pleasing soundproofing capable of morphing your space into a whole new experience. We look at the full spectrum of how acoustics can be controlled and your business can prosper. Consider FSorb soundproofing for your restaurant or feel free to recommend us to that noisy restaurant you love!
At FSorb, we are motivated by improving human health and do so by creating eco-friendly acoustic products. Our mission is to help designers build beautiful spaces that reduce excess ambient noise while calming the human nervous system. With over 25 years in the acoustic business we stand behind FSorb as a durable, environmentally friendly, and low-cost product. If you want an acoustic solution that is safe to human health at an affordable price, then we are your resource.