I went at this business with a love of music and an insatiable desire to create frenzy, energy and dynamics through music. Music is such an integral part of the bar experience, whether it’s a live band, a jukebox, iPod nights, or a DJ, that the quality of the music selection can actually help drive customer spending and increase your profits. Here are some factors to consider:
Setting and Atmosphere
Sports bars should utilize the sound from televisions that complement the action of the game. That’s the music your target market will respond to, and it will serve as a fitting soundtrack to pump up a lively crowd of sport fanatics.
For steakhouses and fine dining establishments with a more mature crowd, select music that will invoke a sense of calm and create a sense of intimacy – such as soft jazz or classical music. Food tastes better when classical music is softly played, and there’s a presence of a subtle background ‘chatter’.
Your local neighborhood pub will have varied demographics, so indie pop or alternative music will work well to create the desired energized ambiance for a diverse crowd.
Time of Day
Restaurants and bars should have separate playlists for lunch, happy hour, dinner and late night patrons. As the evening winds down, your target audience tends to get younger, so choose your music accordingly – never play the same music all day long.
- Lunchtime: at this time of day, your guests will only have 50-65 minutes for lunch, so raise the music tempo slightly and you can increase sales by up to 12%.
- Happy Hour: your guests are looking to unwind from a long workday in a fun and lively environment, so choose songs with an upbeat, energetic tempo during this time period.
- Dinner: lower the volume of your music after happy hour to indicate the transition into dinner time so your guests can enjoy a longer meal and have conversations.
- Late Night: similar to happy hour, your music selection should be upbeat and energetic to entertain the crowd well into the night.
Music Genre and Rotation
To determine music styles, use this formula: find the average age of your target customer and add ten years to either side of that average to find the music types and eras to play. For example, if the average age for your happy hour audience is 40, you’ll want to play music that appeals to the 30-50 year-old age range.
Songs should be played according to their categories and not shuffling randomly through different genres. For instance, your neighborhood pub might play 90’s indie pop followed by 00’s indie pop, 80’s indie pop, 10’s indie pop, and so on, played on a loop.
The idea is to create 20-minute sequences that will appeal to your target audiences as the day goes on.
The location and size of your speakers are two factors that are just as important as sound quality and volume regulation. It’s better to have smaller speakers placed strategically throughout your establishment than it is to have a few larger speakers stacked in the corner. This will spread the music around, creating a better atmosphere for dining, hanging out and socializing.
Music is profitable, and it’s scientifically proven that playing the correct music at the right time (and at the right tempo) can significantly boost profits. You’ll not only create your desired identity, but your sales will soar.