The effects of music sound levels on restaurant customer's behavior

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Virginia Tech


Restaurant attributes influence the perceptions and behaviors of restaurant customers. Among these attributes are music and its sound level. Sound level has been known to affect people's behaviors and judgments. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of music sound level on customers in a restaurant, specifically, where they sit and how long they stay. The study took place in a restaurant where customers seat themselves and music sound levels vary across tables. A convenience sample of dinner customers were observed for three weeks. Each week, speakers were placed in different locations causing tables that were originally quiet to become loud. A total of 107 table selections were analyzed using Chi Square tests. The effects of sound levels on length of stay were analyzed using an ANOVA with 36 dining parties.

The results showed no significant effect regarding table selection except when speakers were in their usual locations. An explanation of this significant effect may be that regular customers were familiar with the speaker locations and the sound levels of restaurant tables, and therefore, chose tables with lower sound levels over tables with high sound levels. Results from the ANOVA show that the length of stay of customers at high volume tables was significantly less than at other tables. Also, there was a negative correlation between length of stay and sound levels, indicating that the louder the music the earlier customers would leave.

These findings may indicate that as customers become familiar with a restaurant's sound levels, tables with high sound levels may be avoided. Also, in high music levels customer leave sooner. The implications may be increasing or decreasing table turns or affecting the satisfaction of regular customers.



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