A meal for the senses: the value of acoustic treatment in restaurants
“By virtue of poor acoustic design, and lack of acoustic treatment, many restaurants’ noise levels are unpleasant and unchecked—resulting in the discomfort of staff and diners, to the detriment of the businesses themselves.”
Dining out is a sensory experience. People go to restaurants to eat food they would not otherwise eat, in a setting that is vibrant (or relaxing, depending on the restaurant), and do things differently than they otherwise would. For restaurant designers and specifiers, a huge amount of time and effort goes into creating the right ambience for the venue. How bright should the lighting be? What colours will bring the space to life? What construction materials and fittings should be used?
Given the thought that goes into creating these spaces, it’s somewhat surprising that comparatively little time is given to restaurant acoustics. The minimalist design trends of modern restaurants mean that the majority of contemporary establishments are designed with hard, reflective surfaces and raw construction materials—think steel, concrete, wood, and glass—that offer no acoustic absorption. As a result, these spaces become excessively noisy.