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The Facts Are In: Loud Restaurants Are Driving Away Patrons!


Maybe you’ve had a long day at work and don’t feel like cooking or cleaning. Or maybe you’re celebrating a birthday or anniversary. Or maybe you’re entertaining an out-of-town client.

Whatever your reason, dining out is, for lack of a better term, a luxury. It’s something to which we treat ourselves – to be waited on, served, cooked for, and cleaned after, all while enjoying the company of those who have joined us.

But more and more, patrons are finding the latter luxury to be nearly impossible as restaurant noise levels soar to new heights.

At best, the din of a noisy restaurant is an annoying nuisance. At worst, the cacophony of noise can prove – literally and figuratively – deafening and potentially unhealthy. Even at tolerable levels, pay attention to your body the next time you leave a loud restaurant. You’ll likely notice it relaxes as it escapes the auditory onslaught on your body.

In fact, noise, to the tune of 24%, is the No. 1 most irksome complaint from diners, outranking service, crowds, pricing, and parking.

A Washington Post food critic even began rating noise levels in restaurants 10 years ago, writing: “More than bad food, more than tipping quandaries, more than someone wondering if a free meal should follow a rodent sighting in a dining room, the most frequent concern I get from readers involves loud restaurants.”

But how did we get here?

The short answer: Restaurants are so loud because they weren’t designed with noise in mind.

How Restaurants Became So Loud

Where once restaurants opted for pin-drop silence, more and more restaurants have shifted to a raucous atmosphere.

But much of this shift – at least in those cases where a loud, bacchanal atmosphere wasn’t the intention – can be attributed to a change in décor in what is perceived as upscale or luxurious, such as tall ceilings that increase room volume and welcome more sound, open kitchen concepts, sparse, modern minimalism that relies on hard surfaces, such as granite, slate and marble, and a lack of softer features such as curtains, carpets and upholstery.

These design features are certainly on trend – but are a nightmare on ears.

This shift in design aesthetics means there is little to absorb sound so all of the hard surfaces serve as a big acoustic mirror, reflecting sound around the room.

How An Acoustic Expert Can Help

Often when designing and building a restaurant, too little – if any – attention is paid to architectural acoustics.

Our advice? Since it’s exponentially easier to provide soundproofing at the onset of a building project rather than retroactively, it stands to reason that all new construction projects should consult an acoustics or soundproofing expert prior to breaking ground.

When that’s no longer an option, our advice is to hire an acoustical expert who understands noise and the wide variety of options for soundproofing materials. After identifying the path(s) the noise will travel, an acoustical expert can decide if sound absorption materials or sound barrier materials are best suited for your restaurant.

A Soundproofing Partner For Your Loud Restaurant

At Sonic-Shield, our acoustical engineers can conduct the necessary testing in order to develop and supply the appropriate sound abatement materials and products to reduce your restaurant’s noise from offending acoustics to acceptable, comfortable and healthy limits.

If you’re currently struggling with a loud restaurant that requires an immediate solution or have the luxury of planning for a problem that may exist in the future, we would love the opportunity to help.

Contact one of our soundproofing experts today.