Have you ever noticed loud music in restaurants during prime dinner or drink hours or on popular nights for socializing? Well, there’s a reason for that. Loud music makes us eat and drink more and do it faster.
Why is there such loud music in restaurants?
Restaurants often play music that is louder and faster-paced during peak hours, such as Friday and Saturday nights. This is done to create a sense of energy and excitement, which can lead diners to eat faster and order more food and drinks.
Studies have shown that loud music can increase consumption by up to 25%.
One study from France (cited below, from EurekAlert) showed how it works:
“Researchers discretely visited two bars for three Saturday evenings in a medium-size city located in the west of France. The study subjects, 40 males 18 to 25 years of age, were unaware that they were being observed; only those who ordered a glass of draft beer (25 cl. or 8 oz.) were included. With permission from the bar owners, observers would randomly manipulate the sound levels (either 72 dB, considered normal, or 88 dB, considered high) of the music in the bar (Top 40 songs) before choosing a participant. After the observed participant left the bar, sound levels were again randomly selected and a new participant was chosen.
Results showed that high sound levels led to increased drinking, within a decreased amount of time.”
Restaurants use a variety of strategies to create a certain ambiance and atmosphere for their customers. Music is one of the most effective tools they have. While music can certainly enhance the dining experience by creating a mood or setting a tone, it can also have a subconscious impact on how much and how quickly we eat.
For example, one study found that diners who were exposed to loud, fast-paced music ate their meals more quickly. They also drank more than those who listened to slower, softer music or no music at all. Another study found that diners who were exposed to music with a tempo of 130 beats per minute (the same tempo as many popular dance songs) consumed more food and drinks. People consumed less when they listened to music with a slower tempo.
This effect is not just limited to music. Other environmental factors such as lighting, decor, and the color of the plates and walls can influence our eating habits. People tend to eat less when they are in a relaxing environment with dim light and muted colors.
So next time you’re dining out on a busy night, be aware of the music. It might be influencing your eating habits more than you realize!
Source: “Loud music can make you drink more, in less time, in a bar” — EurekAlert