Restaurants that play a carefully selected mix of music reflecting its culture can increase sales by more than 9 percent, according to a five-month study conducted in 2016 by researchers at HUI Research, using Soundtrack Your Brand’s curation model and streaming platform. It also found that playing no music at all is better than playing random popular music, which cut sales by more than 4 percent compared to silence.
“This is, without doubt, the largest field study on the influence of music in restaurants to date, and we’ve analyzed an enormous pool of data,” Professor Sven-Olov Daunfeldt said in a news release about the study. He led the research that analyzed a pool of nearly 2 million unique transactions across 16 restaurants of a major restaurant chain. Researchers compared the sales impact of playing a carefully selected choice of music that fit the chain’s brand with playing random popular music and discovered that the difference in sales was 9.1 percent over the period of the study.
“When done right, music has a major positive effect on sales, largely stemming from guests purchasing more items such as desserts and sides,” Daunfeldt said.
Music that fit the brand made people more likely to buy additional items than if the restaurant played random popular music. Sales of desserts, shakes and smoothies, as an example, rose by more than 15 percent, while sales of sides increased by more than 11 percent.
Playing the wrong music, on the other hand, hurt sales.
“Based on these results, I’d advise anyone who has a restaurant to be very mindful about the choice of music. Unless you think hard about the music you play, you might be better off to refrain from playing background music altogether,” Daunfeldt said.
A separate survey of more than 2,101 restaurant guests showed the impact of brand-fit music versus random music on emotion and satisfaction after restaurant visits. The results showed that guests’ sense of well-being and satisfaction improved when they had listened to brand-specific music compared with when they had heard random popular music.
“I’ve always known intuitively that bad background music hurts businesses. And conversely that carefully selected music can increase sales and improve experiences. It’s thrilling to find that science backs this hunch,” Soundtrack Your Brand’s co-founder and CEO Ola Sars said in a news release.
A lesson from Starbucks
Starbucks is one chain that takes its music selection seriously. For the past 20 years, two employees, known as the Starbucks Entertainment curators, have overseen the programming of all overhead store music. With deep relationships in the music community, the pair has built hundreds of playlists and programmed thousands of hours of songs.
Starbucks last year launched its Guest DJ Series, which allowed four well-known DJs to select the music heard in the company’s U.S. stores. Guest DJs included Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes, who chose songs from The Who, The Velvet Underground and Laura Mvula. Guest DJ Corrine Baily Rae went with the Kinks, Sister Sledge and Beyonce.
“We love curating and handpicking songs and we also know people who are amazing music curators,” Holly Hinton, Starbucks director of curation, said in a press release. “For this set of playlists, we really asked artists to share what they’re listening to and what artists inspire them. We handed over the reins and knew they’d come back with something great.”
Source: Fast Casual