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The Effect of Music Tempo on Restaurant Profits

Essay by   •  July 5, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,355 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,224 Views

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Since the financial crisis of 2008, the restaurant industry has gone through difficult times. Consumers are starting to save money and have changed their spending behavior in order to do so. Indeed, people are looking for ways to cut down on costs and choose to dine in instead of enjoying a meal at a restaurant. To reverse the trend, managers are forced to make good decisions and adapt to the new challenges presented to them. The market is crowded and highly competitive, therefore restaurant owners need to find a way to draw consumers to an experience that stands out from the competition to stimulate spending and profits.

Research on music has revealed that this entertainment tool has much more to do than simple sound effects. Today, music is used to achieve goals since it is believed to have effects on people's mood and behavior. However, research on the use of music as a background instrument for businesses is still limited.

Music as an element of the environment can influence consumer behavior (Milliman, 1986). Managers need to recognize the effects of music and how important it is to create the right ambience to increase traffic and develop a strong loyalty customer base. As cited by Milliman, "In creating this environment the music you provide is every bit as important as the interior design, food and beverage selection that you provide" (1986).

The purpose of this research is to provide an outlook on the different literature and findings that will help managers decide on what kind of music tempo should be played in an establishment to create the desired atmosphere and outcomes.

Source 1: Milliman, R. E. (1986). The Influence of Background Music on the Behavior of Restaurant Patrons. Journal of Consumer Research, 13(2), 286-289. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

In the research, 644 customer groups were observed in a high-end restaurant to measure the effects music tempo had on spending, time spent dining, and the waiting list. The study lasted for eight weeks, observations were made during Friday and Saturday nights where the restaurant was beyond capacity, necessitating customers to wait before being seated. However, patrons waiting to be seated were not served any alcoholic beverages prior to joining their tables.

The results from this study revealed that customers under the slow tempo took more time to dine and leave than those under the fast tempo (Milliman, 1986). Since music tempo had a significant impact on table turnover, the expectations were to see a longer waiting time under the slow tempo scenario, and more people leave due to impatience. The analysis confirmed that there was a significant difference in waiting time between the two tempos. However, no significant difference was noticed between the proportion of customers who left and stayed under the two different scenarios (Milliman, 1986). Therefore, the decision to wait or leave was not directly effected by music tempo. Nevertheless, it would be interesting to investigate the results if the patrons could have the choice to consume alcoholic beverages at the bar while waiting to be seated.

The hypothesis that patrons would spend more money on food under the slow tempo could not be confirmed, since the average amount spent was not significant enough to notice a difference (Milliman, 1986). However, alcohol consumption revealed a complete different scenario. Under slow tempo music, customers would spend on average three times more on alcoholic beverages than customers exposed to a faster tempo background (Milliman, 1986). Thus, if the restaurant played a slower tempo in the dining area, it would expect customers to spend significantly more on alcoholic beverages, increasing therefore profits for the restaurant.

This study even though outdated compared to the few recent researches in the field, is interesting in assessing and comparing the conclusions that were lately made on the subject. Still, this research is relevant to this study since it provides a basis to build upon and space for further investigation.

Source 2: Caldwell, C., & Hibbert, S. A. (2002). The Influence of Music Tempo and Musical Preference on Restaurant Patrons' Behavior. Psychology & Marketing, 19(11), 895- 917. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

This study was

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