For as long as I can remember, my parents have not been fond of dining in loud restaurants and bars, and at the risk of sounding like my parents… Here goes… Why is it so darn loud in this venue…?
I like a venue to be spunky, busy and jiving. It shows that the venue is doing something right, but when you are having to yell at your partner and at the waitress the venue is clearly doing something wrong. Getting the ambiance right in a venue, including the noise level, is a key aspect that is just as important as great customer service and beautiful food and wine.
I had an experience this past weekend when I dined at what I would say is an absolutely great restaurant (if you ignore the noise). The food is to die for! They have a dish that can be a craving of mine and the service is fast, friendly and efficient. However, the venue is just too darn loud! I’m in my mid 30’s so this is not a reflection that the venue might not be age appropriate for a Saturday night out on the town, but there is a level where a venue switches from being bustling and loud with a lively atmosphere to just too loud, which results in a less than enjoyable dining experience.
I’m talking about loud to the point where at the end of the night your throat hurts from yelling, where you can’t hear the waitress read the specials, and where you may have had an extra drink and dessert but you can’t hear your partner so you leave early and go somewhere else. After a busy week, you want to talk to the person on the other side of the table.
Walking out of a loud venue is like feeling you can breathe again. While in a loud venue, it feels like you can’t think properly and can’t make a decision. Dining should be a pleasurable experience, and a loud venue can switch your night from being enjoyable to somewhere you can’t wait to get out of. After that, you really question going back, and it’s definitely off the list of places you would take your parents for dinner!
Some venues don’t seem to see (noise) ambiance as a crucial area to address when A. Designing spaces for restaurants and B. deciding what furnishings to use . It’s really a shame as that level of noise would stop me going back, even though they make some of the best salt and pepper tofu I’ve ever had!
On top of this, I feel it’s not fair on the staff who work in that environment for a long shifts day in and day out. If I feel hoarse and mentally drained after being in the venue for a few hours, I can’t imagine how the staff feel having to work in that environment every day.
Treating your employees well translates in to sales. Happy employees promote happy customers who in turn buy more and stay longer in your venue. Looking after your employees goes further than just providing them with a pay cheque at the end of each week, it’s about providing them with a safe and motivating work space every day. When your work environment is too loud you are not looking after your staff, and in turn not looking after your customers.
So I either need to learn to put up with the noise or try to recreate the delicious tofu dish at home.
Tell us your thoughts. KB
Kate Bickford MD & Owner - BK AGENCY: