The Ultimate Guide To Music For Restaurants

A well-curated restaurant music playlist can be the difference between a good and a great dining experience.

From a welcoming ambience to setting the tone for a meal, restaurant background music can go a long way to enhancing a trip to a restaurant or eatery.

Not only does selecting the best music genre for restaurants entertain diners but also helps keep staff energised and motivated while underlining the characteristics and personality of a brand.

A recent survey has revealed how those businesses that played music aligned with their brand saw an increase in sales of 9.1% compared with those that just played randomly selected tracks.

The same study showed how playing music that fits the brand makes guests more likely to buy additional items. In this experiment, dessert sales rose by more than 15%.


Your Guide to the Best Restaurant Music Playlist

As part of our ultimate guide to choosing the best background music for restaurants, we’ll answer some of the essential questions behind choosing music to offer your diners a great restaurant experience.

  • Are restaurants allowed to play music?
  • How much is a music licence for a restaurant?
  • What is the best music for a restaurant?
  • What music do restaurants play?
  • What’s the best music to play in a restaurant?

We’ll also provide you with an overview of how Open Ear’s expert team can help you discover the best recipe for success when providing great restaurant background music.

Get in touch with our expert team to find out more and start your free trial.


Are Restaurants Allowed to Play Music?

Of course, playing restaurant background music can be an integral part of the dining experience. Choosing the right music for restaurant service can enhance the visit of diners as well as ensure they come back for a return visit.

According to studies, playing music in a restaurant decreases customers' tension and anxiety and increases customers' actual spending at the restaurant. Another piece of research has revealed how relaxing music played at 30 decibels increased the liking of food by 60%.

However, any business that plays a well-chosen restaurant music playlist in a public space such as a restaurant will need to arrange a music licence with PRS and PPL. This is the only way you can legally play music in your business.

How Much is a Music Licence for a Restaurant?

The cost of a music licence for a restaurant will depend on an array of different factors, from how you play your music to how many spaces you own and more. For example, if your space is part of a chain and you have multiple establishments, then you will need to pay more to cover the costs of your restaurant background music.

You can find out more here.


What is the Best Music for a Restaurant?

The best background music for restaurants will be influenced by an array of different factors. These include:

  • The market your restaurant caters for
  • The style of food you offer
  • Your restaurant’s chosen ambience
  • The type of diners you want to attract
  • The time of day you’re serving food

It’s important to remember to update your music for your restaurant to respond to what is happening in your space, whether that be the type of food you are serving or how many diners are in a room. A good restaurant music playlist will not be static - instead it will change and be regularly updated to ensure.

What Music do Restaurants Play?

The best music genre for a restaurant can depend on the type of restaurant it is played in and on the huge range of different types of dining experiences now available.

If you’re looking for a specific playlist that can enhance your brand, then you can work with a curation service such as Open Ear.

Our in-house team is full of music experts capable of curating a great restaurant music playlist that not only engage customers but also expose them to new and exciting sounds to ensure your business stands out from any competitors.

The Cross London

What’s the Best Music to Play in a Restaurant?

You need to ensure that your music helps to emphasise your great restaurant experience. The sounds coming out of the speakers need to work in tandem with what you serve. Otherwise the dining experience could be negatively impacted.

Here are some reasons why you should invest in sourcing the best background music for your restaurant in your business venture:

- Match your music with your brand

Consider what kind of message you want to convey with your restaurant background music. From serving breakfast on a Monday morning to roast dinners on a Sunday, diners may well be able to enjoy different experiences in your establishment. All will be enhanced by great service and striking interiors - and your choice of restaurant background music can be just as important in providing positive perceptions of your brand as these other elements.

- Engage your diners eating and drinking

Selecting the best background music for restaurants can influence the ways in which your customers behave in your establishment. As a restaurant, you need to work with your music curators to create a soundtrack that keeps your customers eating and drinking for longer.


- Manage energy levels in your space

If you have a queue of diners waiting to get into your restaurant, then playing fast-tempo music can help turn over tables faster. Guests can think they may have been dining for longer than they have and are ready to leave if the restaurant background music is suitably upbeat. This can be an effective approach if your business is busy.

- Enhance staff morale

While diners can be influenced by the kind of music chosen for a restaurant music playlist, it can also shape the behaviour of staff as well. Working in a restaurant can be enhanced by well-chosen and diverse music for restaurants that regularly changes and reacts to what is happening within a space. This includes improving staff morale and keeping them focused and engaged with what is happening within a business.

Buzzworks Troons

Can I Play Spotify in My Restaurant?

No, the terms and conditions that you agree to when registering for an account with the streaming service states that these services are for personal, non-commercial use only. This means you are not legally allowed to play music from this service in your space.

Visit the Spotify website to find out more.

Case Studies of Music in Restaurants

Our team has worked with several major restaurant brands to curate the best restaurant music playlists to enhance their brands.

san carlo restaurant

San Carlo

Our expert team at Open Ear curates the music for three restaurants brands - San Carlo which focuses on modern jazz and ambient music, Fumo with more contemporary electronic music and Chicchetti which combines both of these different styles.

Open Ear spent time visiting each site to get a full insight of the customer, different atmospheres and trading times. This research was used to inform a unique playlist and music schedule for each venue at different times of the day.

Alessandro DiStefano, Co-Owner, San Carlo Group, said:

We chose Open Ear based on their ability to understand both our growing business and the music brief given. I am pleased to say that on the performance of the music profile across the trial sites, we rolled out the Open Ear music service to all of our restaurants. Their music knowledge and account management has been a real support to the San Carlo Group.

Wahaca Case Study


Open Ear has worked with Wahaca for more than nine years on creating the soundtrack. Initially, the music was predominantly Latin, albeit with a westernised lens, and tracks were selected to appeal to an open minded customer who wanted a fun, modern and fresh experience.

Around four years ago, the founders adjusted the brief to include a balance of westernised and latin music, mostly ranging from contemporary left field pop, electronica, beats and soul.

Meet our Expert Team of Gym Music Curators

Our leading professionals and music industry playlist curators can help you harness the power of music. Doing so means that your restaurant music playlist is always on-brand and your customers maximise enjoyment from their dining experience.

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