Music for Restaurants — Case Study

Red Rooster

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The Backstory

Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson brought his famous Red Rooster restaurant to London’s Curtain Hotel in 2018. Music is a key part of the Red Rooster experience.


What We Did

We listened to Marcus’ story and learned about how his upbringing defines the Red Rooster brand. Marcus is part-Ethiopian, part-Swedish and US-born which immediately presented us with an exciting, diverse range of music to use.

We spent time on site to gain a first-hand understanding of Red Rooster’s brand identity, target customer demographic, trading patterns and visual design. We conducted listening sessions in the venue to get a better sense of how the playlists work in their environment and discuss immediate feedback with the staff and management.

We then curated a music selection that told Marcus’ story: mixing old-school hip-hop from the streets of Harlem, classic soul and blues from the American South, and a sprinkle of Swedish rap and Ethiopian jazz as a nod to Marcus’ heritage.

Topical Playlists

Playlists respond to the live music programme in the restaurant, with a specially curated gospel playlist on Sunday afternoons, and alternating soul, Afrobeat and reggae playlists throughout the week to warm up for the live entertainment.

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Customer Connect

Following a series of excellent reviews, with customers wanting to know more about their music, Open Ear presented Red Rooster the opportunity to tell their musical story via our exclusive partnership with Shazam. Using the new Shazam code technology, customers can access the playlists directly on their mobile, identify the songs currently playing in the restaurant and get the playlists sent directly to their own email address.

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Red Rooster printed the codes on their menus, business cards and on window displays visible to customers as they entered the restaurant. This helped place music firmly at the core of the dining experience and gave customers a chance to engage with the Red Rooster's musical identity outside of the restaurant.

"Customer Connect makes so much sense and adds a nice element of interaction and the chance for our guests take the restaurant experience home."

Kayslin LawsonOperations Director, Red Rooster London/New York

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