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Noisy Restaurants


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#61 cookingdiva

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 08:05 AM

Here in our country (Philippines), most customers will consider it rude if the restaurant is so noisy. We just want to relax and eat peacefully. I think it's much better if restaurants would be a relaxing background music that's not loud. It will allow the customers to easily hear each other. Plus, customers will be more relaxed without realizing that it's because of the music. :)


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#62 patrickamory

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 03:40 PM

It is the curse of NYC dining.

 

There was a recent article, I think in the Times, pointing to research showing that people chew faster and eat more quickly in noisy settings, which of course enables restaurants to turn tables faster and make more money.

 

People also consume more alcohol in those settings - I know I do, it's one way to deal with the pounding chaos around you - and that is where the biggest profit margins are.

 

Sadly some of the restaurants serving the best food in New York these days have reflective surfaces, no carpeting, tables very close together, and loud music. The recent trend is also not to take reservations. So incredibly frustrating.



#63 YoungPate

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 11:56 AM

In my personal opinion, for most fast-casual or even mildly casual restaurants, there should be a faint murmur of noise that will allow for certain activities to be overlooked, such as the clatter of tables being cleared and communication among the staff. There really is no "ideal design", the design needs to be amorphous, or able to adjust to the restaurant's architecture and demographic. If you have a dining room with high-vaulted ceilings that causes reverberation and amplifies noise, you will probably be trying to mitigate the noise through the use of tapestries or roof tiling. If the dining room is so quiet customers feel compelled to whisper, they probably feel awkward as well, so try to supplement it with non-lyrical music. The purpose of ambient noise is to create a gentle lull so that customers can focus on what matters most, the conversation at their table and not be distracted by everything surrounding them. 


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#64 sculptor

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 01:36 PM

Some restaurants have noisy sections so that part of the restaurant can be avoided. Some otherwise noisy restaurants have off hours when they are fine to dine at. I don't like having to dine were the noise level makes me feel ill and I generally won't return to such restaurants. Noise levels that high are simply an example of bad management at work.


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#65 weinoo

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 01:39 PM

Noise levels that high are simply an example of bad management at work.

Yes, try to tell that to some of the most successful restaurateurs in New York City.  And DC, for that matter.


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#66 gfweb

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 01:59 PM

Yes. Successful restaurants are often noisy, but I wonder if anyone can separate whether noise is a result of success or the cause of it. I think it is the former.  I am aware t hat restaurant consultants say it is part of the package that leads to success, but are they just bullshitting or do they actually know?

 

As an aside, I was in a painfully noisy place a while ago. My table was shouting to barely be heard. I measured the decibel level with an app on my android. After 20 minutes the noise seemed more bearable, I measured the sound again. It was exactly the same.  So we accommodated to the noise and it became tolerable if not desirable.



#67 huiray

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Posted 31 October 2014 - 01:48 AM

http://chowhound.cho...m/topics/834646

http://chowhound.cho...m/topics/731338

 

For myself, noisy restaurants - especially where the clientele is of a certain "beautiful people" type are places not for food but for being seen.  Young people also seem to equate quiet places with fuddy-duddy-ness --- well, dear people, that's fine, just stay out of such quiet places then and you can diss them to your heart's content - but I will not care one whit about your misplaced ramblings.

 

As for the other considerations - such as moving clientele along, as referred to above and in those links I gave - that is something that one can choose to acquiesce in or not.   In this context I would note that Hakkasan in NYC has been reported often as having a deafening modernist-type sound track quite unlike what one might think of as a serene Chinese atmosphere - and the "beautiful people" appear to like it.



#68 Mjx

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Posted 31 October 2014 - 03:34 AM

 

. . . . what one might think of as a serene Chinese atmosphere. . . .

 

In Indiana, Chinese restaurants may be havens of peace, but in NYC, some of the most spectacularly noisy restaurants are the authentically Chinese ones, and they know not serenity of any sort. They're packed, so clearly, this is at least accepted, and for all I know, the noise level is a deliberate aspect of the business model.


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#69 liuzhou

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Posted 31 October 2014 - 05:19 AM

In Indiana, Chinese restaurants may be havens of peace, but in NYC, some of the most spectacularly noisy restaurants are the authentically Chinese ones, and they know not serenity of any sort. They're packed, so clearly, this is at least accepted, and for all I know, the noise level is a deliberate aspect of the business model.

 

Yes, as I mentioned before, 热闹 rè nào (literally hot and noisy) is considered an essential part of restaurant culture in China.

 

The noise can be deafening. Especially at 饮茶 or "morning tea". where people eat dim sum. 


Edited by liuzhou, 31 October 2014 - 05:22 AM.


#70 huiray

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Posted 31 October 2014 - 07:55 AM

In Indiana, Chinese restaurants may be havens of peace, but in NYC, some of the most spectacularly noisy restaurants are the authentically Chinese ones, and they know not serenity of any sort. They're packed, so clearly, this is at least accepted, and for all I know, the noise level is a deliberate aspect of the business model.

 

But that is comparing apples to oranges. I suppose I should have placed double quotes around that phrase in question.  Even in Indiana there are Chinese restaurants that get pretty loud on the weekends when Chinese families pour in.  I've been in any number of Chinese restaurants in Chicago and (since we're talking about it) NYC with deafening noise levels.  But Hakkasan positions itself as high end sophisticated Chinese fine dining geared somewhat towards Western sensibilities and Michelin inspectors.  The appropriate comparison would be another high-end fine dining restaurant of that sort.  Maybe even something like Tin Lung Heen or Lung King Heen in Hong Kong, perhaps. (There are no other high-end Chinese restaurants with the sort of decor or aspirations in NYC, I think, that Hakkasan professes)


Edited by huiray, 31 October 2014 - 09:32 AM.


#71 dcarch

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Posted 31 October 2014 - 01:21 PM

"------the noise level is a deliberate aspect of the business model.---"

 

I don't think so. It is about extreme real estate costs for retail space, so they pack the tables as closely as possible. It is about maintenance costs. Hard reflective surfaces are much easier for cleaning.

 

"----Chinese restaurants that get pretty loud on the weekends when Chinese families pour in---"

Table sharing is a common practice. They don't even ask you.

 

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#72 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 31 October 2014 - 01:43 PM

Yes. Successful restaurants are often noisy, but I wonder if anyone can separate whether noise is a result of success or the cause of it. I think it is the former.  I am aware t hat restaurant consultants say it is part of the package that leads to success, but are they just bullshitting or do they actually know?

 

 

Can't it be a little bit of both? In Melbourne we have many popular restaurants that deliberately adopt a 'club'-like atmosphere. The music is loud. The diners are loud. Small, tightly-packed tables. There's no attempt to deaden the noise. These places aren't fine dining: merely casual places. If you want to eat there the lunch/early evening is usually pleasant enough--even serene, for want of a better word--but as the crowd pours in the music is cranked. The atmosphere is clearly intended to be part of the appeal. And, you know what? It works in Melbourne just as well as it works in New York and DC and (probably) everywhere else. 


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#73 Michael S.

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Posted 01 November 2014 - 12:47 PM

Here is OSHAs noise reg. It wouldn't surprise me if many restaurants exceed it.

https://www.osha.gov...dards&p_id=9735

 

I realise this post is old, but those numbers are unreasonably high, in England and the EU we have a limit of 80dBA and after that measures have to be taken to reduce the noise level. 90dBA is quite loud - I doubt many restaurants would be exceeding that. *Edit* forgot to ask - what's this standard for? Workplace noise I'd guess. Hope it's been updated recently to a lower level.

 

Also RE dcarch's comment about there not being many ways to keep noise down in a room - there are quite a lot, it's just that people don't usually bother to think of it, unfortunately. Noise transmission on the other hand, that's another beast entirely. That I would agree there aren't many ways to deal with it after construction. Considered in the design phase, it's doable. 


Edited by Michael Speleoto, 01 November 2014 - 12:49 PM.


#74 dcarch

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Posted 01 November 2014 - 01:34 PM

"-----Also RE dcarch's comment about there not being many ways to keep noise down in a room - there are quite a lot, ----"

 

Let me put it in another way. Yes there is very effective way to cut down noise, but there is a problem you cannot change.

 

​In the science of hearing and acoustics, the problem is that our hearing sensibility is logarithmic in response.

 

Our hearing can detect a change in sound level every 3 dbs; however, every 3 dbs, it represents a 100% in acoustic power. In other words, if you manage to lower the noise somewhat, you need to cut the noise energy by 100%.

 

In reverse, 1 watt of power can give you acceptable music loudness, why do you need a 500 watt amplifier?  because 2 watts is a little louder, 4 watts, slightly louder, 8 watts, 16 watts, 32 watts ----------.

 

The factors I mentioned are the most effective, but not practical ways to control noise in a restaurant environment.

 

dcarch



#75 Michael S.

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Posted 01 November 2014 - 06:30 PM

"-----Also RE dcarch's comment about there not being many ways to keep noise down in a room - there are quite a lot, ----"

 

Let me put it in another way. Yes there is very effective way to cut down noise, but there is a problem you cannot change.

 

​In the science of hearing and acoustics, the problem is that our hearing sensibility is logarithmic in response.

 

Our hearing can detect a change in sound level every 3 dbs; however, every 3 dbs, it represents a 100% in acoustic power. In other words, if you manage to lower the noise somewhat, you need to cut the noise energy by 100%.

 

In reverse, 1 watt of power can give you acceptable music loudness, why do you need a 500 watt amplifier?  because 2 watts is a little louder, 4 watts, slightly louder, 8 watts, 16 watts, 32 watts ----------.

 

The factors I mentioned are the most effective, but not practical ways to control noise in a restaurant environment.

 

dcarch

 

Going offtopic now a little bit but yes you are correct about the sound intensity (acoustic power) doubling with an increase of 3dB - but not sure why you would ever want to refer to sound intensity when discussing effects related to hearing. Sound pressure level is the appropriate unit for this (technically Phon/Sone should be used for loudness but SPL is more convenient).

2-3dB is the threshold that most people can perceive a change in loudness, but a doubling of loudness is a 10dB increase, not 3. 

 

Acoustic absorption materials are cheap and readily available and can usually be integrated into a space unintrusively and effectively. Since you're dealing with reflected sound energy adding some absorption in the right places in a room can be very effective as it's not only attenuating the first incident wave but also all subsequent ones. They also tend to be very effective around 1kHz and above - spanning the entire speech band. Lower frequencies are more difficult to treat effectively but this isn't something that should even need to be addressed in a restaurant anyway. 

Absorption should work very well for taming typical restaurant noise and shouldn't require too much of it to do a decent job. When the background noise decreases, people don't have to shout as much, and as such has a cascading effect.

There's many other things to consider but it'd probably derail the thread too much.

Keeping ontopic now -  loud restaurants were probably all designed to be that way/simply don't care/don't care enough to budget for it as it's not difficult to account for noise in a design/remodel scenario.



#76 Shalmanese

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Posted 01 November 2014 - 06:31 PM

"-----Also RE dcarch's comment about there not being many ways to keep noise down in a room - there are quite a lot, ----"
 
Let me put it in another way. Yes there is very effective way to cut down noise, but there is a problem you cannot change.
 
​In the science of hearing and acoustics, the problem is that our hearing sensibility is logarithmic in response.
 
Our hearing can detect a change in sound level every 3 dbs; however, every 3 dbs, it represents a 100% in acoustic power. In other words, if you manage to lower the noise somewhat, you need to cut the noise energy by 100%.
 
In reverse, 1 watt of power can give you acceptable music loudness, why do you need a 500 watt amplifier?  because 2 watts is a little louder, 4 watts, slightly louder, 8 watts, 16 watts, 32 watts ----------.
 
The factors I mentioned are the most effective, but not practical ways to control noise in a restaurant environment.
 
dcarch


Restaurant noise is a strong feedback look though, as diners in a loud restaurant will shout to be heard, making the overall noise even louder. So even small changes in design can have big changes in the resulting sound level.
PS: I am a guy.

#77 dcarch

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Posted 01 November 2014 - 08:10 PM

Not off topic at all. I am pointing out that noisy restaurant is not designed to be noisy because it is good for business. 

 

And I am repeating more than once: 

 

1. retail commercial rental is extremely expensive, they have to pack as many tables as possible in the dinning room.

 

2. When you pack people close, the inverse square law of energy disputation works against you. Every time you half the distance, I think you increase 6 DBs (I need to check, doing by memory)

 

3. Sound absorption is not that effective in a small enclosure.  If someone is yelling near you, you can have 10 tons of absorption around you and will do you no good. Again, all surfaces in a restaurant need to be maintained well. I am not sure what acoustic material is washable.

 

"2-3dB is the threshold that most people can perceive a change in loudness, but a doubling of loudness is a 10dB increase, not 3. "

 

Please read what I said.  I said 3 db is doubling acoustic power, not doubling loudness.

 

dcarch



#78 DiggingDogFarm

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Posted 01 November 2014 - 08:47 PM

If the food is so boring as to make "noise" is a distraction...maybe it's not the best restaurant.  :smile:


Edited by DiggingDogFarm, 01 November 2014 - 08:47 PM.

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#79 gfweb

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Posted 26 July 2015 - 05:12 AM

Interesting piece

http://www.philly.co...ing_louder.html



#80 dcarch

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Posted 26 July 2015 - 05:49 AM

 

That article is full of errors, which is to be expected. Generally acoustic is a very difficult science, a typical writer will not be able to understand what are truths and what are myths.

 

For instance:

 

As far as I know, it is impossible to have practical "sound-absorbent paint".

 

There are effective noise canceling ear phones using electronics, and noise reducing equipment for rooms for repetitive (machine) noise control, but I am not sure there are ways to control random noise in a room packed with noisy customers. 

 

dcarch


Edited by dcarch, 26 July 2015 - 05:57 AM.


#81 gfweb

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Posted 26 July 2015 - 06:10 AM

I know how to control the noise. Its really old tech.

 

1. Keep the damn music lower.

 

2. Carpet as much as you can. Doesn't have to be everything, there's still room for design and concept and such.

 

3. Pad the ceiling.

 

The real issue is the restaurant has to care about the issue and not just nod at it.  I'd love to see some proof that noisy = profitable.


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#82 dcarch

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Posted 26 July 2015 - 07:22 AM

I know how to control the noise. Its really old tech.

 

1. Keep the damn music lower.

 

2. Carpet as much as you can. Doesn't have to be everything, there's still room for design and concept and such.

 

3. Pad the ceiling.

 

The real issue is the restaurant has to care about the issue and not just nod at it.  I'd love to see some proof that noisy = profitable.

 

Again, it is very expensive real estate costs for a good retail locations. There is a need to pack people as close as possible.

 

Assuming you are in an open space, which is by definition 100% acoustic absorptive  (no reflected sound what so ever), if you pack people close together, they will still try to out shout each other.

 

The three most effective noise control methods, none practical: It has very little to do with design.

 

1. Tell people to shut up.

 

2. Acoustic barrier - A wall between noise sources.

 

3. Distance between noise sources. (inverse square law).

 

Noise control may be old tech, but the science of acoustics, an adiabatic thermodynamic process, is difficult to be understood.

 

dcarch


Edited by dcarch, 26 July 2015 - 07:42 AM.


#83 adey73

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Posted 28 July 2015 - 09:54 AM

I've got a universal explanation for noisy restaurants (and you know where you can all PM me for my abuse)....

 

...... They're called 'Americans'. You might have heard them in any restaurant, in any city on the globe. 

 

They're the ones who can't string a sentence together without shouting the word "like" every 3 seconds or "Oh my God" and referring to their Mothers as "Dude".


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#84 lindag

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Posted 28 July 2015 - 10:13 AM

I won't go back to a noisy restaurant.  There are simply too many choices available; just as I wouldn't go back to a restaurant with bad food, I don't have to endure that. 

Went to a nice restaurant with another couple and the din was so bad we could barely talk to each other, now that's just ridiculous!


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#85 gulfporter

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Posted 28 July 2015 - 12:54 PM

I've got a universal explanation for noisy restaurants (and you know where you can all PM me for my abuse)....

 

...... They're called 'Americans'. You might have heard them in any restaurant, in any city on the globe. 

 

They're the ones who can't string a sentence together without shouting the word "like" every 3 seconds or "Oh my God" and referring to their Mothers as "Dude".

A bit unfair. 

 

In most circumstances the loudest customers are those on their 3rd round of drinks before ordering food, regardless of nationality.  

 

I am a global traveler and I would not attribute all loud customers as being Americans.  I tend to travel where other Americans do not, so I have heard plenty of noisy non-Americans around the globe and yes, even here in the USA.  

 

As far as restaurant noise from other sources, we WILL NOT go to restaurants with live music.  It is rarely very good and more often than not, louder than it needs to be.  

 

We also eschew restaurants with too loud canned music, though we love ambient music and I don't mean 'elevator music.'  One Italian eatery here plays vintage Sinatra and so-called 'mob hits' music and it's delightful.  A Mexican restaurant we used to frequent in Tucson played mariachi music.  Just as you "eat with your eyes," hearing music from the same culture as the food you are eating imparts a very nice ambiance.  We have heard some very good Indian, Thai and Vietnamese music (among others) at eateries and it always adds to the dining experience.  

 

PS:  If I hear hip hop or rap (I refuse to call either of them "music") when I walk into a restaurant, I turn around and leave.  


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#86 huiray

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Posted 28 July 2015 - 07:04 PM

 

As far as restaurant noise from other sources, we WILL NOT go to restaurants with live music.  It is rarely very good and more often than not, louder than it needs to be.  

 

Hmm. Dunno. I rather enjoy those restaurants I've been to (or even bars) with a string quartet playing or a piano being played, both in the background in most cases.  And so on.  Or, at least in the past, restaurants where the waiters were also amateur opera singers (some quite good, actually) who serenaded you with arias at times - when I might divert attention to them from my plate while not entirely ignoring what was on the plate. ;-) 

 

Or the old Diamond Jims in the Lenox in Boston where one could have a meal or cocktails+munchies while listening to the very talented piano player entertain you and take requests; or listen (in years gone by) to folks and regular performers on the operatic staff of The Boston Lyric sing there after they "got off work"...  (The place is long gone.  I miss that place.)

ETA: Of course, it didn't hurt that I would walk in and be ushered to a nice table in the corner and my usual drink (Manhattan straight up, 2 cherries) brought to me without my needing to say a word...

 

Or a Jazz bar with a nice meal/munchies as an accompaniment to the music.  I have especially fond memories of places like Ryles (Cambridge, MA) or Village Vanguard (NYC) &etc where eating aided the enjoyment of the music, often from quite well-known folks.


Edited by huiray, 28 July 2015 - 07:51 PM.

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#87 Thanks for the Crepes

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Posted 30 July 2015 - 05:15 AM

I've read some market research. Maybe I was directed to it by this thread? I'm not willing to revisit it, but it seems to support that the Madison Avenue overpaid suits think that young folks are attracted to a crowded, noisy environment, and are more willing to spend their over-abundant bucks in them. I don't even dispute it. When I was young, I also liked those surroundings.

 

Now I really don't at all. I love peace and quiet while I enjoy a meal, and seek those kinds of restaurants out.

 

adey73,

 

Since we are going there, I will qualify the loudest restaurant patrons I have ever experienced as Latin Americans. I have a favorite El Salvadoran restaurant for the food, but I can't really eat there. They blast TV's, the kids run around screaming with NO supervision, and the adults yell at each other over the din. I get takeout and adore it. The pupusas and huarachachas are favorites. They offer cabeza, tripa, salichicha, lengua, barbacoa de res o chivo, asada, many more, and the best carnitas I've had. I just can't eat in. 

 

I have a more mainstream Mexican or maybe Tex-Mex place that is quiet, but sometimes they have mariachi musicians that come tableside and muted Latina musica over a sound system. Booths are deep and comfortable, and patrons are much more subdued, enjoying their dinners and minding their kids. This is where we eat in. Major bonus: it's the only place in town to find hanger steak, which is my favorite behind perhaps a good rib eye.

 

There's room in the world for the young folks' restaurants, of course, but if I'm eating in, please bring on the peace.


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I want to move to another planet, with pure spring water.

 

This planet would have a global climate like Hawaii, California, Florida.

 

We'd raise perfect and abundant flora and fauna!

 

Want to come with?