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Alex

How Restaurants Got So Loud

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There's a very good article in The Guardian today about restaurant noise, including information about a sound-reporting app.

 

Quote

To make restaurateurs appreciate the value of bringing sound levels down, the perception that noise equals “everybody’s having fun” needs challenging. “Noise doesn’t create the atmosphere,” Meloni insists. “The atmosphere is created by the waiters and the managers.”

 

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Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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@Alex  The comments make for some interesting reading.  Thanks for posting this.

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On 4/17/2019 at 8:41 AM, dcarch said:

I still think expensive rent, health department inspections in city environment require  highly packed seating and hard reflective surfaces for cleaning.

 

The health dept doesn't care if there are upholstered booths and carpet in the dining room as long as the kitchen is easily cleanable.

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I blame brainless consultants who apply their brainless formulae to every restaurant who  is clueless enough to hire them. Brainless consultants are a blot on business in the US. 

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Excellent article in this past Monday's Washington Post

 

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Under Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act, restaurants — as places of public accommodation — must accommodate disabilities. But what if the disability is a hearing impairment, and the request is for a lower volume? On this issue, the law has largely remained silent.

 

Hard-of-hearing diners report a vast range of responses when they seek softer music or quieter seating. Sometimes the music is turned down or off, and sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it is even turned up. Maybe the volume is declared unchangeable, set by corporate overseers. Or there’s no available seating far from the clattering kitchen, the droning ventilation, the hearty partyers.

 

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Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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On 11/29/2018 at 4:38 AM, liuzhou said:

"Morning tea' or 'yum cha' is particularly noisy. Retired people get together to drink tea, eat dim sum and have a good shout at each other.

 

 

This is true all over Florida too! Some of our retirees prefer not to wear hearing aids, and breakfast especially seems like a lively shouting match!

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12 hours ago, fondue said:

 

This is true all over Florida too! Some of our retirees prefer not to wear hearing aids, and breakfast especially seems like a lively shouting match!

I would take my mom out for breakfast at a local popular diner and sometimes we were seated near the bar (where single senior men would sit to eat so they didn't have to take up a table), I would have to remind the men during their arguments about the news of the day that there were ladies present and they needed to watch their language and volume. I think they were used to their single lives and would get so wrapped up in their conversations/arguments that civility seemed to fly out the window. ;)

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“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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In the one dinner I got to go to during my abbreviated visit, @Alex, Mrs. Alex, @cyalexa and I went to Vicia, where the food was most excellent (and I had the best sorbet I've ever had in my life). But my enjoyment of the meal was hampered by the fact the restaurant was so loud. There are no soft surfaces to soak up sound, thus it was difficult to hold a conversation at the table, particularly for those of us who are somewhat hearing challenged.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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12 minutes ago, kayb said:

In the one dinner I got to go to during my abbreviated visit, @Alex, Mrs. Alex, @cyalexa and I went to Vicia, where the food was most excellent (and I had the best sorbet I've ever had in my life). But my enjoyment of the meal was hampered by the fact the restaurant was so loud. There are no soft surfaces to soak up sound, thus it was difficult to hold a conversation at the table, particularly for those of us who are somewhat hearing challenged.

 

 

You think that was loud? You should have been at Billie | Jean the previous night with Ms. Alex and me. Vicia was a library compared to that. Neither of us is hearing challenged (although this card graces our fridge), but a normal conversation was next to impossible. But like Vicia, the food and service were excellent. 


Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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@Alex  Thanks for that link, I didn't know that place existed.  I'm going to order some cards from there.

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Another take on noise levels in restaurants

 

“Trying to talk over clamouring plates and the hum of background music while also dealing with first-date jitters can be daunting.

 

"You're kind of setting yourself up for failure," said Gregory Scott, who has hearing loss.

The anxiety he felt in such situations spurred the New Yorker into action around four years ago.”

Click

 

 


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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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Every so often i see an ad or a commercial that doesn't resonate and I've come to respond, "If I don't like it, it isn't aimed at me."   The same is true with restaurants today.    Loud noise is intentional as it creates a party atmosphere that the target diner enjoys/requires.   God forbid you have to make conversation with your date or partner!      I read over and over that to a restaurateur, a quiet dining room is an anathema.   

 

It's a shame since I really like young, hip food, just not young, hip contrived party atmosphere.

 

 

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eGullet member #80.

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Last weekend DH and I ate at a very small (26 seats) seafood restaurant which was excellent (Two Fish in Haddonfield, NJ) but with the wood floor, wood tables, and wood chairs, the sound quality was awful. More so because we were only a couple of feet away from a party of 6 in the center of the small room. And a couple of people at that table were getting loud, slapping a hand on the table to make a point, clank as the tableware rattled from the blow. The restaurant certainly isn’t striving for a “party” atmosphere, it would have been less uncomfortable if some sound absorbing materials had been incorporated in to the design. I don’t expect to eat in a room that feels like a hushed, sacred space...but I would like to not feel like I have to raise my voice to have a conversation. I really enjoyed my meal, but I would hesitate to return due to the lack of comfort for my ears (and butt...man, those wood seats are brutal). 

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"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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3 hours ago, BeeZee said:

Last weekend DH and I ate at a very small (26 seats) seafood restaurant which was excellent (Two Fish in Haddonfield, NJ) but with the wood floor, wood tables, and wood chairs, the sound quality was awful. More so because we were only a couple of feet away from a party of 6 in the center of the small room. And a couple of people at that table were getting loud, slapping a hand on the table to make a point, clank as the tableware rattled from the blow. The restaurant certainly isn’t striving for a “party” atmosphere, it would have been less uncomfortable if some sound absorbing materials had been incorporated in to the design. I don’t expect to eat in a room that feels like a hushed, sacred space...but I would like to not feel like I have to raise my voice to have a conversation. I really enjoyed my meal, but I would hesitate to return due to the lack of comfort for my ears (and butt...man, those wood seats are brutal). 

Exactly.  Make it a pleasant environment and I’ll come back.

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I have not tried this, but I think this will work.

 

In a very noisy restaurant, you and your companion both use your cell phones with earphones to carrying on your conversation.

 

The cell phones have noise cancelling microphones and you can whisper into the microphones,  and in-ear earphones cut out all background noise.

 

 dcarch

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31 minutes ago, weinoo said:

I prefer the Cone of Silence, as popularized by Maxwell Smart...

 

 

 

Sadly, tight-fisted restaurateurs are seldom willing to invest in those any more... :P

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“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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6 hours ago, chromedome said:

 

Sadly, tight-fisted restaurateurs are seldom willing to invest in those any more... :P

 

Then you use the coughing code.

 

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On 11/9/2019 at 6:57 PM, BeeZee said:

 I really enjoyed my meal, but I would hesitate to return due to the lack of comfort for my ears (and butt...man, those wood seats are brutal). 

 

Having lost a bunch of weight about three years ago, and as a result, having much less built-in butt padding than I once did, I avoid hard wooden chairs like the plague. I'm a confirmed booth-sitter.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

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