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National Restaurant Association - Listen up: Tips for reducing noise in your restaurant

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Listen up: Tips for reducing noise in your restaurant

At a restaurant, noise can be unwanted and jarring, adversely affecting the carefully planned ambience of your operation. Reducing unwanted noise is simply a matter of selectively reducing certain sounds, such as those that come from conversation, the heating and air-conditioning systems, equipment, side-station clatter or music from an adjoining venue.

Strategic placement of machines emitting constant noises, such as ice machines with compressors that go off and on, can minimize the cumulative effect of sound. For example, if you have a small restaurant with the dining room adjacent to the bar, you  may want to consider purchasing an ice machine with a roof-mounted condenser.

If, for aesthetic or concept reasons, you selected a hard surface like wood or tile for your dining room floors, consider installing carpeting in high-traffic areas to reduce footstep noises outside restrooms or in the waiting area. 

Other hard surfaces, including marble and granite, are elegant, but bounce sound like a ping pong paddle. If you have a hard floor, install a soft ceiling. You can use acoustical ceiling finishes or baffles of foam and cloth hung from above.

If your restaurant has a number of windows, it is important to know that the glass tends to reflect sound. Because of that, you might consider hanging textured wall surfaces or coverings that would dampen the noise level. Window treatments, such as valances and curtains, will also perform the same function. Even placing a sound-absorbing material, such as foam or carpet remnants, under seats provides a sound-dampening function.

Remember, the trick is to employ techniques that do not interfere with the concept or aesthetics of your restaurant.

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