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Restaurant Noise

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John Ranalletta

Met my niece in a Starbucks in Lakeland, FL two weeks ago.  I asked the manager if the music volume could be lowered.  Evidently, their system doesn't have a volume control or there's a company policy; or, I've never going back.

 

I think the volume is to bother nesters who take up space for long periods.

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Danny caddyshack Noonan

Restaurant noise has always been curious to me.  Why?  It ends up with everyone talking loudly.

When we went to Europe several years ago, the restaurants were quiet and one could use muted conversation easily.  At one location, there were some "loud Americans" at another table.  It was Oktoberfest and the tents were not quiet at all.

Oh, and people brought amazingly well behaved dogs into the establishments too.

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RandyShields

+1.  I've actually left restaurants without ordering when we couldn't carry on a nice conversation.

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Whip

When did it start and why would anyone opening a restaurant want to make it noisy? 

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tallman

It started when, men stopped opening the restaurant door for a lady, people started keeping a hat on inside,  kids were "friends" not to be disciplined or instructed in civility and manners.

Sometimes it is only one grouip, or individual.

I;ve sometimes interjected myself into the conversation, literally.

When they look aghast, or askance, I merely tell them that if they don't want me in the conversation, then, keep it at their table.

 

Nowadays, too many places, you have to wade through the smokers out front (yuk), walk inside and see heads down all around.

No, not in prayer, in phonegizmo meditation. Ignoring others seated around them.

Om

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Joe Frickin' Friday
52 minutes ago, Whip said:

When did it start and why would anyone opening a restaurant want to make it noisy? 

 

Here's a good article on the history of restaurant noise.

 

Short summary: 

  • Modern interior design fashion favors room geometries and materials that don't absorb sound so well.
  • Bars and kitchens are sometimes integrated with the dining room.  It creates an entertaining atmosphere, but adds noise for diners.
  • Hard surfaces (that reflect sound nicely) are favored by restaurateurs because they're easier to clean.
  • A noisy dining room makes people eat faster and deters lingering after the meal is done, which quickly frees up the table for other paying customers.  Result, each table brings in more dollars per hour.  Granted, this is only true if/when a restaurant is so busy that there is a wait for tables.  

Some people may be less likely to come back to a noisy restaurant, and some people may choose to leave before ordering if they find a restaurant to be unpleasantly noisy.  Unfortunately those people are in the minority; the great unwashed masses enjoy eating in modern-styled dining rooms, they enjoy watching bartenders/chefs do their thing, and they enjoy the lower costs that can be offered by a dining room that's easy for the employees to clean and that moves customers through quickly by deterring post-meal loitering.  Sucks, but the trend is likely to continue.  You can still find hospitable dining environments, but ISTM they're least likely to be found in chain restaurants, and most likely to be found in high-end and/or long-established restaurants. 

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chrisolson
24 minutes ago, Joe Frickin' Friday said:

You can still find hospitable dining environments, but ISTM they're least likely to be found in chain restaurants, and most likely to be found in high-end and/or long-established restaurants. 

 

And high end joints where pushing $100 or more for dinner for 2 is the norm is not something I'll do even occasionally just to have a quiet atmosphere .... 

 

28 minutes ago, Joe Frickin' Friday said:

Modern interior design fashion favors room geometries and materials that don't absorb sound so well.

 

yep, concrete floors ,lots of windows and high ceilings with no sound absorption  ... and ... closely spaced booths or tables which is great for maximum capacity but jams folks tightly together.

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Bob Palin

Motorcyclists seem to be among the loudest of groups in restaurants, I assume it's due to hearing damage. Noise is one reason I rarely go out to group dinners any more, my hearing has been degraded enough (by riding) that I can't hear what anyone at the table is saying even if it is just slightly noisy. It's not that I'm deaf, it's that I can't pick out one voice from the others any more.

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Twisties

We generally won't go back to loud establishments.  Lively is one thing, but when you can't have a conversation it defeats the purpose.  

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RandyShields

What?

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Living the Dream

This isn't Europe where it's expected for the patron to hang out and conversate, here in America, you go in, get fed and leave. 

 

I've gone to higher $$$ establishments and I've paid $75-100 for a meal for a single person, but also, I didn't waste time sitting in there just to conversate.

 

I wear hearing aids, too many boom booms and pew pews (I generally leave them at work).  If we go to a loud restaurant, and the group conversates, I'm fine being left out because I can't make out who said what and they know that and I don't like asking "what did he/she say".  Know this, if we are in a loud place and you tell me your mother/father/dog just died, I'll likely just nod and smile at you in agreement to whatever you said as I will be hearing you, but I won't be understanding you.

 

 We generally save the conversation for other locations where we can control the volume of the background noise.  If the food is good, I'll frequent the place no matter what the volume is,....it's a compromise and preference.

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Bill_Walker
12 hours ago, Bob Palin said:

Motorcyclists seem to be among the loudest of groups in restaurants, I assume it's due to hearing damage. Noise is one reason I rarely go out to group dinners any more, my hearing has been degraded enough (by riding) that I can't hear what anyone at the table is saying even if it is just slightly noisy. It's not that I'm deaf, it's that I can't pick out one voice from the others any more.

 

I have the same problem.  Tunable hearing aids help with it, but don't completely solve it.

 

Mitch has the right of it, though.  It's the trend toward "hard" decor.

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Tank

Some of the best moments in dining out with friends , for me at least, is the time after eating to chat a bit unhurried ending with a Good Night till next time. Lucky for me, the small town eaterys here do not seem to mind , or at least are polite about it...

There is two places here in my small town I won't eat in with friends due to the level of noise

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Rider1200RT

We have about 4 or 5 places I'll never set foot in again as it is too loud. Food is great but a few sound absorbing panels on the ceilings could make a huge difference. Ii is not my loss but the restaurant's, as more people in my circle of friends have said the same and aren't returning either.

You can either accept this ceaseless noise pollution or not, but I for one let my wallet do the talking.. YMMV

 

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lawnchairboy
On 2/5/2019 at 10:22 AM, Joe Frickin' Friday said:

 

Here's a good article on the history of restaurant noise.

 

Short summary: 

  • Modern interior design fashion favors room geometries and materials that don't absorb sound so well.
  • Bars and kitchens are sometimes integrated with the dining room.  It creates an entertaining atmosphere, but adds noise for diners.
  • Hard surfaces (that reflect sound nicely) are favored by restaurateurs because they're easier to clean.
  • A noisy dining room makes people eat faster and deters lingering after the meal is done, which quickly frees up the table for other paying customers.  Result, each table brings in more dollars per hour.  Granted, this is only true if/when a restaurant is so busy that there is a wait for tables.  

Some people may be less likely to come back to a noisy restaurant, and some people may choose to leave before ordering if they find a restaurant to be unpleasantly noisy.  Unfortunately those people are in the minority; the great unwashed masses enjoy eating in modern-styled dining rooms, they enjoy watching bartenders/chefs do their thing, and they enjoy the lower costs that can be offered by a dining room that's easy for the employees to clean and that moves customers through quickly by deterring post-meal loitering.  Sucks, but the trend is likely to continue.  You can still find hospitable dining environments, but ISTM they're least likely to be found in chain restaurants, and most likely to be found in high-end and/or long-established restaurants. 

interesting.  thanks mitch.

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lawnchairboy

I have an increasingly hard time hearing in any space with a lot of folks speaking.  I have always worn hearing protection while riding, most of the time while exposed to helos and operational aircraft while in the Navy.  I DID NOT wear hearing protection for countless large venue and club ROCK AND ROLL Shows I attended, mostly in the 80's or in the bars where I worked in the same decade.  

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Mike

It’s actually been engineered into many restaurants to create a higher level of “energy” (in addition to what Mitch notes). It doesn’t work for me; either as a result of age or my USAF time on the flightline, my ability to discern others’ speech in a loud environment is shot.

 

I’ve crossed a few places off my list because of this. It’s a conscious choice on the part of the restaurateur, so I exercise my choice to go elsewhere. 

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