3 Restaurant Sound System Pitfalls to Avoid

Create an Audio Solution that Works for You, Not Against You

What makes a restaurant attractive? A delicious menu and quality customer service are staples to a successful eatery, but so is the ambiance. Creating an atmosphere that encourages guests to relax, engage, and celebrate with loved ones is a key component of the dining industry.

Music molds the ambiance you wish to create for your guests. We can bet you’ve never been to a popular restaurant or café in Ogden, UT that didn’t have music playing in the background. Even if you don’t notice it, music is the liaison that helps keep conversation flowing (and customers buying).

If you’re looking to add a quality commercial sound system to your restaurant, be sure to avoid these pitfalls that can quickly work against you if you’re not careful.

SEE ALSO: Which Outdoor Speakers Will Work Best for Your Restaurant?

Uneven Coverage

While music is key to defining the mood of your restaurant, you don’t want music to drown out your menu. You also don’t want chatter and ambient noise to drown out your music. Restaurant music should be just loud enough to hear and enjoy without overpowering conversation or tastes.

To accomplish this, music should spread evenly from corner to corner of your restaurant. The wrong speaker type and placement can cause loud localized sound in certain areas and dead spots in others. Rather than placing a few large speakers in the main dining area, opt for several smaller ceiling or wall-mount speakers that disperse music evenly as guests walk from their table to the bar to the restroom.

Stereo Audio

Stereo audio, versus mono audio, uses a left and right channel speaker when converting a signal into sound. Stereo separation between these two speakers creates a more detailed, spatial music experience for the listeners who are positioned evenly between these two speakers. Perhaps you want to bring the  more immersive stereo sound experience to your restaurant.

The problem with choosing a stereo setup for your restaurant, even in a smaller area like the bar, is that patrons will still be seated at different distances from the left and right speakers. Some may hear too much of some instruments while others may hear too little of others, resulting in an uneven listening experience. For this reason, your restaurant audio system should use mono signals, or just one channel, to distribute all sounds and frequencies to every speaker.

Note: You could also use speakers that have left and right channels built into a single unit, which can create a more immersive listening experience without the need for two separate speakers.

Disregarding Music Licensing Laws

When your sound system is installed and ready to use, make sure you’re well versed in music licensing laws, which dictate that restaurants and other venues must pay record companies for the right to play music within their establishment. That includes streaming services like Pandora and Apple Music, too.

Playing music in your restaurant without paying, even from your own CD collection, is illegal. You’ll need to pay performing rights organizations (PROs) licensing fees for permission to play music. Streaming services like Pandora and SiriusXM offer business plans that with approved licensing from the music industry, which can be an easier and less expensive option should you want to bypass having to research licensing fees.


Leave the details to a professional like AVWORX to design and install the perfect sound system for your floor plan and budget. Learn more about our commercial audio-video services by reaching out here or using the chat box below to speak to a team member today. We’d love to help you with your project.