This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

October 9, 2019

Improving Noise Levels in Restaurants

The other day I was dining with my husband in a restaurant onboard the World Odyssey, Semester at Sea®'s ship and my husband explained why it seemed the noise level was so high. He explained that the ambient noise level starts much lower, but that people want to hear each other, so they escalate their own voices to be heard. Others then raise their voices to be heard over the din and on the volume goes----becoming louder and louder.

The Smartest Restaurants are taking steps to Reduce their Noise Levels
Thankfully, some dining venues are now using a variety of noise dampening methods to cut their noise levels. Sometimes, restaurants have turned up their music to deafening levels which only makes matters worse. In 2015, a restaurant named Monteverde opened in Chicago's West Loop; the owner Meg Sahs looked for ways to calibrate the sound.

Monteverde demonstrated What Works
She used a variety of noise-dampening methods and materials, including heavy draperies, upholstered banquette seating and even panels stuck to the bottoms of tabletops. But for Monteverde, what worked best of all was the addition of sound-absorbing acoustical panels to the ceiling of the dining room. They blend in so well that no one notices them visually, but they significantly reduce the echo of sound. Not surprisingly, Monteverde is crowded every night and is one of Chicago's restaurant success stories. The restaurant has now become a role model for others.

The Number 2 Complaint of Restaurant Guests
After I read this mention in The Robb Report, I began researching what else restaurants could do. I learned that after poor service, excessive noise levels are the next most common complaint. After all, dining is about more than just the food---it is the whole experience!

What Else Restaurants Can Do
The acoustic panels that Sahs installed in the ceiling could also be installed elsewhere; in fact, they may be added to almost any wall space to reduce the noise. I can envision upholstered wall panels designed to add to the decor of the dining establishment or even works of art. Another suggestion is to install carpet in high-traffic areas. Surprisingly, the most important areas are not in the dining room, itself, but rather the lobby/waiting area, the bar area, the area in front of the kitchen, and the area by the restrooms. Another element that can make a difference is tablecloths. Heavy tablecloths also add to the sound absorption, even in more industrial-looking settings. Finally, keep loud machinery away from the dining area and even consider measuring the sound from the heating and air conditioning system.

What's next?
At some point, I believe that noise levels will be understood for the stress inducers they are. That moment is when restauranteurs will understand that investing in reducing those noise levels is one of the most important investments they may make. It will be particularly important to restauranteurs attracting older clientele who tend to have hearing challenges. There will come a time when you walk into a restaurant and heave a sigh of relief that the low noise level is not only calming but also conducive to your enhanced enjoyment of your time there.

Special thanks to The Robb Report for raising my consciousness to this important development.

© Copyright 1998- by The Herman Group, Inc. -- reproduction for publication is encouraged, with the following attribution: From "The Herman Trend Alert," by Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist. 336-210-3548 or To sign up, visit The Herman Trend Alert is a trademark of The Herman Group, Inc."

Our author Joyce gets quoted in TIME Magazine and other national media on a regular basis. You can, too! Sign up for You will be found by the news media and in Google search: 1. Through your personal search-engine-optimized press room by 39 topics you choose; 2. By news releases pushed out 10 ways including Google News; 3. Be found in the 2020 printed Yearbook of Experts, Authorities & Spokespersons. Save 15% when you register by October 31st @

The Association of Professional Futurists proudly presents its annual online learning experiences on Full Spectrum Futures. Network with leading futurists from all over the world. And best of all, it's free to attend, though contributions are encouraged to help defray costs. For more information, visit here.

Excellent translation services from English, French, or German into Spanish. Especially well-versed in medicine/pharma and automobile industries. 5-year Bachelor Degree in Translation. Also editing and proofreading of all kinds of Spanish language documents. Flexible rates, depending on number of words, degree of difficulty/technicality, and turnaround. For an instant quote email Mariana Campora Lesti at or contact her on SKYPE at marianacampora.

To read this Herman Trend Alert on the web:

Herman Trend Alerts are produced by the Herman Group, strategic business futurists, Certified Management Consultants, authors, and professional speakers.

New subscribers are always welcome. There is no charge for this public service. The Herman Trend Alert is read by over 30,000 people in 90 countries, including other websites and printed periodicals. Click here to sign up for the Herman Trend Alert.

Do you enjoy receiving this weekly e-mail update? Contact us about our co-branded Herman Trend Alert service.

Subscribe or Unsubscribe to weekly Herman Trend Alert
View this week's Herman Trend Alert
Archived Weekly Herman Trend Alerts


[ Home About Products Resources Media ]


7112 Viridian Lane
Austin, TX 78739
Voice: 336-210-3548
Toll Free in US & Canada: 800-227-3566

  © The Herman Group. All rights reserved.

Web site design by WebEditor Design Services, Inc.