Background music and bar stools

What do the two have in common? Mood, to put it simply.  According to The Guardian, the business of background music is booming, and for those with a talent for picking playlists there’s plenty of money to made. Similarly, The Independent described how the design and placement of commercial bar furniture in the hospitality industry can be absolutely integral to profits.

How can it be so that you could have a phenomenal chef, product, location and branding but almost certainly fail? Psychology, stupid. The psychology of dining out or drinking is complex but when simple things are done well it can have a make or break effect on your business.

Music to your ears

Frankly, whilst you probably believe that you’re pretty good at picking mood music for your restaurant or bar, the chances are not only are you not very good, but that your musical knowledge is so limited as to potentially harm your business.

Rob Wood is the founder and creative director of Music Concierge, a company that describes itself as a musical design consultancy but are also known as experiential designers. Clients include iconic fashion brands, such as Harvey Nichols and Mulberry, and luxury London hotels, such as the Connaught and the Savoy.

In an interview for The Guardian, Wood displays an example of his work with the restaurant Dishroom which described itself as a “postmodern homage to colonial-era India”. In order to encourage an association with the heritage and branding of the bar and restaurant that cultivated loyalty and an undefined sense of “coolness” Wood picked a playlist consisting of a genre known as ‘exotica’. According to Wood, exotica is an American-born, 1950s style music, which refracts world music influences through a western lens.

So far so niche right? But that’s what Wood exists to do. Whilst we’re not suggesting that you go out and spend thousands on a music consultant the point stands that rather an afterthought or extension of your own personal tastes, the music you play must reflect a number of things tied to your branding and the mood you want to create because ultimately it can make all the difference.

Commercial bar furniture

Try reading that phrase out loud to yourself and not getting bored – commercial bar furniture – and yet it really will prove to be one of the most important decisions you take in either building your new business or refurbishing one that already exists.

Psychology, plain and simple, explains how the layout, colours, branding, food, menus…everything, will make your customers feel. If they feel comfortable and flattered they’re likely to stay, if they feel exposed and uncomfortable you’ll see your average spend drop through the floor.

Talking to The Independent, Tom Strother, creative director of Fabled Studio describes the process of selecting chairs and stools when he says “The comfort level of furniture is also often used to encourage different dwell times in restaurants. With more formal dining we design furniture to support and hold the guests comfortably for long dining experiences”

The look, colour, design, placement and height of a bar stool will evoke enormously different emotions depending on the variables you choose. It’s all well and good, for example, designing and opening a premium American restaurant and bar but if the bar stools you pick are from a living room-style cocktail bar they’ll look out of place and uncomfortable creating a jarring experience.

In the end, it pays to think of the small details.

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