the importance of restaurant acoustics

SonaSpray fcx acoustic spray used throughout HIDE restaurant - Credit to Andrew Meredith Photography.

The importance of quality restaurant acoustics for diners and staff

How many times have you gone to a restaurant, only to have the evening ruined by incessant noise? All the time spent getting ready, not to mention spending money on the food, only to have your companion barely hear you from across the table.

When we go to restaurants, we’re not just paying for food, we’re paying for the experience. But no matter how good the meal or service is, the experience won’t be positive if you’re subject to deafening noise all night due to poor restaurant acoustics.

It’s no surprise that this is a problem as restaurants have lots of people crammed into one space, along with waiters rushing to and fro, noises from the kitchen and the clash of knives and forks.

In this article, we’re going to cover restaurant acoustics in full. We discuss acoustic solutions for restaurants as well as restaurant acoustic design. Read on to find out more.

SonaSpray fcx in HIDE restaurant. Credit to Lusted Green & Andrew Meredith photography.

are restaurants becoming too stressful?

But it isn’t just customers that feel the strain of a noisy environment, particularly noisy restaurants. Employees can feel the impact too.

Oscar Acoustics research found that 30% of UK workers feel stressed because of noise, and that 19% have poor sleep as a result. Exposure to noise levels above 70 and 80 decibels can also cause hearing loss over time. For restaurant staff working unsociable hours in loud surroundings, this can present significant risks to their health.

Staff shortages and retention continue to play a major part in the successful re-opening of hospitality businesses – and it could pay dividends to have acoustic solutions that help reduce unnecessary stress to workers.

turning down the volume

Excess noise levels are one of the most common restaurant complaints, and the battle for a quieter restaurant has become somewhat of a sticking point for some critics. According to Action on Hearing Loss, 79% of people have experienced difficulty holding a conversation while eating out, while 91% said they would not return to venues where noise levels were too high. These stats confirm the need for good restaurant acoustics.

Audiologists state that the ideal ambient volume for a comfortable conversation is 55 to 65 dB, but when sound passes the 70 dB threshold (the equivalent to the sound of a moving truck), it becomes difficult to maintain a conversation. Based on their findings, some restaurants have even recorded noise levels as high as 95 dB or louder – the same as a jet plane taking off a mere 305 metres away.

Restaurant owners will need to be mindful that many customers may prefer quieter dining settings. With the correct restaurant acoustic design in place, both staff and customers can be easily heard, so there’s no need to shout, or get too close, making it a more pleasant experience for everyone involved.

acoustic solutions for restaurants

taking noise off the menu with restaurant acoustic designs

Thankfully, there are a myriad of options available to those looking to turn down the volume within their establishment and with a greater focus on restaurant acoustics than ever before, now is the time to reassess your sound levels.

It’s often the case that hard, flat surfaces are the menace in terms of noise reverberation, causing echoes and allowing sound to travel. Acoustics sprays and acoustic plasters that absorb sound energy instead of reflecting it can help control overall noise levels to create a calmer atmosphere.

Importantly, they also allow greater clarity of speech and music, allowing everyone to be heard. Their seamless and decorative finish enables restaurant owners to achieve excellent acoustics without compromising on design.

Available in a range of finishes from exceptionally smooth to flat, lightly textured surfaces, a good quality acoustic spray can be applied to nearly all substrates, be it wood, steel sheet or concrete, making it a highly versatile option for modern hospitality interiors.

What’s more, installation is quick and easy and requires very little in terms of upkeep, making it an ideal busy restaurant acoustics solution. It’s also a good idea to look out for fire certifications. Some of the best acoustic spray products on the market will be A2-s1, d0 and Class 0 fire-rated to BS476.

elegant acoustic ceiling design in restaurants

Many restaurants are also installing ‘infinity knife edge’ trims for dramatic transitions between ceiling heights, elegant, recessed lighting channels, perfect corners and a seamless slimline ceiling finish.

These also help to hide bulky ceiling constructions and minimise unwanted shadows and reflections. Look out for razor edge trims that can be used with both conventional and acoustic plasters to ensure your restaurant sounds as good as it looks.

Investing in acoustic comfort shows that customer and staff wellbeing is front of mind. Diners who enjoy a pleasant dining experience will recommend the venue, and keep coming back for more.

our restaurant acoustic projects

At Oscar Acoustics, we’ve had the privilege of working with a range of restaurant owners in order to improve their acoustic performance during service. These restaurants include Dishoom, Ottolenghi, Byron Burger, Hide, and Tish.


By applying our SonaSpray fcx acoustic treatment, Dishroom in Manchester were able to provide a more comfortable dining experience for its customers.

Learn more about our Dishoom acoustic project


Popular premium restaurant chain Ottolenghi employed us to help improve the acoustic treatment of both its ROVI and NOPI restaurants in London through the use of SonaSpray.

Learn more about our Ottolenghi acoustic project

byron burger

SonaSpray K-13 acoustic spray helped Byron Burger in Manchester control noise and reverberation with ease, all without compromising on design.

Learn more about our Byron Burger acoustic project


We achieved seamless acoustic decorative finishes in HIDE restaurant, which helped owners control noise reverberation across their restaurant floor.

Learn more about our HIDE restaurant acoustic project


Tish restaurant wanted better noise control without compromising on design. We installed our Oscar Elite acoustic plaster to achieve just this.

Learn more about our Tish restaurant acoustic project

get in touch

If you’re interested in improving your restaurant acoustics then please get in touch. One of our expert team will survey your restaurant and will be able to guide you on which of our acoustic products is best to use.

get in touch with us

Trust the acoustic specialists at Oscar Acoustics to help you find the right solution for your next project.