Quieting a Noisy Restaurant

We need help with restaurant noise reduction; we have concrete floors, wood and glass walls, partial wood ceiling and exposed metal roof and beams. On a weekend night it is so loud in there I have customers complaining about the noise. We are looking for materials and idea to quiet the noise. Please help!

Thank You!

Calls from restaurant owners are common looking to quiet their restaurants.

Here are some things about restaurants and the challenges they present. Most restaurants are set up to make them easy to clean and keep sanitary. The surfaces are most often hard and offer very little in the way of sound and noise absorption. When is the last time you visited a restaurant with a carpet floor? Most seating is either plastic, metal or wood and the walls are often window walls, brick or concrete with artwork to go with their theme.

Treating a restaurant can be difficult. The theme of an establishment or existing architecture is meticulously planned in advance. Little to no thought is directed toward the ambient noise level that is created in a dining area. To treat these areas after the restaurant is open and decorated can be difficult at times. Some owners are more open to adding materials that will tone down the dining experience noise levels. As long as the products can blend into the existing architecture the restaurant owners are more open to treating the areas with acoustical products. In many cases the acoustic materials can accent the rooms and give a better aesthetic look. Products such as wall panels, ceiling clouds and acoustic foam are a couple of popular options. I have installed acoustic foam on metal ceilings that are charcoal and blend into a ceiling that has been left open and painted black. This is a simple fix and has great results. It is more challenging when the space is designed to look a certain way and the product has to be added to accent the area. Many times the best approach is to offer all the different products available that will be effective and let the restaurant owner decide how they want to incorporate the treatment.

We recommend that you call Sound Control Technologies and talk with an expert. We can arrange to have samples sent to you or arrange a site visit to gather the information needed to offer all of your options. Samples are free and will help you understand how they are applied and what they will look like as an end result. Phone consultations are also free and in many cases the site visit is also offered at no cost.

How much treatment will I need?
There is no set formula to solve this question. Many times the best approach is to treat the area with sufficient wall or ceiling panels or foam and then asses the effect. The effect can be changed by adding more treatment as necessary. If the initial treatment is enough then there is no need to spend more money on extra acoustic products. The simple guideline I like to use is to treat about 20-30 percent of the available wall surface or ceiling surface. This seems to be an adequate amount of treatment based on past experience and projects. It may be enough, and you may need to add more, the exact number might take some time to figure out based on your needs and expectations for the space. This is offered as a disclaimer and meant as a guideline to start out with. Another way to determine the amount is to use the volume of the room. Take the length x width x height and multiply by 4% and this gives an approximate square footage needed for that room. Again this is not always the case and many times there is not enough available are to treat without using the entire available wall and some ceiling area or all depending on the décor.

Example: (20′ x 30′ x 15′ = 14,440) (9,000 x .04 = 360) A room of this size needs approximately 360 square feet of paneling, or forty-five (45) 2′ x 4′ panels.


Where do I put these panels to get the best performance?
The best place to place the panels or foam is over the hardest surfaces such as a brick or concrete wall or on a metal ceiling. There is no wrong place to add the treatment. The panels and or foam will perform the same regardless of placement. Your customers and employees are definitely going to notice the difference immediately.

By treating the room the ambient noise levels overall will be lowered. Speech will be more intelligible and the need to raise ones voice to be heard will not be necessary.  This lowers the ambient level of the dining experience allowing a more comfortable experience for customers

The effect is greatly noticed when the restaurant is full and there is lots of conversation, dishes clanging, televisions going and glasses being filled, music in the background and orders being taken. When there are only a couple people in the restaurant they can understand each other at a low volume or normal tone. This changes as the room gets filled to capacity. If the room is treated acoustically the dining experience will be great at any capacity.

When the room is at fill capacity people talk louder and louder to be heard. The volumn of the room increases drastically due to the echo and reverb making conversations with someone next to you almost impossible. Adding Acoustic absorption (wall panels, ceiling panels or foam) decreases this effect. The more that is added the less speech volume is needed to understand the person next to you. Lowering the volume or energy in the room has a constant decreasing of energy effect with less noise to be absorbed or to reflect/echo off the hard surfaces.

The products used to decrease noise levels in this article are listed below. There are many other products and application. Call us to discuss your project.