JACK SIMPSON: Music to dine by is a matter of taste

Jack Simpson

If you regularly eat out, you cannot but occasionally be annoyed at some of that background noise that passes for music these days.

Background music is supposed to set the mood of the restaurant, so a bad choice played too loud can destroy the atmosphere of the entire meal!

Where you go to eat you may find a wide range of music played. Maybe it is jazz. How about pop, rock, piano, guitar, sax, country, vocals? Whatever it is, it should be appropriate for patrons who go there to enjoy a meal.

Loud, noisy music turns some customers off. Oh, where are Diana Krall, Erroll Garner, Houston Person, Tony Bennett, Scott Hamilton?

Certainly music choice is personal. One size does not fit all. If it is a peaceful, quiet atmosphere where diners can have a conversation, loud rock music destroys the mood and brings dissatisfaction with the sought atmosphere. Often the public space has been taken over by employees who go about their tasks playing their music rather than the music chosen by customers.

Those who enjoy pop rock should go to clubs or concerts or play the music of choice at home and not expect to impose their type of music on guests in a family restaurant.

Managers who seek to attract a certain clientele usually pay closer attention to the choice of background music. After all, the music is part of the dining experience. Having to listen to loud, noisy music scares away some dining customers.

I am told that noise is one of the top complaints received by restaurant managers. The personality of a restaurant is partly defined by the taste of its food, the service it provides, the overall mood, décor and background music. Music that is incompatible with atmosphere is a negative for any eating establishment.

Since background sound is a vital element of good dining, you may wish to seek out the restaurant where you enjoy its “sound of music.”

Jack Simpson is a former educator, a veteran, an author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each weekend in this newspaper.

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