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Hospitality Acoustic Solutions

27/09/2021 / Dominic

Food for Thought: Hospitality Acoustics Crucial for Customer Comfort

In this ‘Food for Thought’ article, we explore some of the acoustic issues often experienced in hospitality and potential solutions for them.

I can’t hear myself is a phrase that no venue owner wants to hear. Acoustic issues are one the of the most common complaints of diners in Australia and a key deterrence for returning customers.

When it comes to acoustics, it’s important to understand that is the not the noise level, but rather the reverberation (time it takes sound to disperse) that is the main cause of acoustic discomfort.

Contemporary venue designs often incorporate hard, polished surfaces which causes sound to ‘bounce’ around causing discomfort for diners. See below for some key data relating to acoustics:

Acoustic Comfort

  • According to studies, there is no apparent correlation between background noise (average sound level in restaurant is between 70-84 dBC) and the impression of acoustical comfort
  • However, reverberation time has been proven to be directly linked to and the impression of acoustical comfort
  • The data indicates that an optimal range for reverberation time between 0.5 and 0.7 seconds will provide sufficient acoustical comfort for most restaurant patrons.

Study of acoustical comfort is defined differently by age groups.

  • Under 25 seem unaffected by a loud background noise
  • Ages 26-45 associate comfort with privacy when sounds of conversations from other tables are not disturbing
  • Age Group 46-65 want it all – Quietude, Communication and Privacy.
  • Over 65 prefers a quiet setting and an ability to easily converse with other diners at the same table but sounds from other tables are not necessarily disturbing.


Trading During and Post COVID-19 Restrictions

  • Age groups 25-34 (40%) prefer to use food delivery services
  • UberEATS remains the market leader and is now used by 12.8% of Australians
  • 76% of diners surveyed are looking forward the dine-in restaurant post lockdowns
  • Whilst hospitality spending decreased by 29% during the 2020 lockdowns, in the December quarter it rose by 17% in conjunction of the easing of Stage 4 restrictions in Victoria.


At the Nolan Group, we have the textile solutions to help develop a hospitality space that aligns with your desired market. Contact us today for a no-commitment design consultation.


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