Volume in the hospitality industry: 3 tips for a pleasant background noise

Reading time: 9 minutes
Lautstärke im Gastgewerbe: 3 Tipps für eine angenehme Geräuschkulisse

Clinking glasses, exciting conversations at the next table, a ringing cell phone or someone singing a birthday song. The volume in restaurants and bars increases in the course of the evening and is sometimes perceived as disturbing not only by residents but also by guests. Of course, everyone wants a lot of guests, but that often means a lot of noise. It also always depends on the ambience: Am I sitting in a romantic restaurant with violin players or am I just preparing for my karaoke performance in the Spanish tapas bar?

We'll show you what regulations there are on noise levels in the hospitality industry and what tips and tricks you can use to keep the noise level down.

Already at the opening of your business you have to show appropriate noise or sound insulation measures. Especially if you plan live music or even a DJ in your program. It is important to remember that not only music, but also your guests, serving food or even arriving and departing cars cause noise. But don't worry, even afterwards you can install some devices to not violate any guidelines and to be considerate of your surroundings.

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What are the outdoor volume regulations?

As already mentioned, the volume in the outdoor area or beer garden plays a special role. Restaurants must follow the Federal Immission Control Act (BImSchG) and the Technical Instructions for Protection against Noise (TA Lärm).

Important for the catering trade outside the building is the night rest, which begins in most cities at 22 o'clock. It is best to check with your local city council or municipality here, as there are also special regulations for some places and regions. In the past, there was also a "curfew" for nightlife, which was in the early morning hours (5am to 7am). This is now rarely observed and currently only applies in Bremen and Baden-Württemberg.

During city festivals or international events such as the World Cup, there are often exceptions, or special guidelines for nighttime rest and noise levels. Find out here on the official site of the city or county. It is also not uncommon for the local hospitality industry to be informed in advance of a unique event about changes in this regard by the city.

But beware: on public holidays there are other regulations that prohibit music and entertainment events at certain times. For example, no public events with music are allowed on Good Friday and at the times of church services.

Our tip: Get on good terms with your neighbors* in the first place to avoid noise complaints. Leave a phone number for questions or comments, where you can be reached during opening hours. This way, in the event of a possible disturbance, they will first turn to you and not directly to the police or the public order office.

What are the regulations on volume indoors?

In the indoor area, the volume may not exceed a certain level of decibels (dB). The exact level depends on which federal state you are in. For example, from 45 dB it is difficult to have a normal conversation. Above 60 dB, you even have to speak in a loud voice so that the person you are talking to can understand you.

And here a well-known phenomenon takes effect: as soon as some people talk louder, you also raise your voice. After all, you want to understand your counterpart and be understood. This often increases, so that the parties become louder and louder, which is difficult to stop.

Light jazz music for the star restaurant or ABBA hits for the new bar? How loud and which background music you choose within the given framework is in your hands and should fit your ambience. If you are unsure, just ask your guests directly how they feel about the music. Too loud? Too quiet? Just right? Feel free to show that you think about such things and pay attention to even small details that contribute to your guests' satisfaction.

Note: Especially in the ongoing Corona crisis, you need to increase the distance between guests, which means there are fewer voices and the volume is lower. You need tips for Corona gastronomy? Then you cancheck out here to learn how to reboot and provide a safe yet beautiful atmosphere for your guests.

3 tips for a pleasant background noise

1. use noise-reducing elements

Generally speaking, the larger the room and the less furnishings, the worse the room acoustics. The bottom line is that additional room elements can lower the risk of noise. At the same time, you can both take advantage of the height of the room and generally use soft materials to reduce sound.

These include, for example:

  • Partition walls
  • Plants
  • Curtains
  • Sliding glass doors
  • Flexible partition walls
  • Large format pictures
  • Cloths
  • Felts under all chairs
  • Ceiling sails or panels
  • Pictures with acoustic foam

With the help of these inspirations, you can keep the noise in the restaurant or bar down and create a feel-good atmosphere at the same time. Many of these items can be found at home improvement stores, thrift stores, or online. You can findout how to store sustainably onlinehere: .

If you want to improve not only your soundscape, but also the environmental friendliness of your restaurant or hotel, we havesome tips for you here .

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2. delimit single areas

Waiting guests, ringing phones, opening the door, and laughter from large groups all cause the noise level to rise. To avoid this, there are a few simple tricks to keep more quiet and a relaxed atmosphere

1. set up a telephone station, where the telephone is not mobile with the staff. Ideally, it should be located in a separate room far away from the seating area. In addition, you should also adjust the volume of the sound so that it can still be heard but does not drown out all other sounds. Our tip: Always assign one or two people to be responsible for the telephone service for the evening.

2. to cover waiting guests and the rattling of the entrance door, a curtain or even a glass or plexiglass pane helps. This is especially true if your hospitality business has a reservation requirement, there will be many guests waiting or even having to leave. You can keep these interactions away from your other guests by separating the space.

3. as soon as you have a group of at least 8 people, it is worthwhile to separate them a bit from the other groups. According to the motto "the more the merrier" the atmosphere and therefore the volume increases with larger groups. This happens especially when groups meet for an occasion such as a birthday or a wedding.

By using simple room dividers and plants, you can reduce this background noise a little. In addition, it is practical to place large groups in the corners of the room to attract less attention from the other guests.

3. cleverly distance the kitchen area

In the kitchen, things are often hot and fast: the pudding has to be stirred, the mashed potatoes have to be mashed, the salmon has to be fried and the plates have to be arranged. At the same time, the cooks have to exchange ideas and make arrangements with each other and with the service staff. It can get a little noisy. But you can take a few simple measures to ensure that your guests are not disturbed:

  • If you are still planning or setting up your hospitality business, it is definitely worth thinking about the placement of the kitchen. At best, you can place it in a designated area.
  • If you are no longer in the construction phase of your business, a curtain between the kitchen or private area and the restaurant can help to keep both noise and hustle and bustle away from guests. A swinging door is less recommended, as it often leads to accidents such as collisions. A pass-through is another option, which can also be installed later. This way, the service staff does not get in the way of the kitchen staff and there is less need for communication due to an established system.
  • If you offer live cooking in your restaurant, where guests can watch their food as it is freshly prepared, Plexiglas walls are useful. They not only reduce the noise of cooking, but also protect your guests from splashes.

Our tip: Plastic packaging also makes noise when opened, squeezed and disposed of.Find out how to make your catering more plastic-free and reduce rustling and crackling at the same timehere .

Clever designs or regulated processes can make everyday life in the hospitality industry a lot easier. Not only in terms of volume, but also in terms of employee satisfaction, the term "New Work" can provide a lot of new inspiration for the design of the working atmosphere. If you want to learn more about "New Work" in the hospitality industry, you can read here.

Preparation is the key

With a few tips and tricks, you can reduce the volume in your hospitality business and create a comfortable atmosphere for your guests. With the right preparation you can create the right atmosphere right from the start.

Remember to get along with your neighbors to keep any complaints at bay. If you do have a complaint, at least you have some ideas to reduce the noise. Also, be sure to check with your local establishments to see if there are any special noise and nighttime rest policies in place to be best prepared.

In summary, preparation is the most important thing here to avoid any complaints in the first place. So get informed, plan & try out and don't forget to have fun!

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