Should I Have Music On My Restaurant’s Website?

No. Who knows who started the myth that music playing on a website was a good idea. But unless it is a musician’s website, music should be treated as if a dangerous substance. If you are skeptical, ask around. Most people who rely on the Internet for restaurant information hate unexpected music. They are the ones searching for your restaurant online. Unexpected automated videos also drive people nuts. Let’s go through the marketing components.

Warning: This Ruins a Website

The music should NEVER automatically go on. This is an “are you kidding me?” moment. People are on their mobile phones. Do you realize how hard it is to find the button to turn the music off on a mobile phone? People are making phone calls while checking out your website on their computer. Is that the first impression you want to give a customer? You want to embarrass them. Even if it doesn’t, many customers realize it can happen.  It is just plain rude and bad customer service.  It isn’t worth slightly engaging one customer if you piss off 5 others.

I don’t like it even if the music doesn’t automatically go on. I know this it is culturally relevant to your restaurant but most of the time, the music isn’t that impressive (and I love music from everywhere). If you wouldn’t spend $35 just to go listen to this quality of music, then it doesn’t belong on your website.

The lack of quality is understandable as most independent restaurants cannot afford the rights to good songs nor can they hire musicians. Instead of music on your website, you should put the money into getting live musicians at your restaurant. Customers who have already decided to come to your restaurant are much more willing to be culturally immersed.

Videos Too

The same holds true for videos that automatically start. Certainly, video marketing can be really effective for a restaurant, but it has a time and place (YouTube, on blog, and video section of website) Again, consider a mobile phone. Not only do customers risk embarrassment from the sound, but the video eats up their mobile phone’s connection and processor. Even on a computer, this is impolite. You aren’t YouTube. Many people open multiple tabs in their browser at the same time (as they choose from a list of links). You want them to go through 9 of them to find out where the music is coming from.

I know you didn’t mean this, but it feels like you are treating customers like children. The customer can click play if they want to.

Don’t get me wrong: I know how effective video marketing is  whether it’s on YouTube or in a clearly labeled section of your website. If you do use music with video, it should be as loud as it is good.

Text is the only thing customers sign up for when they come to your website. Video and music are separate decisions.

For Those Who Made This Mistake

It is a common mistake. Even Quantified Marketing,  a highly respected restaurant marketing company (that we definitely respect), has an automated video. The disconnect is astounding. My hope is that they don’t advise restaurant owners to do the same thing.

The lesson is anytime you try an aggressive marketing tactic like automatic music/video, you need to do some research. These aren’t trial and error. You should look it up online (as you are now) and interview some of your customers. Even if you poured money into a video, you have to have the strength to walk away. Your marketing always must respect your customers.