How to… bring your restaurant to life with music

15 July 2016
How to… bring your restaurant to life with music

It's a great idea to match the flavours of your food offering to your playlist, says Wahaca's digital marketing manager Paola Feregrino

For restaurants, music is a vital ingredient for ambience and helping create a great atmosphere to ensure customers keep coming back for more.

At Wahaca, the Mexican restaurant's exciting flavours and surroundings go hand in hand with its Latin music playlist. The music is full of fresh sounds (and a few classics), not just from Mexico, but from all over Latin America and the UK Latin and Afrobeat scene, with lots of brass, funky beats, cumbia, electro-tropical and one or two salsa numbers.

Wahaca does plenty online to promote music too - sharing monthly playlists on Soundcloud and Spotify helps its customers continue their exploration of Latin American music outside of its restaurants.

Live music also has a part to play. At new restaurant openings and special events, it hosts local Latin bands. These have recently included in-store performances by the Voodoo Love Orchestra in Brighton and Dandaluz in Kentish Town. Every year, Wahaca's love for music comes to life at its Day of the Dead celebrations. This year, Wahaca is throwing a party at the Vaults in central London with the most exciting bands from the UK Latin scene, like the Indios, Los Chinches and Family Atlantica, as well as groundbreaking acts like Mexican electro-folk band Centavrvs. Wahaca's plan is for guests to leave having discovered something new, as they hope diners do when they visit its restaurants.

Pro tips for the perfect playlist

1Music is the beating heart of your business. It sets the scene, determines the pulse and makes your venue come alive. When playlisting, think about how every song has an energy and how you can enhance your customer experience by adjusting the energy of your music to suit your customer needs.

2Don't get caught up too much with genres. We live in the playlist generation - mix and match genres to appeal to a wide demographic, but don't forget to think about how every song fits with one another. Don't just play a whole album from start to finish or whack the radio on - that devalues your offering.

3Your music tells a story - we are all receptive to a wide variety of music, allowing you to get creative with your playlists. Tell your story with your music and then shout about it on social media.

4Playlisting takes time - most businesses are open for at least 12 hours, and that means you listen to a hell of a lot of music. Set aside enough time to source a unique set of songs that works for you or employ an expert who can guide you.

5Updates are very important - music tastes are constantly changing and are affected by so many things, including the seasons or the weather. We recommend introducing at least 50 new songs every month to keep things fresh, or changing the music per season. Listening to the same music every day is really de-motivating for staff and regular customers will notice too - you don't want to be stuck in musical groundhog day.

By Brian d'Souza, managing director, Open Ear

To find out more about how you can maximise the effect of music in your business,

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