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 min read

How to choose the best music playlist for your cafe

Looking to create a perfect vibe in your cafe? You don't have to be a DJ to curate the perfect playlist.

As an owner of a cafe, pub or restaurant you're probably wondering how to curate a playlist that has your customers talking about you for all the right reasons.

Think back to that awkward first date you had last week, the conversation was dry and all you could hear was the nervous clinking of cutlery and anxious sips of champagne.

Man nervously drinking water

Here at Mr Yum, we don’t provide relationship advice but we certainly do know a thing or two about an enjoyable dining experience. We're firm believers that music plays an instrumental role in setting the mood and could be the difference between a potential customer walking in, or walking straight past your venue.

Though music choices are often overlooked, getting it wrong is super noticeable. Get it right, and you’ve  increased your competitive advantage without even serving a single plate of food. This guide will help you uncover some of the secrets to setting the right atmosphere and even increasing your sales.

Pick your theme 🤔

Whether you’re a pub, bar, restaurant or cafe, remember that every venue is different and that’s the beauty of it.

Start by identifying your theme - what cuisine or drinks do you make? What kind of image do you want to portray? What demographic of customers are you targeting? Your theme will influence a lot of other design choices such as your furniture and lighting.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with this, people love new experiences and by thinking outside the box you’ll ensure that your diners have a memorable experience. 

Live or Recorded? 🎙️

Whilst there’s no cookie cutter answer to what music you should play at your venue, you’ll either be choosing between live music or recorded music, and both have their own pros and cons.

Live music has the power to bring people together with a shared experience, it incites emotion and makes your diners feel like part of something special. Whether it’s a jazz band, professional DJ or pianist, you’ll have access to their expertise, playlists and artistic creativity. Be sure to have a chat with them beforehand, let them know the vibe you’re trying to set and make sure that they’re on board with your vision. Apps like Muso can even help you find and book live music via your phone.

If you’re on a budget, recorded music is perfectly acceptable, the range of songs, styles, tempos and moods are much more flexible and versatile. Feel free to try a mix of both live and recorded music, each has its own time and place.

Plan it out 📅

Make sure you’re in the know about the major events that are happening at the time. If your Sports Bar is screening the AFL Grand Final, it’s probably not a good idea to have a loud band playing at the same time. You get the picture.

Schedule your music around these events, it’s a great way to set yourself apart from other venues and could even help you retain customers at the end of a happy-hour - the possibilities are endless! On the same note, be careful to consider the time of day, music volume and whether it’s lyrical or instrumental.

Mornings are typically suited to light instrumental background music that isn’t too loud whilst late nights are typically suited to louder, upbeat dance music. Whatever it may be, make sure you’ve planned it out and know exactly what mood you’re trying to create.

Link it together 🔗

The key is to make everything consistent and in line with the personality of your venue - not the personal preferences of you or your staff! As much as you might like to listen to heavy metal music in the car during peak hour traffic, it’s probably not the most appropriate for your Sushi Bar. Or maybe it is? You know best.

Make sure the furniture, lighting and music match the theme you’re going for. Diners love an immersive experience and there’s no better way to do this than making sure that everything matches and feels natural. Try to link everything together by following your chosen theme consistently, this includes your music choice!

Curate a playlist 🎵

If you consider yourself something of a musical connoisseur, what better way to show the world than to curate your own Spotify playlist?

Whether it’s an oriental Japanese theme or a grungy techno vibe, people are probably interested in listening to your selections if they like the vibe of your venue. Mr Yum venue Hibiki does this to great effect with their own Jazz funk playlist. Currently, with over 500 followers it serves as a great marketing channel for them to get closer to their customers throughout the day.

This blueprint is a super practical way to build your brand and is a great way to get people talking about your venue in ways other than how delicious your food is.

Bonus Tip - a Spotify playlist is also a great way to promote your brand across multiple channels, be sure to check out our ultimate guide to social media marketing to see how you might be able to maximise your returns on Instagram & Facebook.

With these tips, hopefully you’ll be able to bump up those sales numbers and ensure that your diners have an experience that they’ll remember for a lifetime. Be sure to have fun with this guide, stretching the boundaries might just make your venue the most unique on the block! 

Good luck from the Mr Yum team 🤞