October 8, 2018 Tasty Sounds: How music affects the taste of food in restaurants

Tasty Sounds: How music affects the taste of food in restaurants

When it comes to a good dish, nothing beats quality ingredients that are skillfully prepared. Still, as our understanding of sensorial perception and neurology grows, it turns out there are a lot of unexpected factors weighing in.



Most people are well aware of the link between taste and smell. This is why food tastes dull when we pinch our noses. Interestingly, taste does not come about solely in the mouth. Our tastebuds only collect a part of the image that is created within the brain. That’s right, taste is an image created in the brain. In this report, we will focus on how sound and music affect our tasting experience. But let’s start off with some other environmental cues to start understanding the mechanisms at work.

Did you know, for instance, that it matters how we serve our food? A heavier cup or plate actually boosts the perceived quality of the drink or food that is served in or on it. Scientists also found that positive certifications on packaging such as “biological” or “free range” boost our tasting experience. In fact, even a “fair trade” stamp, which has no impact on the chemical composition (actual taste) of the food, is shown to make foods and drinks more tasty in our perception.

Other non-tastable interventions turn out to affect how we perceive taste as well. One study showed how people rate wine as better tasting when a higher price is displayed with it. Interestingly, when no prices were displayed, more expensive wines were rated lower than cheaper examples, perhaps due to the fact that untrained tasters prefer the simpler taste of cheaper wines. 


The above are biases that occur as a result of how we perceive the world around us. Just imagine how much information is coming in through our senses at any given moment. It would be impossible to consciously analyze all of that input all the time, so our brains are wired as the ultimate pattern recognizers. Combinations of sensory input are combined and quickly categorized and acted upon. This means we can identify situations and act within no time. Think of this simple example: we do not consciously analyze a loved one’s eyes, mouth, forehead, posture and tone of voice, still we recognize within milliseconds wether he or she is happy, angry, sad or indifferent. 

It is much the same with taste and it pays for hospitality professionals to have an understanding of these mechanisms. They allow you to maximize your positive impact on your guests, in a very efficient manner. Below, we will share some ideas on how to use sound and music in this very way.


At the highest level, you aim to set a certain mood in your venue. Whether your business is hip and happening, classically romantic, a haven of tranquility on a busy street or a buzzing hotspot, music is a powerful tool in confirming your identity. Studies have shown that music aids in message reception and retention in marketing and branding, If it is in line with the brand and message. Ill-fitting and off-brand music will hurt your brand image and make for a messy atmosphere, but just the right genres will drive home your message. Your Rightsify music expert can help design a sound that is perfect for you.

One American study showed that background music in restaurants directly affects perceived taste as well. The researchers found that emotional foods, such as chocolate were rated as better tasting when music was playing. Non-emotional foods, for instance bell peppers, were not affected. They found that music genre was of influence as well. Jazz music showed a greater effect in this venue than classical, rock and hiphop did. As this example shows, our taste experience is driven by various, sometimes surprising factors. 


Besides music, it also pays to review your atmospheric noise and acoustics. An open kitchen, hard concrete or glass surfaces and rattling cutlery all make for a lively vibe, but are shown to trigger the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol in guests. This results in shorter visit durations, lower satisfaction and lower average spending. Make sure your guests can converse comfortably, without raising their voices, at all times. 

Now let’s have a look at lower level influences of sound and music on how we perceive taste. These might not be as directly applicable in your business as the above, but it is still valuable and highly entertaining to see the underlying mechanisms.


Some products are best when crunchy; chips, bread crust, cookies and fresh veggies and fruits, for instance. There is a distinct mouth-feel to these products. We immediately sense when the product is stale due to a softness or chewy-ness that is less enjoyable than the fresh, crunchy alternative. 

Interestingly, research shows that a large part of this sensation is due to sound. Participants in the study were provided with headphones while tasting crunchy foods. The sound of the bite was either dampened or boosted through the headphones. As it turns out, the evaluation of both freshness and taste were directly related to the loudness of the crunch, regardless of mouth feel. 


We can easily arrange a set of different colors from warm (e.g. brown) to cool (blue) or from low intensity (pale pink) to high intensity (saturated magenta). We can apply the exact same adjectives to sounds: from warm bass notes to cool sounds, such as shattering glass. Or from soft whispers to high intensity shouts. It appears our senses share some common vocabulary and associations when analyzing our surroundings. 

You could try to do the exact same thing with taste. Any good chef knows that you want to balance the bass notes of bitters or fats with high notes of sweets or sours, around a middle range of umami or salts. This seems to run perfectly paralel to how a music producer would aim to complement his bass lines with guitars and vocals in the middle and sizzling cymbals and high notes for the perfectly balanced mix. 

One fascinating study showed that the examples above align very well in practice. As a matter of fact, the taste frequency range and the music frequency range even influence each other. The researchers proved that playing bassy, low frequency sounds, emphasized the reported bitterness of chocolate, while high-pitched sounds would do the same for the sweetness. It goes to show how intermingled our senses are, that switching sounds actually affects the taste of the exact same piece of chocolate. 


Music and drinks have always gone together very well (ask any rockstar for anecdotal evidence), but it turns out music actually affects the taste of your drinks as well. A scientific study had people participate in a wine tasting. While the tasters thought they were given different wines, it was actually only the background music that was changed across tastings. From light hearted Baroque music to heavy symphonies from the Romantic era. 

As it turns out, people immediately started to attribute the music’s qualities to the wine’s taste. Under the baroque condition, the wine was reported to be light and fresh, while under Romantic music it was rated much more full-bodied and heavy. 


In hospitality, food and atmosphere are often treated as two separate entities; The food and drinks provide the taste, the decor provides the mood. As our understanding of taste perception grows, the two entities start to merge. We are learning that every little detail matters and actually affects how we perceive the dish itself. Music and sound have a massive impact in this respect and deserve close attention and management. At Rightsify, we are happy to help you grow into a multi-sensory dining experience!

You can read the full Tasty Sounds report here

Get in touch with us today for a free consultation. 

August 22, 2018 Why Every Hotel Needs A Music Strategy

Why Every Hotel Needs A Music Strategy

Our latest report, Music Strategy for Hotels dives into why hotels need a music strategy, how it can help them create the best experience for their guests and as outlined in previous reports, increase hotel revenue. 

Why music is important for hotels

From the moment a guest enters the lobby they are greeted with music. Ensuring that the music matches your brand and enhances the experience is a vital for any hotel.

These are three main goals for a hotels music strategy

1. Amplify your brand

The music is as important for your hotel as the furniture design and the lighting. Every sound and every song should be something that you approve of.  When choosing music for your hotel, ask yourself. Does this sound represent us well?

2. Improve the guest experience

Make sure that you are playing music that accurately blends with the environment of your hotel. From a smooth and welcoming sound in the lobby to an upbeat vive at the gym. Music can make or break the entire experience.

3. Increase revenue

Playing slow music at the right time can lead to people spending more on drinks at your F&B outlets. People will also spend less time in places when the music is fast and upbeat. Curating the music based on your goals and operations for each part of your hotel is a smart strategy to implement.

You can read and download the full Music Strategy for Hotels report here. Want a free consultation on your hotels music strategy? Contact us today. 

August 13, 2018 Three Audio Marketing Actions You Can Take To Grow Your Business Today

Three Audio Marketing Actions You Can Take To Grow Your Business Today

Having just released our latest report ‘Audio Marketing for Hotels’ we have three direct actions here that you can take today to utilize Audio Marketing for your business that can lead to increased revenue and business growth. 

– Your Music: Whether you are a retail store, restaurant, cafe or hotel, playing music that fits your brand is of great importance. In addition to branding though, it can also lead to increased sales.

For example, if you are serving drinks or have high priced goods, it is better to play slow music. If you are looking fast turnover then upbeat music makes more sense.

– Your Messages: When people call your business and get put on hold what kind of impression are you making? and what is your message?

Even if you rarely put your callers on hold it is important to have a message. Whether it’s for informing your customers or marketing offers, services and promotions, this is free advertising for you, direct to your customer. Make it count.

– Your Voice: In addition to your on-hold message, what is your brand voice? Does it represent who you are? A generic ‘Thank you for holding’ recording doesn’t cut it these days, it makes your brand look robotic and bland. Find a voice artist that can communicate your business well and resonates with your customers

Looking for more information on Audio Marketing? Check out our new report here or contact us

August 9, 2018 Audio Marketing for Hotels

Audio Marketing for Hotels

Audio Marketing for Hotels, the latest report from Rightsify outlines the different ways audio can be used to generate revenue for hotels, in addition to amplifying it’s brand message and improving the guest experience.

Having a sophisticated audio marketing strategy is important for hotels in the modern era to differentiate their brand and to create a unique and one of a kind experience. It’s also a way to directly generate revenue by creating an environment that leads to more impulse purchases and creating upselling and promotional opportunities through innovative messaging. 

What is Audio Marketing?

Audio Marketing, also known as audio branding, is the practice of marketing your business through sound. Whether it’s custom music, on-hold messages, voice marketing, or acoustic specs. Any function that represents your brand through sound is Audio Marketing. 

With Audio Marketing, there are three key attainable goals:

– Improve the guest experience

– Amplify your brand message

– Increase revenue

Studies repeatedly back up how audio can lead to direct revenue increases for hotels. Whether that’s with custom background music for the bar and restaurant or on-hold messages that are targeted towards your guests that increase restaurant reservations, spa services, or tour and event related revenue. 

The main components of Audio Marketing outlined in the report are:

– Custom Music

– On Hold Music/Voice Marketing

– Branded Music

– Media Music

The report can be downloaded for free here

Have any questions or want to learn more about Audio Marketing? Get in touch with us today.