What's a great way to get more people to your restaurant and spend more time there? Host a live music event. When done properly, live entertainment creates an atmosphere where guests can sit down, enjoy a meal with friends and enjoy some local music. Notice how I said, “when done properly?”

Live music can either enhance your restaurant’s atmosphere or kill it. Before you plan your live entertainment event, consider these pros and cons of music events.

restaurant with live entertainment

The Benefits of Live Music in Restaurants

There’s a reason why people love bars and restaurants with live music: they’re fun. Here are a few good reasons to consider hosting live entertainment at your establishment.

Creates a Positive Atmosphere

Live music helps create a positive atmosphere where people can forget their cares. After a long day at work, people go out to relax and de-stress. Live music helps create the ideal environment to unwind, and it livens up the atmosphere.

Promotes Socialization

Hosting a live event at your restaurant will encourage patrons to mingle and socialize. Diners who may be complete strangers may strike up a conversation because they both are enjoying the music. The music itself also helps put everyone at ease, creating a more relaxed, friendly environment.

Attracts More Customers

Booking the right entertainment will attract more customers to your establishment, especially if you host a popular band.

Bigger events can be heavily marketed to encourage more patrons to visit your restaurant. The band will also market the event to gain as much exposure as possible.

You’ll also gain some new customers. Fans of the local band are sure to turn up for the show, and for many, this will be the first time they are dining at your restaurant.

Tickets may or may not be required, but if they are, this can also serve as an additional source of revenue for your establishment. 

music in restaurants

Customers Spend More

Restaurants with live bands give customers a reason to stick around and spend more money at your restaurant, especially if you have a bar at your establishment. Guests may come for dinner, but end the evening at the bar listening to the band while ordering drinks. Diners may be more inclined to stay for dessert or order more drinks until the band is done with the set.

Supports the Local Music Scene

If you host local bands regularly, your restaurant will develop a reputation of being supportive of the local music scene. In doing so, you may get a group of loyal customers who regularly frequent your establishment.

Potential Drawbacks and Considerations

Live music can enhance a restaurant environment, but there are some drawbacks and other issues that must be considered before booking your first event.

Do You Have the Space and Equipment for Live Music?

Many restaurants play live music, but they really shouldn’t be. They’re just not properly equipped for it. Ask yourself the following questions before you think about booking a live band:

  • Do I have enough floor space for a live music setup?

  • Can my restaurant handle massive crowds?

  • Do we have the right acoustics, equipment, and lighting for a band?

To make your live events a success, you need to ensure that your space is equipped for live entertainment.

restaurant with live band

Will Live Music Disturb Guests or Other Businesses?

Some people love music in restaurants; others hate it. Which type do your guests belong to?

The biggest complaints we see with restaurants that have live music is that the band is too loud. It’s important to keep in mind that your restaurant probably wasn’t designed for live entertainment. Loud music in close quarters can make it hard for guests to talk to one another.

Striking a balance is essential, and it’s also important to play the right type of music. Guests in a small restaurant may be turned off by a loud rock band, but they may find that a soft jazz band adds to the atmosphere of your restaurant.

Additionally, you’ll need to consider whether your live entertainment will disturb other businesses or residents around you.

You May Need a License

As the owner of the restaurant, you are responsible for acquiring all of the necessary permits and licenses for your live entertainment.

Many cities and states require special permits for live entertainment. For example, you may need to acquire a live entertainment license if you want to host events with instrumental and vocal music, DJs, dancing, karaoke or theater shows. Some cities may also have different permits for acoustic and amplified music.

Also, you need to acquire a license to play music in a restaurant. If the band plans on playing cover songs, you will most likely need to purchase copyright licenses from a performing rights organization (PRO). A PRO ensures that writers and publishers obtain royalty payments for the use of their songs.

You may need to acquire licenses from one of the following PROs:

Make sure that you do your research when it comes to copyright licenses to ensure that you’re following the law.

You May Need Additional Insurance

It’s easy for people to get injured at live events, especially when bands are playing live music. Musicians may trip on cables and fall off the stage. Guests may form a mosh pit (unlikely, but entirely probable).

It’s always better to be safe than sorry in the business world. Make sure you have adequate insurance to cover potential injuries and damages. Talk to your insurer to see if you need to purchase additional coverage, or if this type of event would be covered under your existing policy.

Good restaurant music can attract customers and encourage them to spend more at your establishment. It also helps create a more lively, positive and fun atmosphere where people can create lifelong memories. But live music can also put customers off and will require additional expenses. Weigh the pros and cons for your establishment to see if live music is the right choice for you.