They put part of the blame for the trend of clean decor or minimalist interiors. No carpets, curtains or table cloths to absorb the noise.
I think some restaurants, particularly Italian ones, also create noise deliberately in the belief it adds to the ambience.
For those of you who dislike noisy eating places help is at hand. The charity Action on Hearing Loss is fundraising to develop a mobile app that will allow you to record the decibel levels and enable the loudest restaurants to be “named and shamed” – and avoided by those who want a quiet night out.
The data collected will be fed back to a central database so that an interactive map can be created to let users know which restaurants to avoid.
They are taking this direct approach after writing to 70 restaurant groups – high street chains like Waga-mama, Pizza Express and the group that owns Garfunkels and Frankie & Benny’s – highlighting the problems of excessive noise and offering suggestions as to how it can be reduced. Not one bothered to reply.
The charity cites a recent survey that says 4 out of 5 people have left a restaurant, cafe or pub due to excessive noise and 90% of them saying they wouldn’t return.
Loud music is also a problem according to Pipedown which campaigns to stop shops and restaurants playing music. They say unwanted noise raises your blood pressure and increases your stress levels, apart from damaging your hearing if at very high volumes.
Pipedown had a significant success recently in persuading Marks & Spencer to stop playing background music.
Good luck to both these charities. I’m fed up of struggling to have a conversation when eating out. And while they’re at it they should consider banning smartphones too!