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Choose the right music for your coffee shop


Coffee has inspired music for decades. Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, even the Red Hot Chilli Peppers wrote songs about coffee.

But how do you inspire coffee drinkers by the music you play? With over two decades of coffee service experience Seamus and the team at Trade Coffee House on the Quay in Waterford City can offer better advice than most, “People choose coffee shops for their ambience just as much as they do for the coffee on offer. There’s much more to choosing music for your coffee shop than your specific tastes or the random shuffle on Spotify. You can affect how long the customers stay, how much they spend and how likely they are to return.”

Various studies have found that playing in-house music set to a carefully considered tempo, volume and genre can influence behaviour and decision-making. One study found that music at a slower tempo encourages customers to linger and spend more money. Conversely, fast-paced music led to a quicker exit.

Another study found customers want the genre of music to “fit” the context. By playing music that complements other elements of your establishment, customers are willing to spend more money.

Your coffee shop's music should reflect your brand image and the vibe you want to give off. If you want to be known as the place to relax and unwind, then genres like jazz and deep house can work. Both are light on the ear but won’t send your customers to sleep. Basically, you want your customers to feel at home in a comfortable atmosphere, encouraging them to linger for longer and spend more money with you.

If you’ve a busy shop, queuing can become tiresome, and customers become restless. The correct music playing in the background goes a long way to putting them at ease and increasing their patience by giving their mind something to focus on while waiting.

With over 20 years’ knowledge serving coffee across four continents the team at Trade understand the importance of ambience and what their music choices bring to the experience of visiting the coffee house. Seamus, manager at Trade emphasises the importance of including your staff in the process, “You want staff to be happy, motivated and enjoying the coffee shop’s music choices too. Make them part of the decision-making and ‘signed up’ to the process.

“We take the ‘soundtrack’ to visiting Trade seriously, and personally. It’s an extension of the coffee shop’s personality and goes a long way to completing our experience.

“Though remember, there is no one “coffee house music playlist” that works for all audiences. Coffee shops must carefully choose what suits them and what works for them. This should be based on your style of shop, its location, its customers and its staff.”

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