SandboxGeneral

The Quest for Quiet Dining

18 August 2019

Anyone who knows me, knows I am an introvert. For some introverted people, a trait or desire of ours is the state of quietness.

It's those quiet times after work and on the weekends that I need to recharge myself from all the extroverted activities that come with having a day job. All the interacting with people is draining for people like me. That doesn't mean that's a bad thing, or a good thing, it's just a thing.

Of course, there are times when I want some noise, and that's when I want to listen to my music - not yours.

I digress, however. The topic for today is quiet dining out. Once or twice a week, I like to go out to a local restaurant for lunch. Going out for dinner is rare for me, so it usually's lunch.

The problem I have with nearly every restaurant I go to is that they're noisy and loud. For instance, last week, I was at a place that had opened for the day 30 minutes earlier. There was only one other couple in there before me eating a meal. The music was turned up way too loud and overpowering my thoughts and the article I was reading on my phone while I waited for my order.

Politely, I asked the waitress if the music could be turned down and she kindly did so at my request. I feel like I shouldn't have had to ask that the music volume be reduced. That is because it was at an abnormal level from the start. A reasonable person should have noticed that when it was turned on for the day and then set it at a lower level.

But I want to talk about restaurants and dining out in general. Everywhere I've been to in the last several years in my region of Michigan has been too loud for my taste. I recalled about 12 years ago I went into a Jimmy Johns sandwich place and the music was so loud in the early afternoon, that the cashier and I had to shout to hear one another so I could pay my bill. How ridiculous is that? I have never gone back inside that store since and have them deliver my sandwiches to me instead.

There doesn't seem to be any acoustic design considerations built into restaurants anymore. There are no acoustic panels or artwork on the walls. The floor plans are wide open with no barriers to deflect sound waves from numerous conversations. The walls and decor are often hard and decorated with flat objects, further allowing acoustic sounds to travel far and unhindered.

Does no one ever think of these things anymore? When a person wants to open a new place, does the thought of sound and decibel levels come into play?

Where can an individual, or a couple, go to have a quiet evening out anymore?

Often when I do go out, I end up with a headache or feeling like I've been at a rock concert when all I did was consume a meal.

For the love of all things quiet and peaceful, I hope some restauranteur finds this blog post and considers building, or rebuilding their dining establishment with acoustic considerations in mind. Please start making restaurants that are quiet and enjoyable.

Download the pdf version here.