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The mission for food service (hospitality) probably needs decibel noise level. Surely, the owners do not consider losing
to include meeting the customers’ expectations for both the customers due to unmet expectations on noise to be a good
food and drink and for the social aspects of a shared experi- thing for business; now do they?
ence. Hospitality covers a wide range of establishments, so
accordingly we can anticipate that the expectations will be Customer Wants and Needs
rather broad, which is why this particular segment of the And what is it that we want: good food, good drink, a pleasant
building market is more diflicult to define and as yet not environment, and the appropriate level of acoustic comfort
adequately addressed in terms of acoustic comfort. to meet the needs for a specific choice of establishment. Here
is a short list of some possibilities:
Service and Expectations! - A restful environment after a day of hard concentration
In the case of an upscale restaurant. one’s expectations are for (low-noise annoyance, quiet music);
great food and a quiet acoustic environment that allows for - The need to have casual conversation for business or
casual conversation. After all, the diner is often there with personal matters (moderate noise level, good speech
friends and family or is trying to conduct business. However, intelligibility, and adequate speech privacy); or
when one heads oif to a “fast food” restaurant or diner, the - A wish to enjoy social interactions with sports or music
expectation is for good food and not too stressful commu- entertainment (significant sound level OK, limited direct
nication because one is there primarily to eat and to take a conversations OK).
break from life. But when one is at a bar, the expectation is to
communicate in a loud voice at close range and maybe even Acoustic factors such as noise level, reverberation, speech
communicating by “text” as opposed to “voice” because the intelligibility, speech privacy, and sound quality are all part
primary expectation is usually the entemtinment. But even of the acoustic environment and relate to architectural fac-
within these examples, “a bar... is not a bar... is not a bar,” means, tors including the size, shape, and surface treatments in each
for example, that a hotel bar at the Marriott carries different building space.
expectations than the bar at Iimmy Bufl’ett’s Margaritaville.
Architecture and Acoustics
You have probably heard the saying that “restaurants man- As we have learned in the design and performance of offices,
agers want their property to sound loud and busy because schools, and health care, architecture has a strong impact on
it's good for business.” Really? Activity noise is, of course, the acoustics of any building space, and this holds for the hos-
expected with high occupancy, but does it need to be unman- pitality industry as well The architectural design (size, shape,
ageably noisy? ln fact, many people walk out of restaurants and surfaces) of each building space determines the clarity of
and bars on occasion because the establishments were either speech at any point within a room, and the level of background
so loud that it was uncomfortable due to the noise level (it noise in conjunction with the speech clarity will determine the
hurts!) or too loud because the diner wanted to have a con- intelligibility of speech (think schools; see ANSIIASA Sl2.60,
versation with friends across the table. 2010; Brill et al., 2018).
So then, what is the mission that a food service facility needs So, what do we know specifically about the relationship
to meet, especially with reference to acoustic comfort? We between archinecture and acoustics in restaurants? Many times,
know that there are noise problems because there is dissatis- restaurants sulfer from excessive loudness and reverberation,
faction and complaints relative to acoustic comfort, and these harsh reflections, and echoes. But architectural acoustics (the
are being communicated by the restaurant rating services science of sound as it pertains to buildings; Sabine, 1922) is a
such as provided by The Washington Post (wapo.stl2HbjGt 1) hit of an enigma because most restaurant patrons and owners
or Yelp, and these now include comments on the noise envi- don't know that there can be a way to solve their noise prob-
ronment, at least as a subjective rating such as “quiet or noisy/." lems because they are not even aware that this is a field of study
and that engineering solutions are available.

And we can expect even more comments about the noise envi-
ronment because simple smart-phone apps such a SoundPrint A starting point used to analyze the acoustic environment of
are now available and allow anyone to make a noise reading restaurants is to calculate the average midfrequency absorption
on-site and inreal time (some apps are reasonably accurate) in coeflicient of the space. The midfrequency content of human

Sununer 21:19 | Aaau-uuma-yl 11

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