Restaurant chains, ranked quietest to loudest

Photo credit: Ksenia Chernaya

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

Our friends at SoundPrint recently published a list of chain restaurants ranked from quietest to loudest.  The analysis was based on more than 3,300 individual sound reports from restaurants in multiple states with at least 100 readings for each chain. The Panera Bread and IHOP restaurant chains were the two quietest. 

There is hospitality research showing that higher ambient noise levels increase food and beverage sales and reduce time spent dining, leading to the potential for serving another customer before closing time.  On the other hand, restaurant noise levels have been the first-or second-ranked complaint in the annual Zagat restaurant surveys for the last several years, trading places year to year with poor service.

We think high levels of ambient noise in restaurants are a disability rights issue because it doesn’t allow those with hearing loss to understand what is being said, and could make tinnitus and hyperacusis worse.

Conservative economists think that market forces will solve all problems, but we think that appropriate government regulation is needed, in this case, to allow those with auditory disorders the full enjoyment of restaurants, as guaranteed by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Noise regulations can also prevent the development of auditory disorders in those who don’t yet have them.

Please join us in working to make the world a quieter and better place for all.

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