How To: Bring In Customers With Live Music

It may not be for everyone, and could go against your mindset, but live music could drive major sales to your restaurant. Nation’s Restaurant News believes that having live music throughout the night encourages patrons to stay late, order more drinks, desserts, and appetizers, and even can increase sales 10-20% if promoted in advance. How do you get more customers in the door for longer, and what kind of music should you bring in?

What Are We Talking About?

Taking on live music is a large undertaking, but isn’t insurmountable, and in fact can bring enough in sales to justify it. If you don’t want to go through the renovations and install a band stage, you might just be able to remove or move some tables and give some space. There are small investments to be made, such as speakers, and you’ll need to spend some time looking into local regulations (can you play music indoors, outdoors, and at what volume?).


  • … promote your live music. Signage throughout the restaurant is a start, and you may want to include it in any advertising if it becomes a regular thing.
  • … consider local regulations. You may not be able to play live music during the week, or after a certain hour, or even at all. IT’s not good for anyone when you have the police shutting you down after neighboring business and residential locations complaining.
  • … make sure the type of music fits your establishment. Fine-dining might lend itself towards violins and pianos, while a Mexican restaurant could have the stereotypical guitar players. Bars are a natural fit for rock bands.

Be Careful…

  • … when it comes to volumes affecting your clientele. Many may not want to sit right next to the band, nor speakers. You won’t want to drive off consumers.
  • … and remember safety. Extra cables for speakers can pose both a fire hazard, electrical hazard, and even an electrocution hazard if water spills.
  • … when choosing who will play. See if the band or musician can give you a show, or let you attend one of their performances.
  • … when seeing if you can stay up later for added benefit. If the band and staff are up for it, as long as you’re making sales, you may want to stay open later instead of kicking everyone out.


  • … let the band have full reign. They’re guests in your establishment, not the stars.
  • … let the band get drunk. A drink or two may be fine for social lubrication and stage fright, but an unruly band with a microphone are not good for anyone.