The Surprising Way One Fast Food Chain Is Taking Care Of Teenagers

teens eating fast food
There’s one problem that any restaurant with cheap-enough prices will always run into: loiterers. There’s a special magic to many consumers with a place that serves cheap food and has comfortable-enough seating. For many, it offers free wi-fi, a place to take care of business meetings, potential clients, or even future employees. Others might just enjoy long sips of coffee with an old friend, some father-son bonding time, or even a quiet book or newspaper (or in 2013, a quiet iPad or Kindle).

Most of these people are okay, especially if they keep up with small purchases throughout the day; nobody’s going to complain about a consistent source of money. Every once in a while, there will be the troublemakers, and not to stereotype, but these could easily be teenagers: youthful people who hope to get out of the prying eyes of their parents on a regular basis at a cheap cost in a safe location. If they’re studious and just taking care of classwork, that’s one thing, but if they’re loud, disruptive, and causing trouble for your staff or customers, you may want to figure out a way to have them leave.

A McDonald’s restaurant has Mt. Annan, Australia, has come up with a unique concept: playing classical music. In fact, this isn’t the first time using classical music has worked as a deterrent to youthful distractions, as Macarthur Square used this tactic in March 2009 to stay unruly teens. Their music of choice was Barry Manilow, and it was effective late Thursday nights at curtailing children and teenagers.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the usage of such music has ben effective at late nights to keep riff-raff out, but would have to reassess how it’s doing in the coming months.

Does your restaurant employ music throughout the day? The inclusion of music, and particularly what type, is instrumental (pun possibly intended) at deciding what kind of restaurant atmosphere you offer. Burger places may feature a rock-and-roll mindset to go with the All-American classic, while coffee bars may have subtle music more akin to background noise to let conversations flow and help work get done. Bars might turn it up loud in an effort to create an enjoyable atmosphere that also encourages loud talking (which may in fact encourage more drinks), and any number of ethnic-stylized locations may find that music from their home country works best; Spanish songs for Mexican cuisine, famed Italian singers for pasta locales, and the like.

There’s something that can be said for a lack of music, too. In locations where the sounds of the kitchen make enough noise, it might be ambiance enough. In other locations, such as porches and food trucks, music may just be untenable due to noise pollution laws or just generally being nice to neighbors.

Being nice to teenagers who are being a problem? Just play some classical music, and they might not be a problem for your restaurant anymore.