When choosing technology for your restaurant you want the best investment. Knowing about what your choices are will help you communicate your plan to your integrator. You need to know how you want to use your system, to begin with, “the why,” of installing the system. Do you have more than one need? Are you a sports bar and need to play the big games, do you want background music all the time, or will you also have bands playing? These are the kind of discussions you will need to work out.
Let’s start with why we are installing the speaker system. We want to play entertainment to fill in that silence or void. Music should be entertainment or background music that creates an atmosphere that’s a creative design of your establishment. You never go to a Mexican Restaurant in Texas that doesn’t have good music playing to set the tone of the restaurant.
Some places will have more than one need for a sound system. If you own a burger stand, for example, you may need to have a microphone that ducks the audio while you talk. Maybe you’re a fancy place that has live music 3-4 times a week. You will need to decide what kind of music you will be having. You may opt for a concert system and a background music system. What you choose is going to depend on what kind of atmosphere you are trying to create.
You may be asking yourself how much all this is going to cost. If you need a primary system and don’t have to support live music, there are plenty of options for all budgets. It is a matter of what awesome things you need versus what things are nice to have. In your case what will help bring clientele back and make money verse things, you will buy and never see a return.
Basic systems will have an amp, speakers, and a source. An amplifier is what powers the speaker. The amplifier is the part of the system you want to make sure is built with quality in mind. Speakers are not a significant factor nowadays if you're playing music. They all will work for the most part. I would not buy the cheapest thing on the shelf, but also don’t let the speaker dictate the budget. The source is another key player. If your source has a quality sound coming out, you will have better audio on the speaker's end because the quality of the audio is there. Imagine for a moment if you spend all your money on quality amplifiers and speakers, but then hooked up a telephone quality source to it. The audio coming out wouldn’t sound great, would it? Integrator’s recommend something that has high-quality audio and goes a little cheaper on the speakers. The source will pick up the slack.
You will need to make sure your source has a license for commercial use. I visit many restaurants where they do not have commercial licensing. When you get caught, (notice I said when not if), these are significant fines. Sometimes we have seen businesses shut down because they can not afford the penalties. We recommend speaking with your local integrator about cost-effective solutions that will keep you clear of any legal battles.
So when your picking out your first system, or next system upgrade be sure to keep these things in mind. Design married with purpose will always end with engineered success.