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Live Music in Your Restaurant?


Live music is widely considered to be a good selling point in a restaurant, as long as you are careful about what type of music you have.

Live music is a great way to offer something a little bit special in your restaurant. After all, how many times have you paid £9 for a bowl of pasta in a restaurant and thought ‘I could make that better at home for about a pound?' By offering good live music, your customers will know that they are getting added value in your restaurant, a real night out that offers them something more than dining at home.

Finding Musicians

First of all, you need to think about what style of music will suit your restaurant and where to find suitable musicians. Don’t worry about being too themed – as long as you are not having tribute bands and hen night evenings, a little theme is no bad thing. Customers love to have ‘nessun dorma’ gently in the background when tucking into a pizza. Of course, if you are going for a really high end clientele, be careful that you do not alienate your customers by having cheesy music. As a rule of thumb, you need to be able to easily talk to and hear your dining companion over the music.

A good way to find decent local musicians that will compliment your restaurant is to see what other restaurants in your local area are doing. You may also find that once you have had live music in your restaurant, musicians and duos will contact you and ask to play. Pay the going rate – usually around £150 - £300 for a duo for one or two 45 minute sets – and give them a main course and a beer or glass of wine.

Research The Right Licences

You cannot just have live music in your restaurant without paying for the privilege. Start by phoning the Performing Rights Society (PRS), the royalties agency for music in the UK. They will advise you on what licence you require, usually for around £200 per year. This makes sure that you are able to have whatever cover versions and original music that the musicians may play.

Tell People about Live Music in your Restaurant

Make sure your customers and potential customers know about your offer – you could have a blackboard that tells people about upcoming live music and you could make it clear from the outside of your establishment. It is also worth having a small advert in your local paper and regularly updating your website to include live gigs.

Build a Reputation

As long as you are careful to make sure that your live music suits your restaurant and is not too loud or intrusive, you can build a great reputation. This is a really good way to build a word of mouth clientele as customers will return with their friends when they have had a good night and heard a great band or duo. Don’t charge extra for the music and discourage the musicians from collecting directly from the customers – pay them properly in the first place and it will seem far more desirable.

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