Music in the workplace: The Kitchen

Joined Mar 17, 2011
I am a returning student and will receive a B.A. in American Studies this upcoming May. Currently I am working on a senior thesis project which is focused on the effects of music in the workplace, more specifically the kitchen. While it is a very interesting topic, the scholarly resource material needed is difficult to find. That being said, the topic needs to be focused on the kitchen atmosphere. Therefore, it is essential that I locate some primary sources: the chefs, the cooks, the dishwashers, etc.

While working in multiple restaurants over the past decade, I have developed personal memories concerning music in every aspect of the kitchen. For instance:

·          How it affects the mood, the pace, the pressure and the deadlines

·          How it is utilized in the opening, the closing, the prep and even the cleaning

·          Does it help to build a sense of camaraderie or familiarity?

·          When is it just too loud or too silent?

·          When is it someone else’s turn to choose what’s playing?

For me, whether it be positive or negative (sometimes both), the background music in the kitchen is simply a part of the environment. But I’d like to access other opinions. That’s you!

If you have any time to spare, please give any information, personal opinions and/or anecdotes (which I would love) regarding my research project. For example, I remember once playing Blue Trane by John Coltrane at full blast when I had only one hour left to prepare for a yacht club banquet. It was 4[sup]th[/sup] of July and the pressure was immense! Music helped that day to somewhat relieve the intensity.

Maybe you could answer some of these questions. Maybe you could post other thoughts that I’m lacking. I’m sure there are many. Regardless, I would be honored to use any information available. Thanks for your time.
Joined Oct 10, 2005


If all people had two braincells to rub together,they would realize that each person is unique, with unique tastes and and dislikes.

In other words, what is sauce for the goose, is not sauce for the gander.

I have worked in large clubs and resorts where the G.M or exec. council/steering comiteehas insisted that ALL dept.s,---including change rooms, have "piped in" muzak.  This invariably led to unauthorized de-wiring of loudspeakers, outright vandalisim to the speakers, frayed nerves, resignations, and staff earing headphones whenever possible.

Don't do it.
Joined Jul 28, 2001

  I think your research needs to go in a different direction. I personally feel one of the factors of why this industry

stays light years behind others is due to noise pollution. Most kitchen enviornments are unusually noisy. There is an incredible amount of equipment noise. Hoods,compressors,washers,air,steamers, small ware being used and of course people.

Studies have shown that chronic low level noise will induce bad moods,lack of concentration, poor work performance, fatigue etc. Noise is also associated with agression and a decrease in concentration. Now that is low level noise!!! maybe 50 dbl.

Kitchens are usually over 50 dbl when empty and the hoods down.

   I understand that all kitchen people here at CT have never experienced any of these attributes. But I think it is going on. Hell in some kitchens you have to yell to talk normally. For years I've been thinking about this. I try to keep the kitchen as quiet as I can.

The noise increases hormones that lead to stress. Loud noise, like a sheet pan dropping, someone yelling, music will increase this effect ten times over. The stress hormones increase with acute noise and will send them through the blood brain barrier to the brain. It's not even a matter of productivity and efficiency. It's just plain bad for your health.

This is not an arguement against music. I would consider anything that would make the kitchen enviornment healthier. Even ear plugs with or with out music if it wasn't so dangerous and helped.

Think about it, would you put on some jazz to relax  and then put on some classical music louder/over it to enjoy. Youwould be acting like an exec chef in no time ;>D

just my 1.5 cents



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