Café de Coral: Music to Adjust a Restaurant’s Pace

Serving 300,000 customers daily, Café de Coral is one of the largest and most popular fast food chains in Hong Kong. It was founded in 1968 with the idea of offering affordable meals for working-class wage earners. And indeed, the restaurant’s typical Chinese and international dishes have proved well liked by the city’s working class, and even its general population. Café de Coral is by no means gourmet, but for a handful of dollars you get a full meal that looks and tastes good. No wonder there are lines at most its branches at mealtimes.

Café de Coral at Hong Kong Plaza, a 41-floor high office building in Sai Wan, is always busy. Being inside an office building, it is a popular choice of its office workers. At times between mealtimes, when the queue is shorter and the eatery more sparsely occupied, soothing instrumental music is heard at the background, infusing the atmosphere with a laidback, relaxed ambience. However, is it the suitable type of music to play during peak hours such as lunch break? Most fast food restaurants across the world combine fast paced music with a strong colour palette to make the customers want to leave as soon as possible. Do you think Café de Coral should play different types of background music depending on how much the restaurant wants to facilitate table turnover?

A McDonald’s of Relative Quiet

McDonald’s is a brand that needs no introduction. The world’s largest restaurant chain, McDonald’s serves approximately 68 million customers daily in 120 countries across approximately 36,900 outlets. The fast food brand mainly sells hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken products, and french fries, very much to the liking of people of different ages.

McDonald’s at The Westwood (西寶城) differs from the majority of its counterparts. The Westwood is a shopping mall in Shek Tong Tsui and one of the facilities of the Belcher’s, the tallest development in Western Mid-levels consisting of six residential buildings. The proximity to the Belcher’s facilitates residents’ access to the fast food shop and schoolchildren with nannies are often seen there. However, Western Mid-levels is not really a busy area and not many people frequent by. The spacious mall is generally calm and relatively peaceful. So is its McDonald’s. Background pop music is clearly audible, mingled with children’s voices and the sound of customers making enquiries. The open restaurant got no doors which allows sounds to diffuse. Furthermore, it got more seats in the mall outside the small shop. So if you want to have your food in a quieter environment, you have choices.

With most McDonald’s being crowded, McDonald’s at The Westwood stands out in its space and relative peace. Fast food is prepared, delivered and eaten fast. But relative quiet will still be welcomed by some customers.