by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition
This article by Mary Bilyeu, The Toledo Blade, shows that noisy restaurants aren’t just a problem in coastal cities like New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco. The reporter also notes that many people avoid noisy restaurants, and, as the headline intimates, this might be costing the restaurants customers.
The only problem is that as long as most restaurants are busy enough, restaurateurs have no incentive to make them quieter. This is true even when most people want quieter restaurants, which makes this a clear-cut case of market failure crying out for regulatory intervention.
The article also mentions someone’s older parents who use hearing aids and couldn’t converse in a noisy restaurant. I believe that restaurant noise is a disability rights issue and that needs regulatory intervention, too.
If enough people complain about restaurant noise to enough elected officials, often enough and again and again, eventually restaurants will become quieter.