What’s in a song? Tin Drum AsiaCafe owner Steven Chan says the answer is sales



What's in a song? Tin Drum AsiaCafe owner Steven Chan says the answer is sales

Restaurateur Steven Chan was influenced by ancient Asian culture when naming his Pan Asian fast casual chain based in Atlanta and rapidly expanding throughout the southeast. The restaurants, called Tin Drum AsiaCafé, were named for the tin drummer that would beckon residents of ancient villages to gather for meals, where he would entertain them with his drum, of course, and highlight current news and events.

But the drumbeats now playing in the growing chain have a different origin – Chan himself. The entrepreneur and music and arts aficionado analyzes the playlist for his Pan Asian restaurants much like he analyzes his Profit and Loss statements, slicing and dicing to create the most perfect — and profitable — mix.

“It’s a very calculated approach,” says Chan, “but the precision doesn’t eliminate the passion of the music. In fact, it enhances it.”

Chan’s music isn’t from Billboard’s Top 100 – the songs are chosen based on their tempo. Statistically, customers are happiest with their purchases when their heart rates are raised slightly – so 65 percent of music played in the restaurant has a tempo of 120 beats per minute, keeping customers lighthearted and excited. We all need variety, though, so Chan mixes up the tempo to include slower (less 120 beats per minute) and faster tunes. Of course, at a restaurant named Tin Drum, the drum and bass line of the music is prominent, reminiscent of ‘club’ music, although a portion of the music is also organic or non-electronic.

When the entrepreneur had just one location, the music played from his own iPod. Just as a museum curator showcases different pieces from the collection, each chosen to complement the next, Chan switched out selections from his rapidly increasing collection monthly. But today, with ten locations in the southeast, Chan uses a service that helps him build and distribute his carefully curated music selection.

Chan isn’t alone in his approach. The LA Times recently reported that music has been part of a restaurant-industry transformation, citing “music sommeliers” that curate the play list just as wine sommeliers select the wine list. The paper cited possible sales increases, as much as 40 percent.

Chan credits his music mix for reinforcing Tin Drum’s brand message and adding to the overall customer experience.

“We designed Tin Drum to replicate the street vendors of my native Hong Kong,” said Chan. “The food – fresh, authentic dishes served up quickly – is one element of the experience, but I also design the music to reflect the hustle and bustle of the streets.”

Atlanta-based Tin Drum Asiacafé features Pan Asian cuisine at its 10 southeastern locations, made fresh to order at lightning speed and at a great value. Tin Drum’s diverse menu, inspired by Asian street food vendors, features more than 35 items made with Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese and Indian influences and 15 proprietary sauces. Certified by HealthyDiningFinder, the chain features kiosks equipped with health-based software that allow patrons to order based on individual dietary goals, along with a diverse gluten-free menu and vegetarian options. Tin Drum Asiacafe was named for the “Tin Drummer” of ancient Asian cultures. Each morning the drummer would awaken residents of the city with his tin drum, beckoning people to gather savory eats while he would entertain them with current news and events. Today, his drumbeat lives on… at Tin Drum Asiacafé. With a strong customer base in the greater Atlanta area, the fast-growing chain offers franchising opportunities throughout the Southeast.  For more information, please visit http://tindrumcafe.com.