Action on Hearing Loss Logo
    Total results:
    Search
      Total results:

      "There's a difference between a buzz and a din."

      Our Campaigns Manager Johanna Taylor met Christopher Moore, CEO of the multi-award winning Clink Restaurant.

      By: Johanna Taylor | 12 September 2017

      An unprecedented trend for noisy restaurants is putting customers off, say the publishers of the 2017 Good Food Guide. Our Speak Easy campaign agrees: 90% of our supporters with hearing loss telling us that background noise is the biggest problem they face when eating out. 

      But are restaurants listening? One major industry figure is. Christopher Moore, who held major roles at Hilton, Harrods and Fenwick before joining The Clink, is successfully tackling the noise problem that much of the industry is so far struggling to address. And the results, says Chris, are “tremendous”.

      I travelled down to Sutton to meet Chris at The Clink Restaurant in HMP High Down this summer. The Clink offers a fine dining experience, and also has branches in Brixton, Cardiff and Cheshire. There’s a twist though: it’s the only chain of public restaurants in the UK set inside the walls of working prisons. 

      The Clink restaurant, HMP High Down

      It’s also one of Britain's most popular restaurant chains. In July 2017, all four Clink restaurants simultaneously achieved Number 1 ratings on Trip Advisor in their regions. And the Brixton restaurant was competing alongside a staggering 17,909 restaurants in London.

      The Clink is a charity. It runs a vocational scheme that gives prisoners hands-on experience in its restaurants, preparing them for a professional working environment. This has achieved an enormous reduction in reoffending within the first year from release, from the national rate of 45% to just 10%.

      This is my first visit to a Clink restaurant, and I can see why it’s so rated highly. The setting and mission are unique, the service is fast and friendly, and the excellent quality dishes are reasonably priced. But perhaps most importantly, The Clink doesn’t just do good: its restaurants sound good.

      “The difference to noise levels has been tremendous”

      The Clink Restaurant at HMP High DownBefore he tackled the acoustics of the High Down restaurant, Chris says, “the noise level could become unbearable” when the restaurant was fully booked with over 90 guests. The finishes in the restaurant made it hard for people to hear each other speak – and they made complaints.

      With the noise clearly affecting the customer experience, the need to address it was a straightforward “customer requirement” for Chris. “It’s nice to have a buzz, but there’s a difference between this and a din” he tells me.

      Chris upgraded several elements of the restaurant to improve the acoustics. Echophon installed almost invisible sound absorbing panels, softer seating was fitted, and tables were narrowed by 20cm to help the conversation flow even at the busiest times.

      “The difference in noise levels has been tremendous" says Chris. "It’s like a totally different restaurant with a new ambiance. It all seems a lot calmer, and guests can now hear each other speak.”

      As I tuck into my melt-in-the-mouth grilled sea bass I can see – and hear – what he means. The physical changes are barely noticeable, and don't detract from the sleek, modern finish of the restaurant. Background music complements the restaurant’s buzzy atmosphere, but the improved acoustics mean we can easily converse over the sound. 

      A restaurateur with over 30 years’ experience in hospitality, Chris simply responded to his customers' concerns and improved the guest experience in his restaurants. With excessive noise fast becoming a top issue for diners in the UK, I leave hoping that other restaurants will soon take The Clink’s lead and do the same.

      Find out more

      Christopher Moore will be speaking about The Clink at the Restaurant Show at Olympia London on Tuesday 3 October. It's free to attend, and our Speak Easy campaign will be at stand UJ51 at the Show from 2-4 October. Do drop by and say hi to Johanna and the team!

      Learn more about The Clink

      Get involved in our Speak Easy campaign

      Recent Posts

      The next generation of hearing loss researchers

      We're working hard to speed up the development of treatments for hearing loss and tinnitus. As part of this, we provide funding for PhD students, supporting the next generation of hearing researchers. Every year, we invite our students to visit us at our headquarters in London. Silvia Davey, from our fundraising team, tells us about their visit in her blog.

      By: Silvia Davey
      14 February 2019

      Must-have products that make the perfect pair

      Like romance, there’s a spark when two things are perfectly matched. So, we’ve paired some of our most popular hearing loss products. We call them our ‘Just the two of us’ bundles and they’re designed to help you live life to the full.

      By: Sally Bromham
      13 February 2019

      How to protect your hearing when using headphones

      Many people, including young children, listen to music, films or TV using headphones or earphones, often at high sound levels. This can damage their hearing and/or cause tinnitus. Richard Whitaker, an acoustic consultant, tells us how we can listen safely.

      By: Richard Whitaker
      12 February 2019

      The latest home safety alarms for hearing loss

      Ordinary smoke alarms are often not loud enough for people with hearing loss. You may need visual and vibrating alerts to know when an alarm has been activated. Deaf-friendly smoke alarm systems give an early warning of fire and carbon monoxide fumes to enable a fast escape.

      By: Sally Bromham
      06 February 2019

      Recent Posts

      The next generation of hearing loss researchers

      We're working hard to speed up the development of treatments for hearing loss and tinnitus. As part of this, we provide funding for PhD students, supporting the next generation of hearing researchers. Every year, we invite our students to visit us at our headquarters in London. Silvia Davey, from our fundraising team, tells us about their visit in her blog.

      By: Silvia Davey
      14 February 2019

      Must-have products that make the perfect pair

      Like romance, there’s a spark when two things are perfectly matched. So, we’ve paired some of our most popular hearing loss products. We call them our ‘Just the two of us’ bundles and they’re designed to help you live life to the full.

      By: Sally Bromham
      13 February 2019

      How to protect your hearing when using headphones

      Many people, including young children, listen to music, films or TV using headphones or earphones, often at high sound levels. This can damage their hearing and/or cause tinnitus. Richard Whitaker, an acoustic consultant, tells us how we can listen safely.

      By: Richard Whitaker
      12 February 2019

      The latest home safety alarms for hearing loss

      Ordinary smoke alarms are often not loud enough for people with hearing loss. You may need visual and vibrating alerts to know when an alarm has been activated. Deaf-friendly smoke alarm systems give an early warning of fire and carbon monoxide fumes to enable a fast escape.

      By: Sally Bromham
      06 February 2019

      More like this

      We're really proud of everyone who's a part of Action on Hearing Loss, and hope you'll feel inspired to become a part of our community.​

      We campaign for changes that make life better for people who are confronting deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss.

      Our ears are our organs of hearing and balance. They have three parts: the outer, middle and inner ear.