01 | Restaurant noise - with Mitch Zlotnik of Audimute

March 14, 2018 Soundproofist
01 | Restaurant noise - with Mitch Zlotnik of Audimute
01 | Restaurant noise - with Mitch Zlotnik of Audimute
Mar 14, 2018

Cary: Have you ever gone to a restaurant that was so noisy that it was painful? Or where you had to shout while you were eating? Or where you couldn’t hear someone at the same table unless you sat right next to them?

Cary: This first episode of Soundproofist takes a look at that issue. My name is Cary, and I’m going to share a few audio clips of noisy restaurants, and then give you an example of a restaurant that has sound-absorbing panels on the ceiling. Then we’ll talk to Mitch Zlotnik, who’s the President of Audimute in Ohio. Audimute offers a lot of products for sound absorption and sound reduction.

Cary: I was impressed when I looked at their website and I saw the sound panel options. The same kind of sound panels that can help with restaurant noise. Here’s something you can do. You can download an app onto your smartphone that shows the decibel levels in real time for the environment you’re in at that moment.

Cary: You can use this app for a reality check. Let’s say that normal room noise — a quiet room with no one talking and no other noise in it — is about 35 decibels. As soon as you move around or when you say something, that decibel level is going to go up. So what’s normal in a restaurant where there’s lots of activity and lots of people talking?

Cary: Well, OSHA standards basically say that any environment that’s 85 decibels or above needs to provide protection for employees who are exposed to that level of noise for eight hours per day. Obviously you’re not going to be in the restaurant for eight hours. And maybe the people who work there also won’t be onsite for eight hours either.

Cary: When I measured a few restaurants and they were 85 decibels or more, the noise was intolerable. You didn’t want to stay there or even bother trying to talk to anybody. You can try it for yourself. On an iPhone, I’ve used a couple of apps called SPL Meter and another one called Decibels.

Cary: I’ll play a few clips from restaurants that were 85 decibels or higher while I was there. Then I’ll play a clip of a restaurant that had sound panels on the ceiling and it was about 79 decibels. It’s really hard to capture what it’s like to be in those environments. So that’s why I suggest you try it for yourself. Let’s listen to some examples of 85 decibels or higher.

The decibel tests

Cary: We’re here in a restaurant in San Francisco. We’re testing out what sounds like an 85 decibel level, with loud rock music playing in the background, and a lot of hard surfaces. Actually, only one group of people is sitting at the table next to us. But how well can you hear me? You have to lean forward to hear what I’m saying?

Speaker 3: I have to lean forward, yeah.

Cary: Yeah, it’s pretty loud.

Cary: I’m in a Thai restaurant in San Francisco with several people celebrating a birthday. And the decibel level is about 90. How easily can you hear me?

Speaker 4: Well, you’re leaning in towards me so I can hear you pretty well, but if you didn’t, I probably wouldn’t.

Cary: Do you think you could have a conversation with somebody, like two people away from you at this table?

Speaker 4: No. I could barely hear you that time because you didn’t lean in as much.

Cary: Okay, thanks.

Cary: I’m sitting here in a Mexican restaurant in San Francisco. And the decibel level before I started talking is about 85. I’m at a table with my friends and I can’t hear what they’re saying at the other end of the table, which is not that far away.

Cary: I thought I would talk to the person sitting right next to me and see, how well can you hear me?

Speaker 5: I can hear you pretty good because I’m listening. At the end of the table, all I hear is like … it sounds like quacking. I can’t hear anything else.

Cary: Okay, thanks.

Cary: Now in this restaurant, I forgot to measure the decibel level. I thought it was a little bit better. But my friend, Joe, had another opinion.

Cary: I’m with my friend Joe in a restaurant that’s here in San Francisco and… it’s not as loud. I think one of the reasons why is because it doesn’t have a 90-degree angle on the ceiling. It’s actually got kind of an angled roof that’s maybe 110 degrees.

Cary: Even though there’s a fair amount of noise in here and there’s music playing and everything, because it doesn’t have solid 90 degree angles, and it angles up so it’s really high on one side, I think it makes all the difference in sound and sound bouncing. What do you think of this Joe?

Joe: Well, for me, since I’m wearing hearing aids, I think it’s at the higher level of medium. I’ve been in louder places, but it’s still... it’s very difficult for me. If I take my hearing aids out, then I can’t hear at all. It’s not a place to have a quiet conversation.

Cary: Here’s the restaurant that had sound panels on the ceiling. See if you can hear the difference.

Cary: I’m sitting here in Chow on Church Street and I’m right underneath some of these ceiling pads that are put here for soundproofing. It really does help a lot because it’s crowded, and there’s a lot of people talking, and there’s even Jackson 5 music playing. But I can actually hear. Can you hear me?

Speaker 7: I can.

Cary: That’s great. That’s great.

Speaker 7: You’re not even speaking loudly and neither am I, and I can hear you perfectly.

Cary: We have a table with a lot of people next to us. Of course, they’re quiet right now, but when they start laughing like they did right there, it’s not that bad.

Audimute interview

Cary: I know a lot of restaurants operate on a tight budget. And naturally, it would be great if they could address the noise problem or if they knew where to go to solve it. That’s why I arranged this interview with Mitch Zlotnik of Audimute. We spoke over Skype, so the audio sounds a bit Skypey. Sorry about that. It’s kind of ironic in an episode about sound, but anyway... Mitch very generously shared his insights with us. Let’s take a listen.

Cary: Audimute is a company that offers solutions for a lot of noise issues and one of those issues is restaurant noise. Hi Mitch, welcome to Soundproofist.

Mitch Zlotnik: Thank you so much for having me. It is really a pleasure to be here and help so many people who are going to value from our conversation today.

Cary: Tell us a little bit about your company, Audimute.

Mitch Zlotnik: Well, Audimute is a company that was founded about 13 years ago by me. We began to specialize in solving soundproofing problems in commercial and residential spaces. We started doing this in a very unique way, with solutions that look like art or we’re able to integrate into space. Really focused on the outcome and what people were trying to do in the space that they originally intended to, but could not because they had a quote, unquote sound barrier.

Cary: You did have some really good examples of stuff that really did just look like wall paintings or something. It seems like such an obvious choice.

Mitch Zlotnik: What’s funny is it’s you think about, “Well, why do you have to disappear in the space? Why is that important?” It’s funny. We’ve had some companies come to us with some industrial problems and they’ve walked through our office and showroom and they’ve said, “Wow. Well, you really don’t understand our problem because we’re more industrial.”

Mitch Zlotnik: I’m like, “Wow. The sound issue isn’t the problem. It’s how do you integrate it into the space so that it doesn’t become an eyesore — when someone’s already spent budget on build-out and all the finished surfaces that they selected when they built the place?”

Cary: Yeah, no, I love that. That you had so many color choices and they could just disappear. Let’s just say I own a small restaurant and it gets really noisy sometimes, and I’m on a tight budget. I want to try out some acoustic panels and see if they make a difference. How do I get started?

Mitch Zlotnik: Well it’s hard to try out, I think, a solution. I think understanding the sound problem is really important. I do always think it’s important to speak to somebody who knows sound and kind of understand what’s happening, because noise in a restaurant can manifest itself in different ways.

Mitch Zlotnik: It can be kitchen noise. It can be, obviously, conversations and intensity from too many people in a small place, etcetera. Or it could be someone’s having music or they wouldn’t have live music. The sound problem is, it’s very rare. I think in the 13 years we’ve done this, we’ve actually experienced like the same problem twice, if you will, because there’s always some element in the space that makes a big difference.

Mitch Zlotnik: To say, “How do you do this on a budget?” I think the first thing is to be realistic. Before you even think about solving a problem, you say, “What does it take to solve a problem? What’s really involved in a restaurant, or any space for that matter, when I have a sound problem?” Be realistic so that you’re properly budgeted for it, whether it’s Audimute or another provider.

Mitch Zlotnik: I can certainly give you reasons why Audimute, but you really want to understand, what does it take to solve the sound problem financially? What is the value of that solution? So that you can ensure that you are properly funded to actually solve the problem.

Cary: Okay. How would someone who’s running a restaurant or running a small business, not a specialist in audio solutions -- how do they figure that out?

Mitch Zlotnik: It’s really hard. They shouldn’t have to. Because they really understand the restaurant business, they shouldn’t really have to understand the acoustic business. We pride ourselves on being accessible. I’m sure there’s other companies as well. I don’t want to speak just to Audimute today, but to be fair to my industry.

Mitch Zlotnik: Certainly, there are folks that you need to speak with so you understand what’s happening. I’ll give you some good examples. Like I said, voices. You could have, the shape of the restaurant could be playing into why you’re having an issue. It could be how your tables are set up.

Mitch Zlotnik: It could be how, just the way decorative elements are put into the space, and so there’s a lot of things with that. Overall, I think, typically, how a problem will be solved will end up in some way, shape or form affecting the surfaces, which will represent themselves, solutions will represent themselves as panels or potentially baffles in the ceiling or, and other, I would say, soft surfaces, to be non-technical, entered into the space so that there’s absorption.

Mitch Zlotnik: You start to bring the energy level down in the space. That allows for clarity of sound, conversation, good experiences for your customers that want to come back.

Cary: Okay, yeah. That actually was one of the questions I was going to ask you. Partially, my naivete about this, is I was wondering, do you do the ceilings first, the walls? I guess each situation is probably unique, right?

Mitch Zlotnik: Yeah, it depends. Yeah. I can tell you, let’s say, common sense. Yes, there’s an acoustic problem that’s a little scientific, but you want to be close to the sound source. Sometimes, that means being in the ceiling is the closest place. Sometimes being on the wall is the closest place.

Mitch Zlotnik: Then you have to look at some of the pragmatic elements in terms of, “Where do my customers reach?” You know what I mean? If I have a lot of kids in the restaurant, or if I have just simply, it’s a bar and people will be leaning against a wall here or equipment will be leaned against here or next to a busing station or something like this. Then, obviously, having things within that type of proximity is going to lend itself to panels getting dirty and/or damaged. Then you’ve really have kind of lost your investment there, and it has to be replaced, and that’s not going to be any fun.

Mitch Zlotnik: It’s really a balance of looking at, “What does the situation call for that also represents the best acoustical correction?”

Cary: That was actually one of my questions also is that, are all the panels fabric covered and are they easy to keep clean?

Mitch Zlotnik: Well, it’s interesting. I would say, in general, when out in the marketplace, there’s different types of material that are used. Fiberglass is one of oldest. It’s among the cheapest but it’s, there are new technologies. Primarily, we focus on cellulose. We use wool, we use cotton. We blend these together, but we stay within a natural realm.

Mitch Zlotnik: The interesting thing, there’s … Oh, there’s new polyesters that are now coming out. There’s always some … There’s a foam, obviously, polyurethane foam that’s been used as well. We’ve seen those on studios and such.

Mitch Zlotnik: There’s certain requirements that you have with fiberglass, for example, where the product has to be covered because of the particulates. Our product does not have to be covered and has a very special feature that we can actually coat it, so it enables us to match almost any color in anyone’s space. It’s just a little bit of an advantage in our scenario. It cuts a lot of labor out of the process and allows ourselves to be very fast in our manufacturing.

Mitch Zlotnik: Different fabrics are essential to what you’re doing, but it really is attempting just to do what befits the space. A lot of times it’s fabrics, they’re soft surfaces, and I think people think of, “How do you add color to a yellow piece of fiberglass? It’s typically been done with fiberglass or with textiles.

Mitch Zlotnik: In our scenario, it’s kind of new. You can coat the products. That’s, again it’s, so people think that the way you have to change the color of fiberglass is with textiles. If you’re working with fiberglass, yes. You have to bag it, put it into some kind of enclosure or you have to seal it with a textile type thing. In our scenario, we don’t have that problem.

Cary: Wow, that’s great. It really sounds like it’s fairly easy. I mean, you can actually just get these pieces that have a color on them and then, I guess, just install them. I mean, it’s-

Mitch Zlotnik: It’s simple, right. It’s that easy or it’s something where, it can be something that’s decorative. We’ve done really neat things, not so much going deeper into the technologies that absorb sound as much as we are doing unique things with the technology, and to include a new surface that we’re now calling Audimute Strata, which is a surface that looks like stone. It actually looks like brick.

Cary: Wow.

Mitch Zlotnik: It’s funny, because the inspiration came from that show, Designated Survivor, where Kiefer Sutherland was in this bunker in the beginning and they had … I saw in the room, they had concrete walls and they had these concrete-like fissures in the space that looked like the side of our panels that came out of our production line on one side.

Mitch Zlotnik: I’m like, “Wait a minute here. That looks kind of interesting.” I started putting that through some R&D, and about a week later had this product called Strata, at least the first version of it, that is a stone-like product. It’s really cool.

Mitch Zlotnik: It’s just to say that decorative, I think you can find different ways to accommodate almost any space. I can just say, on behalf of customers, restaurant owners who would be in denial that they need something, you got to do something. I think it’s like the second reason people will leave a restaurant is that they leave something untreated like that, and people don’t return. I think it’s right up there. I think it’s like top three is sound. “Sound is like a good haircut,” I always say. If you don’t notice it, it’s good.

Cary: Right, that’s true.

Mitch Zlotnik: When it’s bad, it’s really bad. It affects your business.

Cary: Yeah. I actually told some people I was doing this episode and they were really excited about it. Because it’s actually a really big issue that people get pretty passionate about. Also, I’ve gone out with people to restaurants and we end up saying, “I don’t want to say for dessert. Let’s find someplace else to go where we can hear each other.”

Mitch Zlotnik: Wow.

Cary: I think it’s a huge problem.

Mitch Zlotnik: The bigger problem, yeah, the bigger problem is almost like the restaurant owners, they’re hearing about this, they’ve heard about this. They’re probably sick of hearing about it.

Cary: Right.

Mitch Zlotnik: I think they, some … When you talk about the small restaurant owner, how is a problem solved? I always say, “Talk to an expert.” It doesn’t necessarily mean go call the architect first, even though that is a place that you can start, or a builder, that’s also a place to start.

Mitch Zlotnik: Talk to someone who just knows sound, and what’s happening in the space and, “How can I solve this?” A lot of times, that can be solved directly. Audimute is a unique model that we sell direct to end-users.

Mitch Zlotnik: If you call an architect, it’s just a different path as to how a solution gets to the restaurant. A little bit more complex, it’s just more of an architectural direction or a design direction. When you’re working with the ability to solve your own problem, I think that’s how smaller places do it more affordably. You know?

Cary: Yeah.

Mitch Zlotnik: Finding solutions that fit with like, within a context of something they can install themselves.

Cary: Right, right. That’s, one of my other questions was kind of, because I would, if I was running a small restaurant with not a lot of profit margin, I would wonder, “Well, what’s the minimum I could do in terms of how much surface should I cover?” If I’m looking at budget and I’m thinking about space and how I want to use that space, what’s the minimum?

Cary: I think I might have seen somewhere, I don’t know if it was on your site or somewhere else, where I read it was somewhere between 10 to 20% coverage is probably the minimum, right?

Mitch Zlotnik: You could, but it also depends if it’s a large restaurant or even though it may be a small operation, but if it’s at a large space, sound attenuates through air. Those waves will attenuate through air and weaken through air as the medium.

Mitch Zlotnik: What happens is you can say, “Yeah, 10, 20%,” but it really depends on the space. It depends on the shape of the space. We try to leverage all the elements in the space. If they’re planning a remodel in a year, I’d hate to have someone go about putting things on walls and things like this when perhaps there was something they could do when they redo the furniture that might lend itself to a little bit of absorption and diffusion as well.

Mitch Zlotnik: Sound, that intensity kind of builds up when you have opposite parallel walls. One wave kind of comes behind the other, to keep things simple, and you have a little bit of a compounding effect where now you have higher level of energy. It’s almost like one wave pushing behind another, and then they suddenly have a bigger wave, right?

Cary: Right.

Mitch Zlotnik: That bigger wave with more energy is perceived as volume, an increase in volume. That’s how we perceive that. Breaking up how sound moves in the space or scattering sound is another way of achieving that warming or that acoustical effect where you don’t have that intensity buildup.

Mitch Zlotnik: You leverage diffusion. You leverage absorption. You leverage the reflection, the natural reflections in the space. Those three elements, in order to create an environment that is balanced so you don’t have one area that sounds really bad, another one is okay. You figure you can’t seat anybody in this one area.

Cary: Right, right.

Mitch Zlotnik: Like I said, really comes down to, I wouldn’t try to figure it out in your own. In fact, I got a little worried when I knew we’d be speaking because it’s like, “Wow. Cary’s taking on a very complex issue with just acoustics in a restaurant.” I’m like, “Whoa.”

Cary: I think what I want to do is just show people that it’s something that can be done. And it’s not like you have to invest in having an entire architecture change. You can probably come up with something-

Mitch Zlotnik: Exactly, exactly.

Cary: … that anyone could do, but you don’t want to just buy $800 worth of stuff and realize that it wasn’t really the right thing to do. [crosstalk 00:19:07]

Mitch Zlotnik: Right. I think what’s interesting, if I could say, a small restaurant. If you were to give me a footprint and say, “Okay, we have a 2,000 foot or 1,000 square foot restaurant or a 3,000 square foot restaurant. How do you budget for that? How do you account for that?” So you can kind of get a flavor for the solution based on our experience.

Mitch Zlotnik: If you have 1,000 square feet, you could spend somewhere between 2,000 and $4,000, let’s say. The higher-end is going to be more decorative. It also could involve more quantity.

Cary: Right.

Mitch Zlotnik: I think under that, I think you might come up shy in the way of enough material, right?

Cary: Yeah.

Mitch Zlotnik: When you move into larger spaces, I have a 3,000 square foot restaurant we did recently and that was like a, probably about a $7,000 job. There’s, it could have spent as much as 10,000, again, with getting more decorative and really doing some cool integrations, but we were able to do that affordably. The unique thing about that particular restaurant is that 90% of what’s in it you don’t see.

Cary: Wow.

Mitch Zlotnik: It disappears. Yeah, it’s really a unique thing, artistically. We’re hiding in a lot of spaces in that particular place. I pat my myself on the back and really give kudos to the team at Audimute for making it work for that restaurant because they put in … We always come in, it seems, after the fact. This not being any different.

Mitch Zlotnik: We were challenged with working with plaster walls that had beautiful iron sheet trees on it and things like this. You couldn’t be more reflective, and a brick wall on the other side. It’s like, “Holy cow. How do you fit in here? How do we solve this problem?”

Cary: Right. Is the brick still on one side then? Then you just treated the other side, or did you actually have to deal with the brick side also?

Mitch Zlotnik: Well, you want to scatter sound, so sometimes you want to treat both. In this particular scenario, we were able to leverage elements in the ceiling and we were able to put in some decorative rustic type pieces that were artistic on the wall. He also had these barn doors that had windows, and in place of the glass we put in our material and so it looked … Black colored material, and so it looks like, it just looked like the window. That became panels on one wall.

Cary: Wow.

Mitch Zlotnik: Again, sneaky ways of thinking about sound is part of the value thing that really makes, at least makes us different. I think being creative like that in terms of, “Where do you go?”

Mitch Zlotnik: Because 90% of our work is done after the build-out is complete and decoration is done. You want to find that you’re not stomping on someone else’s canvas or pallet or decorative choices that they’ve already invested in.

Cary: Yeah, exactly. Now, but you are actually able to help a lot of people without ever even making a site visit.

Mitch Zlotnik: I would say 98% of our work is done without a site visit. A lot of it is just experience and understanding what’s going on in a space. I think doing virtual walkthroughs with members of our team has been probably the most helpful. I mean, we get a really good feel. When we look at a space, you can see where the hotspots may be.

Mitch Zlotnik: It’s really interesting. We’ve had folks … Things that folks didn’t expect to have happen, because when they make changes, it’s like they always say, “Every action has a reaction.” Well, I’ve had folks that tried to separate a party room, essentially. They spent a lot of money on an isolation technique, which is different than absorption that we’re speaking about for small restaurants. This isolation to separate this other room, when they made this wall very dense, very hard and very isolating for sound, it increased the energy on the inside of that room.

Mitch Zlotnik: They didn’t have a sound problem in that room, other than sound coming in, but once you made that wall really dense, it now had an effect on increasing the energy level in that space because no sound was leaving.

Cary: Oh my god.

Mitch Zlotnik: They built a very effective barrier that now created an extra problem, and-

Cary: Yeah, on the side. Yeah.

Mitch Zlotnik: … It was that one particular place, they were not getting any relief through that wall, and so now, we have treated inside that other space in order to … With absorption, in order to make that even bearable. I mean, even functional.

Cary: Yeah.

Mitch Zlotnik: That’s where it’s just really important, I think, for folks to start with, “I know I have a problem. I want to understand this, financially, what it means". Of course, there’s ways to leverage the value of a treatment in other ways such as branding, or it could be art, things like that in a space. You really have to get a good handle on ballpark. “What is this going to run me? What could this run me?” Then you know whether or not you’re fit for a project.

Mitch Zlotnik: If you don’t have enough to really get there, sometimes it is better just to do something than nothing, but you really want to be realistic about what it’s going to take to solve the problem. Because it’s either, it’s kind of, “You’re pregnant or not” kind of a thing when it comes to sound. Either you’ve treated this and the complaints stop, or you’re always going to have a section of the population that’s not happy. If that’s the older population, it’s also sometimes the folks that have a little bit more money.

Cary: Right. That’s true, yeah. Well, you’ve answered some of my questions so far, really. One thing I was also wondering about was actual installation. Once somebody orders these panels, I assume they come shipped by UPS or something, and they arrive. How do you get them up? Like do you need to hire someone who’s an installer, or is this something that somebody could just kind of hammer a few nails up and hang them up?

Mitch Zlotnik: Well, it’s interesting. Again, I don’t want to brag about Audimute unless you want me to, because I’m certainly glad to. There’s a lot-

Cary: No, feel free.

Mitch Zlotnik: I would say, typically, acoustical panels of all kinds can be hung by owners of restaurant or any type of folks that are just handy. If you can hang a picture on a wall at home, you can handle hanging acoustical panels. Making sure you hang them in the right space, again, lends itself to getting that guidance I was talking about before with an acoustical expert.

Mitch Zlotnik: Installation often is … We like to make it so that the restaurant can do it themselves, but there are plenty of handymen out there and contractors, subcontractors that would be glad to hang them as well. It usually comes down to the complexity of what you’re doing. If it’s very decorative and there’s a cool design and there’s all these things, well you may need somebody that’s got a bit more skillset than the basics in order to make the project successful.

Mitch Zlotnik: I like to make products that can be shipped easily. I like to make products that the end-users can install it themselves against my model. Audimute’s model is a manufacturer, direct to end-user. We do have some distributors, but it’s, we do pride ourselves on being very close to our customers, because they’re the ones that tell us what we need to make.

Cary: Yeah, exactly. One other thing I think that’s really good to know about your products that I saw on your website is, aside from that they’re kind of environmentally friendly, basically, they’re also fire rated. This might be a concern in a restaurant, any place really that has to be accountable, yeah.

Mitch Zlotnik: Has to be. Absolutely has to be. The reason is because you have to have, for a commercial product or a commercial space, and this goes down to their occupancy permit, the relationship with their, the city, essentially, to have a permit to operate the restaurant.

Mitch Zlotnik: They will be required, if they have panels that are attached to the wall that are there for acoustical purposes, those will need to meet a code, essentially, ASTM E84. The Fire Marshal may even want to … They may come in and say, “Hey, these panels here, what are they made of?” It’s a good idea when you buy panels to have the paperwork that goes with it so that you understand the technical specs. You can hand it to the Fire Marshal and they go, “Oh, okay good. We know these meet the specification. You’re not creating a fire hazard.” Things like that. Very important actually, as part of the building code.

Mitch Zlotnik: I see a lot of folks, they buy things and they put things in improperly, and then they’ve had to take them out because they thought something would work a certain way or it met a certain rating. Very important to get the tech specs.

Cary: Yeah, exactly. All right. Well is there anything else you want to tell us about your services or good to know before we wrap up here?

Mitch Zlotnik: Yeah. I think really the simple thing, I’ll just be the big advocate of one, if you have a problem, do your customers a favor, do your business a favor. I mean, obviously, you want to be in business. You want to enjoy serving more customers, right?

Cary: Right.

Mitch Zlotnik: Well, I don’t know any worse scenario in a restaurant other than sounds that really ruins what you are intending to do for your guests, so I advocate getting help. If you got a problem, at least seek a solution.

Mitch Zlotnik: Make sure you have the understanding, and at least plan for when that’s going to happen so if people are complaining, “We are doing something in a couple months.” Let them know that there’s something in the works so that anybody who is not having a great experience or where sound is a problem, that they’re willing to come back and try again and see if you’ve got that in place yet. That type of thing, but I would get that in place.

Mitch Zlotnik: The other is to contact a professional. Talk to someone. We are proud to have, we have several acoustic specialists on staff that will work through issues and help restaurant owners understand their sound problem, why the solutions that we recommend are needed, and come up with all kinds of wonderful ways that we can increase the value in their space and just enhance the customer experience.

Mitch Zlotnik: Those two things are most important. One, treat it. Number two, get a professional to help you through it. You don’t have to go at it alone, and learn the acoustical world and try to figure it out. It’s complex, and every space is unique. We also want to keep everyone’s restaurants unique, because that’s what’s fun about them, right?

Mitch Zlotnik: Having a company who understands that is really important and I think Audimute does that, but there may be other folks out there as well. I just want to advocate that if you have a problem, you should definitely take action to correct it.

Cary: It sounds like if you don’t know where else to go and you want to talk to an acoustical expert, they can start with you. They can start with Audimute if …

Mitch Zlotnik: They sure can. Make our website known, Certainly giving us a call. 866-505-Mute is an easy way to remember that, and talk to somebody. We’re Eastern Standard Time in Cleveland, buying direct from the manufacturer from a family business. No one’s going to care more about the outcome, that it does what you originally wanted to do in your space, restaurant or other to make those sound barriers, take them out of your way from being successful.

Cary: Well, this was really informative, and I really want to thank you for joining us today. I’m impressed with what you do. I wish I had a restaurant. I would have your panels up already. I really am also going to try to encourage some of my favorite places to give this a try. Thanks again for your time. I will put links on my blog site to your website. Thanks, Mitch.

Mitch Zlotnik: Thank you so much for having me.

Cary: I’d like to thank Mitch of Audimute and my friends who participated in this episode of Soundproofist. Be sure to visit the Audimute website at That’s A-U-D-I-M-U-T-E, Audimute.

Cary: If you have questions about the issues we talked about in this episode or other topics you’d like to talk about in future episodes, visit the Soundproofist website, or just send me an email. Thanks for listening.