The Surprising Reason Scottish McDonald's Play Classical Music

We can all agree that McDonald's – while perfect for getting your Big Mac fix – may not be where we go for an elevated culinary experience. McDonald's is definitely more of a drive-thru after soccer practice, quick coffee and hash browns when you're late to work and haven't eaten breakfast, cheeseburgers after a night on the town kind of dining decision. Like all fast food spots, the beauty is in the simplicity: it's quick, it's easy, it's consistent. As such, there isn't much in the way of "atmosphere." When you think of McDonald's, you probably think of fluorescent lights, brightly colored ball pits, and the soundtrack of children playing (or crying) and salty french fries being crunched.

Not so at many McDonald's in the UK, which have upped their music game considerably. Rather than a random playlist of catchy pop music, McDonald's locations in both Scotland and England have reportedly begun a classical music setlist in the evening hours, according to this article from The Daily Record. For several years now, McDonald's like the one mentioned in the article, in Kilmarnock, Scotland, have delighted their diners' eardrums not with Miley Cyrus or Billie Eilish but with Bach and Beethoven. So, what's the deal? Does listening to Mozart make your milkshake (sorry, your "shake") taste better?

Classical music calms and soothes diners

It turns out, according to BBC News, the decision to pipe in classical music to some McDonald's restaurants came from local police attempts to curb rowdy, anti-social behavior. The Welwyn Garden City McDonald's, in Hertfordshire, England (a town north of London), was identified as a hotspot of unruly behavior by the Hertfordshire police; and so, according to the BBC, a unique idea was floated at an anti-crime strategy meeting. In an effort to curb crime and deter rowdiness, the restaurant would switch off its WiFi at three o'clock each afternoon, and begin playing "calming" music from five p.m. onwards. And just like that, diners joined hands and ate in peaceful silence.

Well, probably not. But the effort has seemed to make a difference. "We are pleased that since introducing these extra security measures, we have seen a decrease in anti-social behavior in and around the restaurant," says a McDonald's spokesperson quoted in the article. And, according to this article from Harvard Medical School, today's doctors espouse the role of music in slowing the heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and reducing levels of stress hormones. So, it looks like the Golden Arches have us figured out once again.