Owning a restaurant or bar is no easy feat. There are so many great things about providing audiences with an incredible hospitality experience – good food, good wine, creative cocktails, a venue for celebrating life's biggest and smallest accomplishments – but there are also drawbacks.

Sometimes, businesses (through no fault of their own) get stale and once-loyal customers visit less often. A dish might arrive from the kitchen to someone's table cold… and then that's the last time you ever see that guest. Or, unforeseen and uncontrollable events, like the opening of a hip new eatery down the street means that your hot spot is no longer the hottest. That's why restaurant and bar businesses need to keep things fresh.

No matter how dedicated your local Friday or Saturday night customers might be, there’s always the rest of the week to consider. Whether you are looking to drum up new audiences in order to pack your space throughout the sluggish Sunday-to-Thursday stretch, while also tapping into the potential for dramatically increasing profits, then turning your restaurant into a karaoke restaurant might just be for you.

Why karaoke?

Who doesn’t love karaoke? It’s an engaging and unique pastime that allows people to truly unwind and be their most uninhibited and ridiculous selves, while also creating lasting memories and establishing and strengthening friendships. Karaoke bars and restaurants offer enthusiasts a judgment-free environment in which to let loose, chow down, and sing, often turning a low-traffic night of the week into a widely popular local event.

Burger restaurant with karaoke, showing a burger with karaoke in the background.
Burgers and karaoke? Sign me up. Karaoke at Bites Burger. 

From a business perspective, the pre-book karaoke business model – wherein customers select and reserve their rooms while inputting their party size and the desired number of plays – allows bar and restaurant owners to anticipate how busy they expect to be on any given night, allowing them to bring in more or fewer staff members to cover shifts. And by adding a dedicated area for karaoke fans, you are opening your business up to a brand new customer base – not to mention adding resale value to your space.

Group of friends having fun singing karaoke at Sing Sing bar.
Karaoke room at Sing Sing. 

Best of all, karaoke capitalizes on the ongoing trend of competitive socializing –– which involves high-energy activities such as billiards, shuffleboard, darts, foosball, and ping pong… basically, any type of interactive gaming with an inherent element of high or low-stakes competition between friends that takes place within a dining or hospitality setting with food and drinks.

And like most examples of competitive socializing, karaoke can be seamlessly incorporated into your restaurant or bar, typically with low overhead costs. Any money that you do spend to add some equipment and/or rejig your layout, you are likely to make back in volume.

The types of karaoke concepts for restaurants

Depending on the size and the existing layout of your bar or restaurant space, there are many different karaoke concepts that you can apply if adding some karaoke elements to your business. Whether you are thinking of turning your entire venue into a karaoke-themed bar or restaurant, building customized private karaoke rooms, or letting customers take a more hands-on approach, these are some of the most creative and lucrative concepts available.

Hosted karaoke nights

Four drag queen hosts holding microphones at the karaoke hole UK.
The Karaoke Hole has drag hosted karaoke nights to bring some extra personality. Photo credits: Róisín Murphy

A great concept for any restaurant owner looking to incorporate karaoke into their space is, arguably, the most effective, too. Putting together a karaoke night, with a dedicated host for the evening (a KJ – or a "karaoke jockey"), is the best way to cement your venue as a go-to destination for food, drinks, fun, and karaoke. KJs are essential for not only operating and managing the karaoke equipment but also facilitating the entire event and ensuring that everybody is safe and engaged throughout the night.

Drag queens from the karaoke hole eating pizza at a restaurant.
Karaoke and pizza make the perfect combination! Photo credits: Róisín Murphy

To implement a hosted karaoke night in your space, very little should be required in terms of layout and design. Move some of the seating so that you can dedicate a section of the restaurant or bar to a makeshift staging area – preferably a spot with good acoustics that can be seen from as many tables as possible. Add a spotlight and some quality karaoke equipment and karaoke software – like Singa – and you’re ready to go.


  • Hosted karaoke nights offer the biggest yields when it comes to foot traffic. When the entire restaurant or bar is engaged by watching a karaoke singer belt out the hits from a dedicated stage area, it offers a sense of community and inclusion that fuels the entire evening.
  • Food and alcohol sales often increase when everyone in the venue is participating in a hosted karaoke event.


  • The biggest con for anyone coming into a bar or restaurant on hosted karaoke night who does not want to participate in, or watch others perform, karaoke is that… well, they might not stick around if the karaoke is too loud or distracting.
  • Hosted karaoke night might not appeal to those who are into karaoke, but just aren’t ready or comfortable with performing karaoke in a public setting.
  • A karaoke jockey is someone with more than just hosting skills – if you don’t have an existing staff member who can fulfill this role, you might have to consider hiring a special KJ.

Private karaoke rooms

Group of people with food singing in a karaoke room.
Karaoke room at O'Learys eatertainment venue.

One of the most popular concepts for business owners looking to include karaoke elements into their space, private karaoke rooms are pre-booked for a determined amount of time, with the option of extending the time, if desired, as well as including add-ons like drinks and snacks from the kitchen (either delivered by staff or self-serve). Karaoke rooms are a great way to add seamless value to any bar or restaurant business.

Check out our karaoke room business guide here.


  • This type of scenario is perfect for those who are interested in karaoke but might not be comfortable singing publicly. Private rooms are ideal for first-timers.
  • The more comfortable a group of karaoke singers are, the more likely they are to stay for longer. This means longer room rental time, more food, and more drinks.


  • While relatively low cost, private karaoke rooms for businesses that don’t have existing space is the most invasive option and may require some significant maneuvering and out-of-pocket expenses.

Self-service karaoke

Man in a restaurant selecting a karaoke song from a self-service station.
Self-service karaoke station at Kraken

For those who might not be willing to completely transform their restaurant layout, or for those who might want to try a softer approach to incorporating karaoke into their setup, a self-service option is a great concept.

Utilizing self-service karaoke stations – when businesses install a compact karaoke station (maybe near the bar or at the rear of the venue) that any patron can walk up to, enter, and sing to their heart's content – leaves room for other customers to enjoy the restaurant environment while also providing them the option to sing karaoke if they choose.

Self-service karaoke booths are a nice complement to the overall karaoke concept and are ideal for testing the waters. If business owners notice that the self-service karaoke booths get a lot of attention, they might decide it's in their best interest to expand to a wider karaoke concept.


  • This type of scenario is perfect for those who are interested in karaoke but might not be comfortable singing publicly. Self-service karaoke machines or booths are ideal for first-timers.
  • Self-service is a great way to monitor how karaoke is received by your customers; if positive, business owners can slowly integrate larger-scale karaoke concepts into their bar or restaurant.


  • As with the private karaoke room option, self-service karaoke booths – or a dedicated self-service karaoke area – typically require additional costs (over and above the cost of software and speakers) to assemble and properly soundproof.
  • The drawback to having one or two self-service karaoke booths in your establishment is that, without proper advertising, customers might not notice they are there.

There you have it! Some food for thought when considering adding karaoke to your existing restaurant business. Now that you know the pros and cons of each type of karaoke addition – and the overall benefit of incorporating this engaging activity to attract new audiences – you're ready to make an informed decision. Discover even more helpful information about the business of karaoke by reaching out to a Singa representative.