Typically music that plays in restaurants is chosen by the brand owners or product marketing managers for the brand or hotel chain. The larger ones mostly work with curated music providers to choose playlists that are chosen to match the restaurant / store / hotel brand’s demographic / image / style and the music is day parted (organised so that it plays the right styles / tempos etc of music at the right time of day).
Companies that specialise in curated music content vary in size from multinationals, including Mood (who I think own Pandora), PlayNetwork (US/UK based) and other independents including Perfect Octave (UK/EUR), Music Concierge (UK), Imagesound (UK) and others.
Music is often ‘piped’ in via the internet to solid state playback devices hooked up to the in-house audio system. All licensing with music from these suppliers is normally included in the monthly/annual charge.
Locally, managers in-store may be able to skip tracks, control volumes etc but in these scenarios content is generally controlled to keep the music on-brand and consistent across multiple stores.
(In the early days music providers used to pipe the music in to stores, restaurants etc over the telephone line and it was someone’s job to go in to the music providers office and change over the reel to reel tapes as they ran out, every 4–8 hours…which just shows things have moved on a little).
Hope this answers your question but don’t hesitate to drop us a line to find out more.