By Stanley Tan, Digital Marketing Manager, Selby’s
No one better than you know just how competitive the restaurant industry is. Profit margins are razor thin, new competitors come up every month, and you’re constantly looking for ways of getting ahead of the game. According to CSIMarket, the average net margins (after-tax) for restaurants is just around 11%.
One of the biggest challenges for restaurant entrepreneurs is bringing diners into your establishment and at your tables. And while it’s important to look at what sort of outward marketing you can do via social media, targeted Internet ads and traditional methods, operators shouldn’t overlook what they can do to their restaurants that’ll grab attention and bring in new guests. Fortunately, one of the most cost-effective ways to market your restaurant is via signage.
Here are five signage all restaurants should have.
Frenchy’s Bistro in California was a restaurant where it’s customers always referred them to as "the one near the paint store." That was because the paint store had an attractive signage while this bistro's signage was a small one-dimensional sign. It hardly called attention to itself and therefore the business.
Sales for Frenchy’s started to stagnate and a friend of the owner suggested getting a new signage. The owner chose to go with a new illuminated signage. Within the first year, the restaurant’s sales increased by 16%. In their second year, sales continued to increase another 32%.
Feather flags are another signage that restaurants should consider having if you have the extra real estate. They are affordable, they can be used outdoors and, most importantly, they are big. These flags can be 4.7m tall. That is over 2.5x taller than the average person.
And since they’re relatively affordable, you can easily swap these in and out over the course of the year to promote special events, menu promotions, or whatever else will get guests through your doors.
Another advantage of feather flags is there is no recurring cost like a billboard advertisement or a radio advertisement.
Window decals are an underrated signage because they can be used for two purposes:
To advertise your restaurant to passersby.
To improve the restaurant dining experience.
It is a very common for restaurants to use paper and stick them to their windows. However, it doesn't look good and it doesn't make your restaurant look good either.
A window decal makes your restaurant look good and it grabs attention. A window decal can be scaled up any size you want. It can occupy a whole window if you desire. Plus, they definitely lasts much longer than a piece of paper.
They can show off your logo, some signature dishes or drinks, advertise upcoming events or be more thematic to show off the type of atmosphere and flair your guests can expect when they sit down at your tables.
Vinyl banners are a common outdoor signage for restaurants. They are durable and are less likely to fade with weather and the sun. The biggest fast food franchises such as McDonald's and KFC use them and swith the banners every time they have a new promotion.
The above image is a perfect example of how to use outdoor vinyl banners to advertise your restaurant’s offerings.
Pole signage is the most expensive out of all the signage described in this post. However, they are also the most effective in drawing attention to your restaurant. They stand tall and can be seen from much further away than your average restaurant sign front.
Did you know one of the very first thing McDonald's install at their new location is their pole signage? The famous golden arches that we can see from a mile away.
The world’s biggest restaurant is prioritizing this over everything else. So if your restaurant's location is suitable for a pole signage, this is something to think about.