It’s Friday night and Sam is off work early. She and her partner, Mike, always go out to dinner on Fridays, but they can’t decide on a cuisine. They know they want something quiet and intimate with lots of craft cocktail options. Having been to the same restaurants one too many times, they decide they’ll get in the car and search for an establishment that catches their eye. 

Finally, they spot a well-lit, elegant sign in the distance: the name “Francesca’s” stands out in cherry red, cursive letters. The sign is flanked by two flickering gaslight lanterns, giving the location a romantic, old-world feel. As they approach the parking lot, they see customers seated by the window, rotating spoonfuls of spaghetti with their forks. It’s perfect!

As you can see, Francesca’s is the perfect example of successful restaurant signage. It’s highly visible, atmospheric, and communicative. Sam and Mike can quickly discern what type of food and experience they’ll have at the restaurant.

For business owners, it’s wise to see things from the customer’s perspective. Much like any type of marketing, you want to imagine their sales journey and what the customer is hoping to find. But how can you choose the correct signage for your restaurant? Whether you’re opening your first restaurant or you’ve been in the business for years, this guide will teach you the fundamentals of choosing the right signage for your business.

The Restaurant Owners’ Guide to Choosing the Right Signage

The Role of Signage in Building a Successful Restaurant

If you own a restaurant, you’re probably more concerned with the quality of the food than your signage. However, a sign isn’t just something you install because you need one. It should be viewed as a marketing tool and a marker of your brand identity. Customers may get their first impression of your company through your employees or entryway. Most of the time, though, your sign is the first thing they’ll see. With this in mind, you want to be sure you’re choosing the right signage.

3 Features of Excellent Restaurant Signage

  • Daring typography. People go to restaurants to have an experience. They want to spend time with loved ones and treat themselves to something special. This means you’re free to be playful and imaginative with your signage. That being said, there are a lot of restaurants for customers to choose from these days. It’s equally important to stand out. You can accomplish this with a unique typeface that conveys your restaurant’s personality. Consider this: what can customers get at your restaurant that they can’t get anywhere else?
  • Address the cuisine. Sometimes, a restaurant’s name isn’t enough to explain what type of cuisine is available there. Remember, the idea is to make your customers hungry! Get crafty by using symbols and images to illustrate what’s on the menu. However, don’t go overboard; you don’t want your signage to look cluttered.
  • Prominence. This is one of the most important things to think about when choosing the right signage. At any time of day, are your signs visible to all kinds of customers? If the answer is no, this is something you need to prioritize. Without easy-to-see signage, you’ll lose out on prospective customers and walk-ins. Picture a city street with a dozen restaurants. If a sign is too small and blends into the crowd, people will walk right past your restaurant and choose from one of many other options.

3 Things to Avoid When Choosing Restaurant Signage

  • Plain or confusing text. Restaurant signage shouldn’t resemble that of an office building or a medical facility. Choosing the right signage means picking something eye-catching and exciting.
  • Dim signage. You’ve heard the phrase before: Lights, camera, action! Without proper lighting, your signage is invisible and customers can’t know your story. Choose long-lasting, LED or 3D illuminated letters to ensure your restaurant gets noticed.
  • Too many window signs. Window shopping doesn’t only apply to retail. In our earlier example, Sam and Mike spotted customers eating pasta through the windows of Francesca’s. This is the best form of advertising there is for restaurants. When you walk past a cafe and peek at what’s on customers’ plates, your mouth is likely to water. You can also get a sense of a restaurant’s atmosphere by glancing inside. Pulled-down shades and window signs block out the view, so this is something you want to avoid.

Partner with the Pros at East West Sign Group

We are experts in creating effective signage of all kinds. East West Sign Group knows all about sign design and installation, and we have worked with countless businesses to boost business with great signage. If you want to choose the right signage for your restaurant, we’re here to offer guidance and walk you through our process. We’re dedicated to providing a high-quality product that is long-lasting and durable. What are you waiting for? Work with an expert sign company and contact us today!