Can Signage Bring New Customers To Your Restaurant?

Before the internet, a restaurant would rely on word of mouth and their location to bring in customers. Today it is a totally different environment. Restaurants today have multiple marketing channels to choose from. We have Facebook, Google, Zomato, Yelp, Instagram, etc.

What about signage? Is it a good investment? Will it bring in customers or is the signage installed just because every other restaurant has one?


Restaurants, Signage and Impulse Diners

The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) does a lot of analysis on traffic. One of their research was about impulse stops and how different business types are affected by it.

feed store

Here are the top business types most affected by impulse stop:

  • Service station – 45 percent
  • Convenience store – 40 percent
  • Fast food restaurant – 40 percent
  • Shopping centres – 20 to 35 percent
  • Warehouse store – 20 percent
  • Supermarket – 20 percent
  • Sit-down restaurant – 15 percent

The more casual a restaurant, the higher the impulse stop rate and that is where signage plays a more important role.

In a survey, 54 percent of shoppers say they have driven by a business and failed to find it because their signage was too small. This applies to both older and younger age groups.

The similar survey found that 33 percent of shoppers have been attracted into a store based on the quality of their signage. Younger age groups (18 to 24 year olds) are more inclined to this.

In another survey conducted by FedEx, 7 out of 10 shoppers believe that the quality of a business’ signage reflects the quality of their products.


Case Study #1 – QSR Franchise

One of the biggest QSR franchise in the world conducted a survey to find out how customers find out about their store. There were six results in the survey:

  • Saw it while passing
  • Always knew
  • Word of mouth
  • Advertisement
  • Others
  • Don’t know

Which do you think came up first? Considering that this QSR franchise has a multi-million dollar advertising budget.

Advertisements came in at #4 with 10 percent of responses.

“Saw it while passing” came in at #1 with 35 percent responses while “Always knew” came in at #2 with 29 percent responses.

How do you think they know the restaurant was there? Their signage.

This QSR franchise is Burger King.


With a signage like that, it would be very hard to miss it.

The Biggest Restaurant in the World

The biggest restaurant company in the world also prioritises signage in all of their locations. Before, this company starts construction on every new location, one of the very first things they order is their signage.

On top of that, this company spends $40,000 on signage per location.

I’m sure you know which company is this – McDonalds.


Case Study #2 – Bistro


Here is another case study done by a bistro.

The customers of Frenchy’s Bistro were always referring to the restaurant as the one near the paint store. The reason is because the paint store had a very eye-catching signage.

Frenchy’s Bistro had a flat one-dimensional signage that was hardly visible unless you were standing right in front of it.

On top of that, sales were stagnating. The owner then installed a new backlit signage.

After the signage was installed, sales increased by 16 percent within the first year. The following year, sales increased by another 32 percent.

Riding this momentum, Frenchy’s expanded into the shop next door and added an even larger sign and in four years, their sales increase by more than 300 percent to over $830,000.



Signage still works. It has just become so ingrained into our minds that we take signage for granted. Some restaurants have failed solely based on the reason they have a signage that was hardly visible. Frenchy’s Bistro in case study #2 is one. Their sales were stagnating and if they didn’t install the new backlit signage, their sales would start declining which would lead to the demise of the business.

McDonald’s is the biggest restaurant company in the world and their signage is one of the very first things that gets installed. There is a reason for that and that is because signage works.