The Mighty Mural: How Restaurant Brands Reap Social Media Benefits – and More – Through Art

Love it or hate it, social media dictates what’s hot and what’s not. According to Social Media Today, 30 percent of millennial diners avoid restaurants with a limited Instagram presence. Across generations, a UK poll indicates that 41 percent of would-be diners turn to social media as the best way to judge if a restaurant is worth visiting. Even more telling, 77 percent of diners also stated they were more likely to visit a restaurant if they could take an Instagram-worthy photo there. Finding creative ways to encourage those flattering shares is vital for business.

One way to break through the noise across social platforms is by serving up something that’s both intriguing and easy to photograph: large-scale art. On a fundamental level, murals naturally engage and inspire, which is exactly what prompts a snapshot and a share. Beyond the basics, there are deeper layers to what authentic, unique, tailored – and, yes, cool – art can do for a brand.

Here are four examples of artist-restaurant partnerships that not only spark shares across social media platforms, but fulfill a range of front- and back-of-house goals.

Artist-Restaurant Partnership

Mix Company and Local Values

Shake Shack: Long Beach, California

In a 280-square-foot exterior mural, Los Angeles artist Teddy Kelly blended the Shake Shack color palette and iconography with the company’s desire to infuse the space with a quintessentially local vibe. The restaurant shied away from a cookie-cutter look while delivering an eye-catching inspiration for conversation and selfies alike.

Interact and Give Back

Noodles & Company: Minneapolis

 As part of its Uncommon Goodness campaign, Noodles & Company enlisted artist Chuck U to create a fun, interactive mural for a meaningful cause. This whimsical piece depicting raining noodles is designed so anyone can stand “under” the colorful umbrella and take a photo. On the philanthropy side, every time someone scans the mural’s QR code, Noodles & Company donates $1 to a local arts school for elementary children.


Chick-fil-A Corporate Office: Irvine, California

In a sunny effort to bringing both excitement and a sense of place to Chick-fil-A’s newest corporate office location, artist Jesse Brown created a two-story, interior mural. His abstract take on the area landscape – notably rolling hills and sunsets – enhanced by the brand’s signature colors lends positive energy and a welcoming vibe to the corporate space.  

Chick-fil-A Mural
Be Authentic

Raising Canes: Miami

With the goal to infuse the genuine, bold, South Beach style into its flagship location, Raising Canes tapped into the creativity of three local artists – Juan TraviesoNoah Levy and Massimo Mongiardo, top photo. Each created a distinct, hand-painted panel that highlighted key aspects of South Beach’s eclectic culture. The trio of artwork greets patrons with bespoke Miami flair and a nod to the area’s flora, fauna, culture, and landmarks.

Universal Benefits

As companies collaborate with local artists to integrate murals or art installations into their spaces, the benefits between the brand and the communities they reside in increase exponentially. For the brand, the potential to create and build a genuine connection with its adopted community is huge. There are intangible sides to the collaboration as well, most notably when it comes to promoting wellness. On an individual level, numerous studies show that art boosts wellbeing, reduces stress and negativity, and inspires productivity. On a collective level, 80 percent of people surveyed by Francisco Creative Corps agree that an attractive mural contributes to a hopeful community atmosphere. And, as all restaurateurs and patrons know, ambiance matters.

The Big-Picture Takeaway

Murals and art installations deliver an organic, natural way for patrons to pick up their phones and boost a restaurant’s social media presence. Beyond Instagram-able moments, these large-scale works also instill a sense of belonging, nurture new and positive energy and add authenticity to a brand, while simultaneously boosting individual and community wellbeing.