A Quick and Easy Guide to Restaurant and Café Signage

Author: FASTSIGNS® Northampton

What makes a good restaurant and café sign?

As a Food and Beverage supplier the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ unfortunately doesn’t always cross customers' minds when choosing where to eat. Your Shopfront could be the make or break moment for your business and old weathered signage is an almost surefire way to encourage customers to look elsewhere.

Signage on the Exterior of a restaurant, bar or café should reflect the insides so customers can manage expectations. If your shopfront features an out of date sign customers are likely to question how maintained the kitchen is when the front of house is not kept to a good standard. Signs are key to communication in a dining setting even if this is as simple as a ‘please wait to be seated’ sign in a restaurant or an allergens sign for café offerings. So how can you best utilise your signage and why?

What makes a good restaurant and café sign?

What can a good sign do for you?

A good sign should be used to reflect your brand, values, goals and portray this to potential customers. Your signage should tell your story, but it has many benefits beyond that.

  • A strong sign can help to increase visibility and draw customers in. In a study conducted by FASTSIGNS 72% of people said that signage would interest them to check out somewhere they weren’t familiar with. You can increase the visibility of your signage through brighter colours, unique designs and images that represent what you have on offer. Incorporating these elements into your signage will draw customers towards your store.
  • Signage can help you to convey the facts. Make customers aware of what is on offer and share your USP! What makes your brand special? That’s what people want to know. Have you been operating as a family business since 1999? Tell people about it! Even providing directions, if it’s not already obvious. Guiding customers from the car park to the main entrance with signage can enhance your customers' experience and encourage them to return.

What can a good sign do for you?

  • One of the main benefits of Signage is Promotion. If you’ve won any awards for your offering don’t just keep it to yourself, share it with the world. Why not get a vinyl graphic for your window so passers by can see this great achievement and as a result encourage them to come inside. New signage can also generate Word of Mouth advertisement, if your business revamps the storefront with new signage that stands out passers by may notice your store when they wouldn’t have before and tell others about it.

What to consider when choosing your signage?

There are some important elements that your exterior signage should incorporate to ensure success.

What to consider when choosing your signage?

  • Signage should have a legible font, this is important so that potential customers know what you are offering and who you are. When ensuring your sign is easy to read, colouring must also be taken into account, some colours don’t work well together and ultimately make your sign hard to read. For example you don’t want to put black text on top of a dark blue sign.
  • Your sign should reflect your business offering so it's important that you choose a font that considers this. A cursive font is likely to be perceived as a higher end offering as opposed to simple typeface.
  • A good logo is also beneficial for a great sign as this can make your brand and logo memorable which may encourage customers to return.
  • The final element that should be included within your signage is a statement or tagline that explains more about your offering and motivates customers to try out your food or beverages.

How to make an effective menu board.

Menu boards are another important element of any Cafe, Restaurant or Bar offering as they provide your customer with a lot of important information. So how can you make sure that your menu design is effective?

How to make an effective menu board

First of all, it’s vital to ensure that the menu board is clearly visible. This can be achieved in multiple different ways. The location of the menu, your menu should be placed somewhere that customers can get to easily to read more or consider also providing hand out menus to ensure accessibility to all customers. Alongside this, ensuring that the text is large enough that customers can read it from further away would also be an effective design choice.

Secondly, Ensure that the menu is broken up into the correct sections so it is easy to navigate. If someone is coming in to purchase a burger they will want to see all of their options together and not have to scour the menu to find them. Likewise, if someone comes in at lunch, they don’t want to be looking at your breakfast menu. This could also be tackled with Digital Signage that has the option to be changed to ensure that the customer is always looking at products that are available for them to purchase.

Also, Make the sign recognisable, include your branding and make sure the signage fits in the space, you don't want a bright blue menu board in an upscale black and white themed restaurant.

Finally, Ensure that customers know what to expect before ordering. The prices of food items should be correctly labelled with any additional costs mentioned. Hidden costs are likely to annoy customers once they come to pay so in order to avoid this it’s better to state this on your menu in advance.

The impact of colour on your business signage.

Colour isn’t just about the aesthetic of your store, although this should be considered, colour has a much bigger impact. The colours that you use can influence people's emotions and perceptions of your brand and this can ultimately result in whether customers purchase from your store or not. So what colours should you choose and which should you stay away from?

The impact of colour on your business signage

The colour Blue suggests trustworthiness which is why many social media brands implement this in their logos and app interfaces, but as a restaurant owner this is a colour you should stay away from as the colour blue has been found to suppress appetites. This is why you won’t see many food suppliers sporting a primarily blue logo. Red however, is a colour associated with excitement, power and energy but that’s not all, Red is also found to encourage hunger, great for a restaurant or cafe. What about playing it safe with the simple black and white? Well, Black is a colour that portrays a sophisticated and powerful front but runs the risk of appearing cold. When paired with white this can result in a more modern environment. White itself suggests innocence and cleanliness but can also be perceived as sterile or plain. Whatever colour you choose for your signage you should weigh up the positives and negatives that could arise from this before making the final decision.

Overall, when done correctly, signage can prove to be of great benefit to your business. For more information on how signage can work for you contact the experts at FASTSIGNS Northampton on 01604 422650 or request a quote.