A collage of different custom signs and menus for a café.

5 ways to use signage for restaurants

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Signage is key in communicating with your customers, at a distance or up close. And whether you’re communicating new offerings or want to showcase your brand, the right signage can make a world of difference at all kinds of small businesses – especially restaurants.  

Owning a restaurant is challenging, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, eateries all over the world were forced to pivot their offerings and operations. If you’ve made changes at your restaurant, it’s time to communicate them to your customers. Whether you’re setting up a new outdoor dining space or want to attract new customers with an enticing offer, find the right kind of sign for any small business need. 

Signage for restaurants can be used to: 

  1. Spread the word about your new offerings. 
  1. Display QR codes for touch-free menus.  
  1. Attract new customers.  
  1. Reinforce your brand identity.  
  1. Tell passersby more about your eatery.  

1. Spread the word about your new offerings.  

Whether you’re offering outdoor dining or debuting a fresh flavor of coffee, announcing a new offering is a great way to excite existing customers and attract new ones. Beyond posting about your new services and offerings on social media, use an old-fashioned sign to get the word out. Hang a vinyl banner in your restaurant’s front window to market expanded delivery options, promotional meal deals or new menu items. Want to share this information to customers inside *and* outside your shop? Go for a double-sided banner to get seen from every angle.  

VistaPrint Tip

Is one of your new offerings a designated curbside pickup zone, or a few takeout-only parking spaces? Mark these zones with a corresponding A-frame or chalkboard sign so customers know where to pull in.  

2. Display QR codes for touch-free menus.  

QR codes have made a comeback, especially at restaurants – they’re an easy, affordable way for customers to safely access your menu. Create a QR code that links to your menu, and print it somewhere that’s easy for customers to scan. Use one on an exterior window decal so customers can check out your menu before they sit down, and others on table tents so diners can scan from their seats.  

3. Attract new customers.  

Everyone that walks or drives by your restaurant is a potential customer. Make sure you’re grabbing their attention with a vinyl banner, poster or signicade in addition to your permanent restaurant signage. If you plan to use a sidewalk sign or flag that will take up space on a public sidewalk, check with your town on local rules and regulations for exterior signage.  

As you design this signage for restaurants, consider including an enticing offer to get people in the door. Whether it’s half-priced pizzas on Wednesday or free delivery for new customers, offering a discount is a great way to create excitement around your business. 

VistaPrint Tip

Ghost kitchens (or delivery-only restaurants) are growing in popularity. Since this type of business doesn’t have a storefront or dining room, getting passersby attention isn’t really an option – instead, market your eatery by distributing flyers, printed menus and postcards throughout your delivery zone. 

4. Reinforce your brand identity.  

Use signage as a branding tool to reinforce your eatery’s identity or set a vibe in your restaurant. From the typography on your table tents to the colors on your signicade, design your signage in a way that reflects your brand identity.  

To reinforce your branding and ensure your sign is easy to read, make sure you follow our expert sign design tips. From color choice to font size, there’s a lot to keep in mind when you’re creating signage for restaurants.  

5. Tell passersby more about your eatery.  

Don’t count on your name alone to tell customers everything they should know about your restaurant. Instead, use visual tools or additional language on your exterior signage to give potential customers more information. Does your eatery specialize in smoothies and juices? Add window decals with icons that reflect these offerings. Do you run an organic pizzeria? Create an outdoor poster that showcases your artisanal ingredients and specialty pies. Do you offer delivery? Add a branded car door magnet to your delivery vehicle to attract attention on the go.  

Beyond visual cues, a tagline or slogan can tell passersby more about your restaurant. If your marquee sign simply says ‘Brklyn,’ create a vinyl banner to hang below with more information – like, ‘Brklyn All-Day Cafe: Hand-crafted coffee, made-to-order sandwiches & tasty treats.’