Outdoor signage is a key strategic marketing tool for quick-service restaurants (QSRs). Besides being a beacon for the brand, well-implemented outdoor displays can convert passersby into buyers. Nearly half of customers will stop on impulse at a service station, and 40 percent at a fast food restaurant or QSR.

Switching from static to dynamic outdoor displays may seem daunting, especially for operators concerned about the financial outlay. But the many user benefits make the business case for investing in restaurant LED signage.

Drive traffic and sales

Pole-mounted or building-mounted signage outside of restaurants attracts customers and generates new interest. According to the Sign Research Foundation, signs are a way to mark and market a business, with researchers finding the addition of one sign at every fast food outlet in Los Angeles would raise business revenues by $132 million.

As well as driving increased foot traffic, well-placed and targeted signs can appeal to hungry consumers and prompt an impulse stop. This is key, since 15 percent of customers will stop on impulse at a sit-down restaurant, and up to 40 percent will make an impulse stop at a fast food restaurant or QSR.

Considering that 85 percent of customers live within a 5 mile radius of any given business, LED signs provide a quick and efficient tool to reach these potential customers.

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In further research, sign modifications can drive double-digit sales growth and promote site visibility. Quality outdoor signage can also improve customer perceptions of your business. One-third of customers will be drawn to an unfamiliar store based solely on the quality of their signs, and this figure rises to more than a half of consumers in the 18-24 age group.

“Outdoor LED helps spotlight a QSR brand and drive traffic to their lot,” says Lisa Ross, director of food and beverage sales for Samsung Electronics America. This has been key during the COVID-19 pandemic, which shifted the focus of food and beverage operators to outdoor and drive-thru formats and curbside pickups. “QSR brands now want to retain the increase in visits and revenue growth they saw over the past couple years,” Ross says. “Outdoor LED is a great way to promote new menu items and limited-time offers by attracting new traffic driving by the store.”

Enable quick menu updates

Replacing traditional letter boards with modern LED signage brings increased agility to restaurant operations.

By implementing digital displays, restaurants and QSRs can quickly adapt to customers’ shopping habits and product preferences. With a seamless content management system (CMS) like Samsung’s MagicINFO, menus are easy to update at any time, and you can schedule menu changes based on day part — such as breakfast, lunch and dinner. Similarly, you can update your menus based on product availability, seasonal offers and promotions. This optimizes your inventory, improves service levels and enhances the customer experience. Printing and posting paper signage or manually switching out letters offers far less flexibility and much slower updates.

“Static signage is much more labor intensive and particularly challenging with the current labor shortages,” says Ross.

Outdoor restaurant signage can also streamline restaurant operations by allowing customers to browse the menu before they even reach the door. Digital menu solutions have contributed to improved speed of service for some brands, including McDonald’s.

Promote your brand

Outdoor restaurant signage has the potential to convey all the most important information about your business and the services it offers. Even from the outside, LED signs can show passersby exactly what they can expect to find when they step inside.

Pole-mounted LED signage, such as Samsung’s XPR-B Series, is ideal to showcase menu specials and seasonal promotions in high detail.

Outdoor LED can help provide an accurate and consistent presentation of your brand, including specific brand colors and logos. When it comes to signage quality, customers notice. More than one-third of North Americans associate sign quality with store and product quality, and 29 percent make store choices based on the information on store signs.

For restaurants and QSRs focused on promoting fresh food and beverage options, connecting their brand with quality messaging is critical to customer conversions.

Be part of the community

Local restaurants and QSRs provide an opportunity for site operators to leverage LED displays to build genuine connections with people in the community. Outdoor-ready digital signage can be used to raise awareness for community events and initiatives, such as local high school sports games, or share your business’s involvement in other activities that are important to your community.

“It’s common for sports teams to stop by a QSR restaurant after a game or practice,” says Ross. “Samsung outdoor signage is a great way to celebrate their successes.”

Research shows that these suburban and residential locations have become more important than business locations at shopping malls and travel hubs. And the same can help with employee recruitment by showcasing current open positions.

Making the investment

The cost of signage can feel like a barrier, but it’s one that partner brands can help offload. Food and beverage vendors may help you with your signage investment in return for promotion of their own brand messaging, a mutually beneficial strategy many convenience stores already take advantage of.

High-quality, durable LED signage is an investment that pays for itself — and quickly. As your outdoor signage attracts new customers, increases upsales and promotes your brand, your restaurant can only benefit.

Find everything you need to know about choosing your LED displays for optimal viewing indoors and out in this free guide. And discover Samsung’s best signage solutions for QSRs, designed to make the restaurant and in-store experience as compelling as possible.

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Fiona Briggs

Fiona Briggs is an experienced retail business journalist with over 10 years experience editing at senior level in both print and online media. Fiona is the editor of www.retailtimes.co.uk, a free access website focused on the global retail market. Fiona also regularly contributes articles to Global Convenience Store Focus and NACS magazine, focusing on global retail trends in convenience and forecourt retailing. Follow Fiona on Twitter: @RetailTimes

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