Despite all the challenges associated with re-opening your restaurant’s dining room, there’s a reason to make the effort: people miss dining out. According to a QSR Magazine survey, 70% of respondents say that dining out would help them feel normal again. We’ve covered ways to bring customers back to the dining room, but another crucial consideration is how you share your message in-restaurant. So here are some ways to leverage your branding and thoughtfully implement signage to build diner confidence.

WALK AND TALK THIS WAY

Tour your restaurant and experience it the way your guests will. Consider all the touchpoints that could become communication opportunities. These could include: 

  • Designated parking signage for curbside pickup or to go 
  • Updated bathroom signage for employees with language about properly washing hands such as “Let’s protect each other & our guests by washing our hands for 20 seconds”
  • A “welcome back” message for the front door
  • Signs about clean hands on a sanitation station in the lobby
  • Floor decals in waiting areas that help keep guests six feet apart
  • Signage for currently closed rooms or tables for mandated seating capacity limitations

CUSTOMIZE TO SHOW YOU CARE

Off-the-shelf signs with harsh color palettes and bold typography can cause unnecessary stress and feel unwelcoming to guests. Signs that evoke feelings of danger or active construction zones are the exact opposite of how you want to welcome your guests back. So customizing your own signage in your brand voice, type and colors with a friendlier tone will help put customers at ease.

  • Utilize any custom fonts in your brand type or the closest available from your sign developer 
  • If it fits with your brand, consider a softer, more welcoming message such as “Let’s Wear Masks” vs. something off-the-shelf that sounds impersonal or sterile like “Must Wear Masks!”
  • While white is neutral for almost any brand, consider colors in your palette that will help guests feel secure, such as cool, calming colors, muted tones, earthy greens or shades of blue

STAY ON BRAND

Each sign should be an opportunity to not only communicate the steps you’re taking but show your brand’s personality with creative illustrations or clever phrasing—and in some cases, even humor. Just as you’d carefully consider how to redesign your restaurant’s interior, introducing any new signage should integrate with your existing architecture. Consider the material, color, location and scale of these new signs that will complement the space. For example, if your brand is more rustic, consider metal materials or signage that looks more handcrafted. If your brand is more clean and polished, consider something more minimal, simple and elegant. 

SAY IT LOUD AND WITH A SMILE.

Social distance shouldn’t equate to emotional distance. Connect with your guests by helpfully communicating what they should expect on their next visit. This may be necessary not just for the initial re-opening, but for each phase outlined by the CDC—especially as seating capacities change. 

  • Detail all the safety measures you’ve put in place—what’s new or different that your guests will be able to see, and even some they can’t
  • Simplify your message to include only the most relevant info for your email, social and even video
  • Maintain a friendly and welcoming sentiment such as “We’re working on some changes to protect our guests and team” or  “We can’t wait to see you back inside our restaurant”
  • Include more than safety messaging in your social and emails with an offer to rebuild trust, especially when communicating with any existing loyalty members
  • Establish a landing page with more in-depth measures your restaurant is taking for guests who’d like to read more

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