Exterior of a diner.
Unsplash/Ricky Singh

Clean, clear, and visible signage is a quick indication of not only your restaurant’s location on the high-street, but also your brand and its tone.

5 Tips to Make Your Restaurant’s Exterior More Attractive

Operations with more attractive storefronts can win extra business from snap judgements. How can exterior design be your next greatest asset?

You can’t judge a book by its cover. The old maxim wasn’t braced for the recent cultural shifts that, in the past few years, have become increasingly interested by aesthetics. Sometimes what’s on the surface matters, too.

Many eateries and restaurants have the distinct advantage of location. Your surrounding geography can help attract greater footfall, such as city crowds for more urban establishments, or how quieter eateries can benefit from rustic views and landscapes. The character of your property can be advantageous to your design, too. For those eateries taking up residence in older or historic buildings, with an antiquated or cosy impression, the curb appeal of the building could form part of your branding. These built-in, irreplaceable details are valuable if your property already has unique character.

Yet, outside of your location, there are still creative and practical ways of making your restaurant’s exterior even more attractive and, ultimately, welcoming to customers during these challenging times.

Curb appeal

A restaurant’s curb appeal, or its exterior design, can have a major influence on its overall success. In fact, a local study in Charlotte, North Carolina found that 70 percent of first-time sales were based on curb appeal alone. Moreover, research has shown that customers are willing to pay more for their meals if they like a restaurant’s atmosphere. When it comes to a sense of ambiance, design – both interior and exterior—is one of the quickest and most practical ways to shape the experience of a customer’s visit to your establishment.

With these top five design tips, you can elevate your curb appeal to attract more footfall and cheaply brand yourself apart from the rest of the high-street.

Outdoor dining

Dining isn’t an experience limited to the interior of your restaurant or eatery. Outdoor eating, especially in hotter months—summer, spring, and fall—carries many advantages for restaurateurs looking to enhance their operation. Regardless of your establishment’s menu, a simple outdoor spot for dining, such as a patio or deck, can increase revenue by 30 percent.

The outside life of your restaurant can enhance the ambiance and plays favourably to your curb appeal. An outdoor element to your restaurant can invite a new impression. For some customers eating outside can feel more comfortable, if relaxing. The outdoors dining experience, or alfresco, is closely associated with taste, and often people link outdoors meals with freshness.

Ultimately, an alfresco option invites more space into your restaurant and welcomes a more playful ambiance that embraces the character of the location, the street, and the greater area around your restaurant. In these challenging times, when social distancing is a guiding safety protocol that shapes the kinds of dining experiences we can share, extending you operation outside into the street could associate a more spacious, roomy impression with your restaurant.


Clean, clear, and visible signage is a quick indication of not only your restaurant’s location on the high-street, but also your brand and its tone. Ensuring that your sign is always on full display, such as using lights, can increase the immediate visibility of your restaurant to both by-passers and motorists.

Signage is a great opportunity to attract more custom, too. If the front signage is digital, you can routinely edit the message with promotions for different meals, events, or other changes that affects your customers. Ultimately, your signage is a chance for an extra marketing push or for additional branding. 


Your windows will give by-passers a view inside into your establishment. This might be one of the earliest impressions a prospective customer will form about your restaurant—this is an early judgement call many customers will make when deciding where they should dine. And so, having the right windows for light and visibility should form part of your interior and exterior design plans.

Exterior Maintenance

Keeping up appearances means that regular external maintenance should be a top priority for restaurateurs who want to take advantage of their curb appeal as part of their marketing. The exterior design, though often an oversight, is part of the first impression of a by-passer. If this area is untidy, damaged, or unwelcoming, then your business could be losing out.

Maintenance is a large task, too. It involves everything from outdoor eating spaces, front doors, windows, to any greenery and natural vegetation—this should all be carefully cared for.

Psychology is a powerful tool for restaurateurs. By dressing up the external design of your eatery, you have a chance to start building an ambiance before a customer has even walked through the door. Think about the kinds of ambience you want your brand to convey and plan this into the external design of your restaurant, especially to create a full (and lasting) experience of your brand.

Outdoor menus

If restaurateurs want to outpace local competition, outside menus are a quick way to attract prospective customers. This is an opportunity to boast confidently about your restaurant’s offering to the public and quickly capture interest from those casually passing by your establishment.

The current climate is marred by the changing regulation as a response to Covid-19. The curb appeal of an establishment is influential more than ever—especially in a moment when first impressions and practical dining are quickly becoming important priorities for customers.

Henry Martin is a residential and commercial developer with years of experience in real estate. You can contact Henry on LinkedIn.

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