During the pandemic, more than 110,000 restaurants and dining locations closed. The restaurant industry was hit hard by COVID-19, forcing consumers to quickly adopt food delivery services and takeout options. As quick-service restaurants begin to reopen and increase their indoor capacity, building strong brand loyalty and relationships with their patrons will be crucial to bringing diners back. Restaurants are competing to get people in their doors instead of having customers opt for curbside pickup or delivery, inspiring a need to tap into creative methods of advertising to resonate with consumers.

Digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising is a powerful tool that allows restaurants to reach and entice consumers. Car and foot traffic have surged since states began reopening, creating a strong opportunity to reach consumers through DOOH advertising on a larger scale. As the world continues to reopen, it’s crucial for restaurants to take advantage of DOOH advertising methods to reestablish a relationship with their consumers and draw them back into their locations.

Why DOOH is Powerful for the Return of Restaurants

DOOH is a powerful tool for quick-serves to establish their identity and bring fresh, creative campaigns to consumers. As restaurants reopen and expand to other markets, they can leverage DOOH advertising to execute both local and national campaigns, maintaining consistency nationwide while also engaging with the communities in new locations, building brand identity in new areas.

Quick-service restaurant advertising is a class of its own. Restaurants in particular are notorious for playful ads that leverage clever sayings, timely news trends and national “holidays,” often garnering media attention for their creativity in advertising. Implementing clever quips and slogans around holidays into DOOH advertisements can be an easy way to resonate with potential consumers and build brand awareness. While traditional OOH billboards and signs may have a longer turnaround time and are more permanent, it’s easier for restaurants to use DOOH advertisements around timely days like “National French Fry Day” or “National Ice Cream Day.”

DOOH’s agility is also a great way for restaurants to advertise limited-time offers to draw consumers into their locations. DOOH advertising gives quick-serves the freedom to advertise these temporary offerings and can easily be updated to reflect new deals, combo offerings or menu launches to resonate with consumers and draw them into quick-service restaurant locations. Restaurants can also utilize DOOH to drive consumers to their websites and apps where additional deals can be made available to customers directly through DOOH advertisements in the form of QR codes, fostering a stronger consumer relationship and higher level of engagement when used alongside website offerings.

The pandemic also stressed the importance of timely and relevant messaging, and the ability to adjust and pivot as needed—giving DOOH a strong advantage over physical advertisements. DOOH can be created and displayed quickly to reflect important messaging about relevant restaurant news, hours and updates that are important to consumers.

Not Just Outside: Leveraging In-Store DOOH Opportunities

The time that diners spend in the location is a crucial opportunity to further engage them with in-store DOOH. Using DOOH in-store is a great way to inform diners of current deals or brand loyalty programs that may currently be offered at that specific location as well as any temporary or seasonal specials. The pandemic replaced paper menus with QR codes and as consumers return to in-store locations, restaurants may stick to digital menus and advertise current specials with DOOH. The bright, vivid displays of DOOH can be more attractive to consumers and are a more dynamic way to advertise the locations offerings compared to physical menus.

From menu signs to digital table cards, there are limitless opportunities for generating incremental revenues by adding to sales or inviting aligning brands into your store. As diners return, it’s crucial to have relevant and timely messaging in restaurants in order to reestablish important relationships with consumers during moments of high intent as well as create strong brand awareness so that diners return to the location. There’s no better time to connect with consumers than when they’re at the location and a memorable or creative DOOH advertisement can play an influential role in creating a repeat consumer.

While the pandemic hit the industry hard, restaurants and quick service locations can harness the powers of DOOH advertising to come back stronger than ever. DOOH allows restaurants to establish brand identity and connect with consumers by offering relevant messaging and real-time deals and coupons. As the restaurant industry recovers, DOOH is a key tool in reestablishing important consumer relationships and drawing consumers back into physical quick-service restaurant locations. Useful both in public and in restaurant locations, it’s clear that DOOH is the future of restaurant advertising.

Norm Chait is the director of OOH practice at Ubimo, a Quotient Company.

Employee Management, Marketing & Promotions, Outside Insights, Story