Awnings can do a lot more for your restaurant than simply provide sun or rain protection along your sidewalk. A restaurant awning can speak for you, announcing your presence and giving potential diners an idea what they’ll find inside. Like your logo, an awning is a visual representation of your business.
What message is your restaurant awning sending?
If your restaurant awning is purely functional, you’re squandering a golden opportunity to upgrade your restaurant’s exterior and entice more customers through the door. Let’s look at what you might be missing.
Does your restaurant awning help people find you?
It’s a visual marker – a landmark that makes it easy for people to spot your location and entrance, whether they’re on foot, riding a bike or the bus, driving down the street. Except for pedestrians, people have only a few seconds to see and assimilate whatever words or graphics your awning has to offer.
Words and numbers must be easy to read at a distance, and your logo or other brand-specific graphic elements have to be large enough to be clearly recognizable.
Does it actively promote your restaurant?
So people can find you. Can they tell what kind of food you offer? The kind of ambiance they’ll find inside? Whether you’re dishing up waffles or upscale fine dining, your restaurant awning should make that obvious to people.
It can be a discreet, sleek presence over your doorway that says “sophisticated” or “cozy.” Or it can create an imposing presence across your entire façade that says “friendly” or even “outrageous.”
Does it announce that you have outdoor seating?
Tables out front on the sidewalk might be a dead giveaway, but what if your outdoor dining area is off to the side or around in back where folks might not immediately notice it? The right restaurant awning can be bold and literally up-front, but it can also give people a “sneak peek” – a glimpse that says “come on in, then join us outside.”
Restaurant awning accoutrements can help you expand your outdoor area, or make it usable in more seasons. Add some umbrellas in the summer, side curtains with big windows for cooler months.
Does your restaurant awning say “quality”?
If you look around, you’ll notice not all awnings look equally appealing. But quality shines through, no matter how unique your awning’s style or appearance. And an attractive restaurant awning is, well, an attraction. Incorporating key elements of good design doesn’t mean your awning can’t be entertaining, if that’s what your restaurant is all about.
Good design says you’re a quality establishment, whereas a restaurant awning that’s faded or dirty warns maybe your food or interior aren’t up to standard, either.
That’s why quality materials and craftsmanship are so important. A beautiful awning that doesn’t last is a waste of money. You can’t easily see quality construction or installation when it’s new, but working with a reputable restaurant awning company will ensure you get quality design that’s durable, too.
In fact, consulting a professional is valuable in other ways. They’ll help you avoid common mistakes, give you great ideas, work with you or your design team to create a one-of-a-kind restaurant awning that sends exactly the right message about your place 24/7, so it’s working for you even when you’re closed.
Perhaps it’s time for a new restaurant awning. One that sends just the right message.
There are lots of good reasons to invest in a new awning:
- Maybe you don’t even have one now.
- You’re expanding or remodeling.
- You have a new name or concept.
- You’re a new owner, and you want to put your stamp on the exterior as well as the menu.
- The old awning is tired and ready to retire.
- You’re bored with the old one and want something fresh.
- It’s spring, why not have a new awning?
What do you want to say about your restaurant?
Photo Credit: zigazou76 via Flickr
What do your commercial awnings say about your business? Does your place even have an awning? If not, you should know that commercial awnings can be one of the smartest business investments you’ll ever make. That’s because they serve so many different purposes. They’re practical. And they’re decorative. They sell your name and location like nothing else can, whether you’re an individual business or an entire shopping center.
So how can you make your commercial awnings really great?
Taking full advantage of their benefits, for one thing. Consider that, properly designed, your commercial awnings can:
- Make it easier for people to spot your business and entrance – especially important if you’re located in a visually busy area. A shopping center, for instance.
- Provide shade for your storefront windows as well as pedestrians on the sidewalk. Shade isn’t just refreshing outdoors, it can help keep your interior cooler, too. And commercial awnings that cover your walkway also protect pedestrians from rain and snow.
- Decorate your façade. Your business gets extra style points when you use commercial awnings to upgrade a boring building exterior or highlight an already-interesting one.
And that’s just the beginning. Savvy business owners use their commercial awnings to do more than merely identify themselves. They know an awning can be an unparalleled branding and marketing tool.
Let’s see how you measure up compared to one example of truly great commercial awnings: Plainview Shopping Center.
For a shopping center, commercial awnings address two critical goals. They help promote the entire complex, making it visually appealing and welcoming for shoppers to visit. And they reflect the individual needs of tenants, ensuring each store can make effective use of their own logo and design motifs, so they, too, are quickly recognizable.
Plainview Shopping Center demonstrates the height of good-looking consistency, making it easy for shoppers to find stores and visually drawing them down walkways to window-shop. Handsome navy awnings with a narrow valance and a simple white stripe near each end provide a comfortable, welcoming look that nicely complements the brick exterior and pavers. Each of the commercial awnings is sized to match the frontage of the store it covers.
While these commercial awnings provide center-wide consistency, each store’s sign provides important differentiation. You never wonder which store is which, or where stores are located within the shopping center, because signage clearly identifies each one.
Signs are placed high atop the façades, for easy visibility across the parking lot or down the walkway. And although all signage meets size and materials parameters, each one features the logo and official colors of the store beneath.
A few businesses sit on free-standing pads around the perimeter of the shopping center. They sport commercial awnings of similar style, but in colors that match each store’s own thematic artwork.
Many of the store brands within the Plainview Shopping Center have widespread locations, not always in mall-type environments. But whatever the setting and physical configuration, creative professional design of commercial awnings assures the store’s commercial awnings remain consistent. Some details may change – the size or shape of the awning, the exact materials of which it’s constructed, where it’s placed – but the store’s brand is never compromised.
Great commercial awnings are the result of great collaboration.
Whether you have an entire team of in-house designers or need from-scratch help creating your commercial awnings, working with a recognized, experienced awning company will ensure you get exactly what you want, on time and on budget. You’ll get state-of-the-art production and installation, so you’ll know your job was done right from start to finish. And you’ll get personalized attention and communication throughout the process.
It’s officially spring, now. The time for renewal. The perfect time to give your exterior a makeover, with great new commercial awnings that give your place a fresh look. What can you learn from Plainview Shopping Center?
Photo Credit: .reid. via Flickr
There’s something especially appealing about a waterfront restaurant. But if your place is right at the ocean’s edge, dockside or you’re on a river, there are special considerations you must keep in mind for your restaurant awnings . Using the right materials will ensure your awnings look their best and perform well as long as possible.
Wind and salt can take their toll.
If you’re at the beach, you can count on a nearly constant breeze. Sometimes the wind is stronger, and in the winter, anything can happen. No matter where you’re located, but especially at the beach, restaurant awnings have to be structurally designed and fabricated with strength and durability in mind. They should be professionally installed, too, to ensure they will remain snug and sturdy.
Restaurant awnings in windy areas need tough fabrics, ones that will endure years of frequent fluttering and billowing and keep looking great. Both fabric and framing have to withstand the abrasive nature of blowing sand and the corrosive nature of salty ocean air. In this environment, steel structural members can be a better choice than aluminum.
Even if you’re not on the beach, restaurant awnings near lakes or rivers also experience more moisture, and often a breeze off the water. So the same considerations apply.
If you’re contemplating a retractable awning, you might want to rethink your plan. Retractables can make good restaurant awnings, but they’re generally not tough enough for waterfront environments.
Shade can protect, too.
You’ll find lots of great-looking fabrics for restaurant awnings that provide excellent protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. That’s a plus for your vacationing patrons who can forget the sun’s power to burn or permanently damage skin.
Don’t restrict your view.
People gravitate to waterfront restaurants to watch and hear the movement of the water as well as nearby birds and animals while they’re eating. Restaurant awnings provide shade without impeding the view. Even in less-than-wonderful weather, you can offer comfortable outdoor seating that makes the most of your view, by adding removable side curtains that have clear windows.
And in any season, you can surround your outdoor seating area with a low fence or sections of temporary railing that add a festive look and give your space better definition.
You have to follow the rules.
Local building codes might affect restaurant awnings. A well-respected awning professional has the experience and specialized knowledge to ensure your awning is designed and built appropriately for your waterfront location, but most communities have rules you have to follow, too. Your awning company should already know about those. If you don’t own your building, you should check with your landlord, too.
If you’re located in a historic district, or your building has individual landmark designation, regulations may require that restaurant awnings be historically accurate. That often means a retractable style, since that was common many years ago. Because your waterfront setting isn’t retractable-friendly, it’s likely your awning professional can design restaurant awnings that look like an old-fashioned retractable but are, in fact, permanently installed and much more sturdy.
Keep it clean and it will last longer.
That’s especially important in an area where conditions tend to be damp and salty. Wipe down the fabric and the structural components regularly with a moist cloth to remove salt and dirt. Don’t use harsh chemicals. Try not to let sand, fall leaves or other debris accumulate, because they can stain your fabric and wear against it.
Cleaning is a good time to inspect restaurant awnings, too. You want to catch any early problems right away. Things like a tiny hole or tear can usually be repaired unobtrusively. And it will be inexpensive compared to ignoring the problem until it becomes unsightly and more complicated to repair.
Your waterfront location is an attraction. And when you use the best materials, restaurant awnings can make your establishment even more attractive.
Photo Credit: richardsinyem via Flickr
It makes perfect sense to put your logo on your awning . After all, your awning serves as a location-finder for people who want to do business with you. But it also introduces you to people who don’t yet buy from you. And using your logo can look much more intriguing than simply spelling out your name.
There are many ways to place your logo on an awning. It can be tiny and discreet, but why would you want to do that? Your logo is your visual brand. It’s part of your business persona, so the more often people see it, the more of a household name you can become. Or remain. You want to place your logo so you make the most of your awning’s available space.
That doesn’t mean your logo has to completely cover your awning, although you could choose to do that.
Your decision about size and placement will depend on how you plan to apply the logo.
Most traditional methods of adding graphics — pressure-sensitive or thermal-adhesive film, or silk-screening – aren’t conducive to large-scale artwork, because you’re limited by the size of available materials and production capability. Silk-screening inks offer a much broader range of color customization than pre-dyed fabrics or films but can’t capture delicate artwork very well.
So these options can be a great choice if your logo isn’t too finely detailed or you don’t want it to be very big. But what if your want something huge? What if your logo is frilly or has a lot of “shoulder to shoulder” color changes that require perfect registration?
Hand painting your logo onto your awning will give it a one-of-a-kind look that can be quite striking. But painting has limitations, too. It’s very time-consuming, and by its very nature it’s not a good choice if you need to produce several identical awnings.
Digital printing offers maximum versatility.
This high-tech, affordable method lets you put any image anywhere on your awning – top, sides, front, all over. Now your awning is the perfect home for your logo. Digital printing gives you a full range of options. You can get exact color match, every time. You can get exact registration. You can exactly replicate your awning, any number of times.
Your logo and awning can be understated, like Ruth’s Chris, with elegant metal framework details. Or eye-catchingly amusing like Dunkin Donuts, with their larger-than-life donuts slipping over the awning’s edge. You can make a big splash with bright colors or a snappy all-over pattern, or custom-match your official corporate color to create just the right background shade to make your logo really pop.
Combine your logo with other graphics. If Dunkin Donuts can have gigantic donuts and a cup of coffee that makes the “big gulp” look like a sip, you can use photos or artistic renderings to depict your products and services. Do a montage. Whatever design you dream up to surround your logo, it can be reproduced with digital printing.
Put your logo on the front and on the sides, so it’s visible from any direction. Use it once — large on your entrance awning – or repeat it in smaller size along a series of individual window awnings. You can even design your awning to highlight your logo. Is it round? Make your awning round, too. Is your logo a long name? Spell it out along your awning’s valance.
Incorporating your logo into your awning adds stature to any business. Using digital printing to place your logo gives your awning a polished look. If you own a small coffee shop, your place will look more professional and more inviting. If you’re a national corporation with many locations, or a franchise, you can be assured every awning will be identical, down to the tiniest detail, if you choose digital printing.
How will you place your logo on your awning?
The real question is what can’t digital printing do for your awning ? Since the advent of wide format digital printing several years ago, the technique has really come into its own. No longer used only to print banners or posters, digital printing is now a popular choice for producing fabrics and flexible films that need to look perfect. An awning, for instance.
What’s so great about digital printing?
Since you can print on paper or film as well as fabric, it’s like using a huge version of your office printer. Except, of course, you can do far more – and something far more interesting – with your awning than you can do with a piece of paper. In fact, you can create something that’s truly spectacular.
Your awning can be strictly your own design, because digital printing offers absolute customization. You can literally put any graphics anywhere. No longer is your creativity hampered by the various inherent limitations of silk screening, hand painting, cut-outs, heat transfer or pressure-sensitive methods of applying graphics to an awning.
And you’re no longer limited to standard fabric colors for your awning. The sky’s the limit – or any other shade of blue — when it comes to color. Or maybe you’d prefer the moon and some stars. You can have those, too, or any other pattern you want. And with any-graphics-anywhere capability, digital printing gives you total control over placement as well.
You get the ultimate in versatility because your entire image is computer-generated. Then it’s printed using the very latest high-tech equipment and specialized inks. It’s an ideal collaboration of human imagination and machine-produced perfection. So when it comes to reproduction, you get exactly the results you want, as many times as you want.
Yet because digital printing is actually a simpler production process, your awning may actually cost less.
Using digital printing, your awning will simply look better.
You probably know that your awning can be virtually any shape or size you want. It just depends on the size of your building or façade, and what you want to accomplish. But good looks are always an important goal. Older techniques such as cut-outs limited the size, shape and amount of detail you could reasonably expect.
Not with digital printing. Images can be any size, from petite to expansive, thanks to the wide format. And they just look better — crisp, smooth, seamless. You never have to worry about work that looks unfocused or vaguely “fuzzy.” Or weird shadows that can appear around the edges of cut-out graphics. You can avoid the amateurish look of “stick-on letters” or hand painting that isn’t quite up to par.
And you never get mistakes or variations, whether you’re producing one awning or 50 new ones for your stores nationwide
Your awning speaks volumes about you and your business.
It’s one of your strongest marketing tools, promoting your place 24/7, so of course you want to send the right message. Using digital printing gives your awning a “finished” appearance that says you’re a quality business. The higher quality of your awning might be subtle to viewers, but the impact will be unmistakable.
Under the watchful eye and skilled hands of an experienced awning professional, your awning can become anything you want. Digital printing loves a good challenge, so bring on your complex logo, intricate fonts, special effects. You’ll get gorgeous results, reliable consistency and faster turnaround, so you and everyone else can start admiring your new awning sooner.
And one more thing. Digital printing is affordable. Just because it offers far more options and better results doesn’t mean you have to pay more for your awning. That’s superior value.
Digital printing on awnings gives you “any image, anywhere” flexibility. You can recreate virtually any image or logo you can think up or draw, by hand or with computer-assisted design software. Including photos.
If you’re considering adding a pergola shade structure to your patio, whether it’s for your home or a commercial space, you’re one smart cookie. And your timing is impeccable. Pergolas are the kind of shade structure that offer tremendous versatility.
Good news, restaurateurs! Spring will be here soon. Really. The Winter That Never Ends will, in fact, melt into spring and then summer, bringing warm sunny days. And some very hot sunny days, which is why you need a restaurant pergola .
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