Are Restaurant Table Tent Ads Effective?
Table tents are a staple of the restaurant industry.
From diners to bars, table tents have been enticing diners to order dessert and buy special drinks for decades. And for good reason! Before digital technology became commonplace in restaurants, table tent signs were a cost-effective way to get marketing messages right in front of the customer’s face.
Table tent messaging varies widely from restaurant to restaurant. Here are a few of the most common things diners might come face to face with in typical table tent holders:
- Special food offers: desserts, limited-time items, drinks and cocktails
- Nutritional information including low-calorie menu offerings
- Ads from local businesses or national brands
- Invitations to connect with the restaurant on social media or by QR code
The question is, are table tent ads effective?
Do customers really respond to pictures and messaging at their table?
In a word: yes. There haven’t been many large-scale table tent studies but in 2007 the venerable Cornell Hospitality School released some eye-opening stats about table tented wine promotions. In their study (which focused on premium wine pairings and offerings) they had some really interesting results. Wine recommendations boosted at-table sales by 12%, and wine tasting promotions actually boosted sales by nearly 50%! It made clear that it’s important for restaurateurs to remember not to cannibalize their own sales by using table caddies to offer low-cost, lower margin products.
So, what does all this data have to do with restaurateurs and advertisers?
The good news is, at-table promotions work! Table caddies for restaurant promotions really do raise sales but they have to be eye-catching and engaging to do so. Picture quality is hugely important. That’s why digital is quickly replacing standard paper or plastic table tents as the new standard in restaurants, from quick-serve to full-service.
New data suggests over 60% of meals are eaten alone which means restaurants need to place special emphasis on quick service and single-serve tables. Eating at the bar is becoming more and more common for solo diners in part because it feels less isolated and provides more stimulation than a stand-alone table. Millennials in particular say speedy service and a good atmosphere are crucial to their restaurant decisions.
What does all this mean for the table tent?
Industry experts say they expect digital to become the new standard within the next decade, from menu boards to table caddies. Initial cost has decreased dramatically for digital restaurant products which means most restaurateurs have no reason not to consider ordering Media Caddy table caddies or a large digital menu board. Not only do these types of solutions please today’s discerning customers, they give restaurant owners unparalleled flexibility.
With average customer dwell time in a full-service restaurant hovering around 52 minutes, few other advertising mediums offer as captive an audience as a digital table tent. Marketers can change their daily messaging strategies based on what inventory looks like or what’s on sale – and outside advertisers love the ability to augment their messages depending on the time of day, for example.
Digital video and high-quality images – incorporated seamlessly into a looped media channel – are actually easier to produce and cheaper to maintain than constant print runs of new physical table tent material. And digital OOH research suggests that digital video ads actually contribute to “unplanned” purchases about 19% of the time! Consider the fingerprints, the ketchup splatters, and the outdated messaging of traditional table tent holders and the choice seems obvious.
The table caddy is as effective as ever but the more engaging it becomes, the more customers will respond. Table tent holders that can charge cellphones and offer scanable coupon codes are the future and companies like Media Caddy are making this cutting-edge technology accessible right now. If you’ve been considering investing in table tent advertisements for your restaurant or as an advertising medium for your brand, you owe it to yourself to consider the increased flexibility and affordable cost of digital table tent solutions.