Eating With Your Eyes: How Murals Boost Business for Restaurants

The top priority for any bar or restaurant is to bring in new customers and keep regulars coming back. But with customers and managers alike feeling the pinch of higher food and beverage prices, customer retention is a tall order. The good news? Consumers are ready to treat themselves. Spending at bars and restaurants was up 13% in March 2023 over last year, driven by “revenge dining,” an expression of pent-up consumer demand.

After the hardships of the past few years, consumers are in the mood to start living again and enjoying nights on the town with family and friends. The goal is to entice them into your establishment, and if you get creative, you attract customer attention and increase wallet share.

Eye-catching works of art, like Instagrammable murals, can be just the thing to drive new business. Research shows that while traditional outdoor advertising may get engagement in the form of impressions, art also generates organic conversations and interactions. It draws people in and gets them talking.

When a mural captures the pulse of the local culture and connects with the surrounding community, it can boost your brand in a big way. Here are a few tips on how to use art to support your community, drive new customers, and generate repeat business.

bar and restaurant mural
A mural at City Works Restaurant.

Go Local

The most beloved bars and restaurants serve as a focal point of their communities, so it’s key to incorporate local culture into your mural organically. This includes finding a theme that expresses local pride, connects with the neighborhood culture, or reflects important regional history or interests.

Find the Right Artist

The most consequential decision you’ll make when you commission a mural is the artist you choose. Find someone whose vision aligns with yours and who understands what you’re trying to communicate about your business. Also consider the elements of an artist partnership. If you commissioned a local artist, they can help you spread the word by creating buzz on their social media pages.

Aim for Timelessness

A mural is a significant investment, not just in terms of money but also the effort you put into working with the artist to align their vision with your brand. It’s a best practice to ensure all elements included in the art will be meaningful over the long haul. For example, if you incorporate your logo or tagline, make sure you don’t plan to revise them anytime soon.

Make Sure your Artwork is Inclusive and Accessible

Your mural should have broad appeal to ensure it reflects the diversity and culture of your area and adds to the neighborhood’s aesthetic harmony. Consumers want to support businesses that support them, so it’s important to create a piece that helps your customers feel connected to the community. Art expresses raw emotion in a way that stirs a community and brings people together. If your mural accomplishes this, it will be a talking point in the neighborhood.

Although a mural may be located on a single wall, it’s a visual asset with benefits that extend far beyond its physical boundaries. Restaurant and bar owners can leverage this mural as a marketing asset, hosting events around the creation of the mural and for its reveal. The art can also form the backdrop for digital marketing, including social media and website graphics.

Case Study: District Brew Yards

bar mural
The mural at District Brew Yards

Chicago-area brewery and restaurant District Brew Yards is a prime example of how a restaurant and bar integrated murals into its locations. Famous for its beer and host to Lillie’s Q barbeque, District Brew Yards worked with a variety of local artists to create bold, colorful murals at two of its breweries. The artists crafted striking scenes using a range of techniques and styles to express their unique visions and simultaneously aligned with District Brew Yards’ vibe, helping the space flow harmoniously. The murals created an atmosphere of Instagrammable moments, which led to increased dwell time as patrons snapped the perfect photos and chatted about their favorite murals.

When you create a mural that captures the essence of a place or expresses a compelling vision, people can’t resist pausing to take it in. Often, they’ll capture the image to share with friends or on social media, boosting your restaurant’s word-of-mouth advertising. If you’re looking for a new way to promote your bar or restaurant and create an atmosphere that entices patrons to stay a while, remember: Get creative to get noticed.

Tricia Binder is a co-founder and President of Muros, a startup that brings together local mural artists with brands and businesses to create unique and impactful spaces, environments and outdoor advertising campaigns. Binder has spent her career working for F500 companies ranging from SC Johnson, Nestle Purina and Nordstrom. There she served in operational and marketing roles, working closely with cross-functional departments and over 50 different agencies, vendors and partners for million dollar and billion-dollar brands. Tricia has built and led teams to deliver and maintain market leadership and revenue growth throughout her career, helping both start-ups and global leaders achieve success. She is excited to marry that experience with Muros’ vision to use art as a medium to help businesses connect with their audiences in new and interesting ways. 

Plan to Attend or Participate in the 2024 Bar & Restaurant Expo, March 18-20, 2024

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To book your sponsorship or exhibit space at the 2024 Bar & Restaurant Expo, contact:

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