For restaurateurs, marketing within the four walls is just as important as marketing outside the four walls. Point of purchase materials are essential in carrying out the communication of marketing messages within the restaurant. These materials allow consumers to make perceptions about a brand and can potentially drive traffic, increase sales and positively impact consumer choices. Points of purchase materials help consumers make purchasing decisions at these strategic locations throughout the restaurant.

Choose a message to communicate. Restaurants can use POP materials to share about in-store events, sell menu items or introduce new menu items. These materials can communicate a message, share the brand story and increase trial. It is very important that brands commit to a message and follow through with their POP materials. The message should be clear and to the point and should fit into the brand’s positioning with all other marketing materials.

Point of purchase materials increase impulse buys. Research shows that 53 percent of those in-store purchases are made on impulse. Depending on the restaurant establishment, quick service or fast casual, impulse purchases can occur at the register or the table. Both register toppers and table tents can help promote the impulse purchases of dessert and appetizers. Using enticing food photography and creative copy, restaurants can increase sales of both new and profitable menu items. These are both great ways to launch sales of new menu items or increase profits by selling higher margin menu items.

Brand the point of purchase message. Point of purchase materials should always reinforce brand positioning and should include the same design aesthetic, logos and colors as the rest of the marketing materials. Similarly, POP materials need to be synched with one another. Too many messages in the restaurant window, at the register or table can confuse guests and lower restaurant brand perceptions. POP messages need to be positioned to work together to form a single message to drive sales and increase traffic.

Use point of purchase materials to inform guests about events and promotions. Restaurateurs need to take advantage of those customers that they already have because these are the ones that are most likely to attend special events and participate in promotions. Restaurateurs should always integrate point of purchase materials to communicate the message about events and promotions. Table tents, register toppers and check presenters can be used to share these messages to in-store guests, while banners, posters and a-frame signs can communicate event messages to community traffic outside the restaurant.

Take advantage of vendor partnerships when creating point of purchase materials. Often, vendors can provide photos or even help pay for point of purchase materials if their logo is included.

Utilize all different types of POP. Here are some of the different forms of POP that are available to restaurants:

• Table tents and register toppers: Use these at the tables and on registers in the restaurant to market upcoming events, specials or promotions. Use these to up-sell drinks, desserts and appetizers as well as to promote new menu items.

• Wall hangings and signs: Posters and signs with a message, logo and food photography shot can help increase sales of new and existing guests. Use these to share store messages, increase customer appetite and drive sales of menu items.

• Window clings: These are easy to put up and attract attention from the outside.

• Ceiling danglers: Use these to promote new menu items in the store as an alternative to posters.

• Digital advertising: These work best for quick service restaurants to keep customers entertained while they wait in line. They can be used to advertise menus options and events. Digital signage and digital menu boards have shown plenty of promise for quick-service chains, especially their ability to offer centralized control over promotions, price changes and menu rollouts.

• Check presenters: Many restaurateurs forget to utilize this important tool that customers are insured to see when they pay the bill. Use these to share upcoming event information, bounce backs or the restaurant story.

• Gift card displays: These can be utilized all year round, not just for the holidays. Use POP merchandised gift cardholders to increase impulse buys for birthdays, graduations and other holidays outside of winter like Valentine’s Day or Easter.

Restaurants have a very valuable tool at their disposal to drive home the messages of POP materials—food! Using samples along with POP is a great way to increase sales. Restaurants can use bakery display cases to show off new menu items, or provide small pastry tasters to increase add-on purchases.

Finally, restaurants must remember that POP cannot stand alone. POP must be integrated into all the marketing efforts of the brand. Whether the POP exists to promote an event or communicate about catering orders, all employees must fulfill their sales and local store marketing obligations. Staff members also need to communicate POP messages, like new menu items, by upselling to patrons in the restaurant. Signs do promote the message within the four walls, to existing guests, but to create an integrated marketing campaign that works restaurateurs must share their message with the public.

The Do’s and Don’ts of POP:

• Do use POP to create a branded message.

• Do integrate all point of purchase branded materials.

• Do use point of purchase materials to increase sales.

• Do use eye catching food photography and contrasting colors to get the attention of guests.

• Do use point of purchase materials to inform guests about upcoming events and promotions.

• Do use point of purchase materials to sell new and high profit menu items.

• Do keep POP simple and direct.

• Do partner with vendors for POP.

• Do rotate POP every 4-8 weeks.

• Do place POP in highly visible areas to drive sales.

• Don’t use multiple POP materials to share many different messages.

• Don’t forget to put a logo on POP materials.

• Don’t forget to add an offer to increase sales.

• Don’t use POP materials without a food shot if you are marketing a new menu item. Make sure that the food shot looks professional.