Restaurant and Café Signage

As the leaves begin to turn, and the first snap of the cold begins to make its way in the wind, pumpkin spice and warm coffee is on the mind of many. For us as a sign company this means we’ve spent much of the summer helping coffee shops ensure they are ready for the Fall crowds, by servicing lighting and signs, and also helping provide branding and signage for existing and new coffee shops alike.

In this article, we want to highlight some of the many sign types that are often incorporated into coffee shops, in the hopes that we may provide any present or future coffee shop owners an idea of how to make your business stand apart and also feel welcoming.

Exterior Signs for Cafés

Perhaps what matters most for all businesses are the signs that adorn the front of the building, for these are the signs that essentially say ‘here we are’ to any passersby and potential customers. Depending on the property you own you may be locked into a certain sign type by your landlord, a common agreement we’ve discussed here; however, if you have flexibility you may consider channel letters, pan faces, or if you have a standalone building or a drive-thru a blade sign.

Channel Letters

Channel Letters are defined as sign that consists of three-dimensionals letter that may include a light source. Channel Letters are perhaps the most frequently used sign type for business facades, as they are functional, often preferred by property managers, and allow the incorporation of a brand’s logo, color, and design.

Pan Faces

Scooter's Drive-Thru Signs

Pan Faces are defined as a plastic sign face molded into a three-dimensional shape. Pan Faces may be second only to Channel Letters in their popularity, as they are an affordable option that likewise allows for brand customization for a businesses signage.

Blade Signs

Blade Signs as defined the Sign Research Foundation are a type of projecting sign mounted such that the face of the sign is perpendicular to the flow of traffic.

Though Blade Signs aren’t as common, they stand apart both in their uniqueness and their designs. We in fact have written an entire blog highlighting how blade signs attract customers, and thus we recommend you read that for a deeper understanding of the value of this sign type.

Now these are all excellent examples of common, and effective, sign types that cafés and restaurants use to identify a business.

Temporary Signage for Cafés

We should now discuss the various types of temporary signs that cafés use to highlight their hours, showcase specials, or highlight seasonal beverages such as the beloved pumpkin spice coffee options we see every Fall.

Banner Signs

Banner Signs are signs that are composed of lightweight material; often used in a non-permanent setting, such as to announce a grand opening, sale, or special event. These are often placed on the building itself; however, they may also be placed depending on your municipal code on pylon signs, monument signs, or other structures.

Flag Signs

Flag Signs are similar to banner signs in that they are often composed of lightweight material, and likewise may be used in a non-permanent setting. However their name comes from their unique shape which is often similar to a feather, and they are often placed on a sidewalk in front of the business to quickly identify a name or feature of the shop. For instance a popular flag sign for a coffee shop might has a graphic that looks like liquid coffee, or coffee beans, and the text would simple say ‘COFFEE’.

Sandwich Boards or Sidewalk Signs

Sandwich Boards (Sidewalk Signs) are signs that are not secured or attached to the ground or surface upon which it is located, but supported by its own frame, which is typically in the shape of an A. These signs are frequently used to highlight specials of the day, hours, or other timely announcements. There may be stipulations to the distance, and time, that these signs may be in place, so confer with your local municipal codes or ask the expertise of your local sign company such as Ortwein Sign to learn more.

Interior Signage for Cafés

Cafés often have as many signs in the interior of their business as they do on the outside, and these signs each serve their own purpose that complement the overall mission of the business. Here we breakdown four common types of signs that you will often see in restaurants and cafés in particular.

Menu Boards

Menu Boards are signs that display for customers the various menu items that are on offer at a cafe or restaurant. Though traditionally menu signs have been analog, using paper, or chalk, for rotating menus. More and more menu boards have gone digital, as restaurant and cafe owners have embraced the ease with which they can adjust the display, as well as its ability to better display photos of the drinks and food items available to patrons.

Logo and Statement Signs

Though many restaurants may have a logo on display in their restaurant, cafés have gone above and beyond by making their logo, and often their slogan, an Instagram or Tik Tok worthy attraction for patrons to photograph. Often these are LED signs; however, we at Ortwein Sign have also fabricated real neon signs in-house for businesses as well, which offer lighting and ambience as well as a centerpiece for photos or selfies in the café itself.

Wall Art and Environmental Graphics

Cafés are known for their ambience, and a component of the success is through the art and graphics that are implemented on the walls. Whether these graphics feature local artiss, local settings, or perhaps more generic coffee or cafe items, they help cafés stand out and feel all the more cozy for those in the establishment.

Digital Kiosks

In the past couple of years the use of digital kiosks have taken off, and though not every establishment or cafe chooses to implement these, more and more they provide customers a contactless way to order food while also seeing the myriad of choices up close and personal, as well as photographs of the food items they are browsing through.


Cafés and restaurants incorporate a significant amount of signage, perhaps more than you might have realized; however, we hope we have shown not only the types of signage on offer to cafés and restaurants, but also their uses and how they help engage with patrons to provide a better, more positive experience for the customer.