How To Increase Foot Traffic: For Restaurants

What do all Restaurants have in common? They all need customers! Foot traffic is the most important variable that can ultimately determine a restaurant’s success or failure.

According to a study done by LSA Insider on consumerism, more than 90% of consumers make most of their purchases within 15-minutes from home or work. This means that restaurants have to find ways to reach their target audience within that 15-minute radius. According to data collected from TomTom, the slowest average state interstate speed is 46MPH (Washington D..C.), and the highest is 70MPH (Mississippi, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Idaho, Alabama, and Missouri). This means that 10 miles – 17.5 miles is the range of distance it takes to travel 15-minutes.

So how can restaurants target audiences within a 10 to 17.5-mile distance from their physical location?

Here are standard methods: 

  1. Driving foot traffic using direct mail campaigns.
  2. Geo-Targeted online advertising campaigns.
  3. Invest in real estate with high street-level foot traffic.
  4. Word-of-mouth.

These options have become an industry standard for restaurants as a way to gain foot traffic, but “standard” may not be an appropriate benchmark for restaurant management looking to optimize customer acquisition cost in order to increase profitability:

  • Direct Mail
    • 1.6% of direct mail will be placed on a refrigerator, note board, etc., meaning 98.4% of the time the mail is most likely disposed of.
    • 0.4% of consumers actually take action on direct mail and or take it out of the house.
    • The volume of direct mail is expected. to increase by 0.4% by the end of 2020.

  • Online Advertisements
    • 4% of online ads play outside of their intended geographies.
    • 0.1% of display ads are clicked on average, meaning 99.9% of the time audiences are not engaging with display ads.
    • 8% of users online account for 85% of the clicks on display ads.
    • 47% of consumers are blocking ads.

  • Real Estate
    • It cost on average $150 – $750 per sqft. to build a restaurant.
    • Monthly base rent for restaurant space on average is $6,914
    • Price per sqft. in high-traffic areas like Times Square are as high as $2,000 – $3,000 per sq ft.

  • Word of Mouth
    • Drives $6T annually into the U.S. economy.
    • 72% of consumers get news from friends and family.
    • 32% of consumers trust online reviews only if there are multiple reviews.
    • 88% of consumers trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as personal contacts.

Word of mouth (‘WOM’) can be extremely effective, but often it is a means-to-an-end and not the initial first step. WOM is most effective when used in combination with one or all of the above methods listed. We’ve often observed that restaurants no matter the size (SME) struggle to build meaningful conversion funnels when trying to increase WOM. This is not surprising as WOM is the hardest to measure because its an organic process.

OTG acts as a viable fifth method for driving foot traffic for restaurants by combining the best qualities of the above standard options.

Your restaurant’s content budgeted, scheduled, and distributed digitally to relevant audiences within specific geographies via our smart screen network. Our network is uniquely positioned to increase foot-traffic for restaurants as our network’s audience is viewing while in-transit with the ability to change their destination to participating restaurants. Our recent OTG survey shows that 70% of consumers are engaged with our screens with an average dwell-time of 15-minutes, making our network premium real estate for advertisers.

Looking to boost foot traffic? If you would like to request more information on this topic please email us at, we will be happy to assist!


Sources: Forbes Invesp The Manifest, Gallup, Ambassador, NY Post, Aaron Allen & Associates