Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Jun 3, 2009 11:51 AM

Advertising in restaurants ... Good idea? Bad idea? Inevitable?

How would you feel if a restaurant (non-chain) started selling ad space in their restaurant?

Home Depot logos on the table.

Tide slogans on the linen.

Holiday Inn logo on the booths and chairs?

Would that bother you?

Would it bother you if you knew that the advertising would reduce the cost of the meal by 5% (or some other factor)?

Relatedly, do you think it is inevitable that ad space will be sold in restaurants sooner rather than later?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Good lord, I HOPE not! I don't give a hoot about a 5% reduction in the cost of the meal, but I most definitely don't want that kind of advertising when I'm eating out. It's bad enough on television shows.

    As for whether it is inevitable? I just can't see it happening. I really hope it doesn't.

    1. Isn't it P.F. Chang's that has the annoying ads in their menus? Maybe not Changs, but certainly a major chain.

      7 Replies
      1. re: TomSwift

        But that's a chain restaurant. ipsedixit asked about if a local-to-you "non-chain" restaurant did this...

        1. re: LindaWhit

          Cheesecake Factory has ads in their menus.

          Sometimes I get confused as to what is an ad and what is an photograph of a menu item ...

          1. re: ipsedixit

            What do they have ads for? I'm trying to picture what ads in a menu would look like.

            1. re: manraysky

              You never saw the ads in the Cheesecake Factory menu? They're almost on every other page where they don't list food or drinks.

              I've been to Chinese restaurants lately and on the paper disposable placemats there are ads for local businesses.

              1. re: monku

                Haven't been to a Cheesecake Factory. What are the ads for?

                1. re: manraysky

                  Ads I remember were for clothing boutiques and jewelry, kind of upper crust type of stuff. I didn't pay much attention, I was looking for something to eat.

                  1. re: monku

                    Wow, that's bizarre! I thought maybe they'd be for stuff like "try Kraft Mayo, as on our delicious sandwiches!" or something.

      2. I've seen several local places with advertising in the washroom stalls. I don't mind that you something to read :)

        1. Advertisements have been tried in bars and restaurant toilets before and they didn't work out very well.

          9 Replies
          1. re: KTinNYC

            how do they know it doesn't work very well? (not being snooty, just curious, really)

            1. re: alixium

              I guess sales didn't increase for the products advertised.

              1. re: KTinNYC

                It's been a while since I've been in NYC, but aren't GO Cards still just about everywhere? Actually, seen them over in Europe, too.

                1. re: Lizard

                  They are pretty common but I see them more in bars than in restaurant and they seem to be collected by tourist and used for scrap paper to exchange phone numbers more then any thing else.

                  1. re: KTinNYC

                    Huh. Don't know that I agree with (or even understand) the 'tourist' claim.I've picked them up based on whether or not I liked the image, not whether or not I lived in the area.

                    It is most likely a bar thing, though, you're right.

                    1. re: Lizard

                      You shouldn't be offended by the term tourist. I apply it for non regulars as well. If you've seen the cards a few times you no longer pick it up.

                      1. re: KTinNYC

                        This risks going off topic, but the fact is, when I lived in NYC (long time-- my true home when I'm not dreaming of Paris) I'd usually pick up pleasing postcards; do it here (in my new town) as well. Given that they are typically stationed by toilets, they're easy to catch. (Although yes, given that I am a cinephile as well as a chowhound, chances are I am looking for the film-related adverts.)

                        But there is no offence, merely curiosity about the ways in which 'tourist' is used on chowhound (and elsewhere).

                        1. re: Lizard

                          I alway pick up those cards too, here in SF. I just like sending postcards to my friends, and sometimes I write them out at the table, to share the experience.

                2. re: KTinNYC

                  I never understood why those ads for Mountain Dew they used to place over the mens urinal never worked out.

            2. I think this already happens. As a couple of posters above have said, I've seen ads in lots of bathroom stalls. I don't believe I've seen them in any high end restaurants, more mid level bar and grill types of places. There is a Mexican restaurant I go to that flashes ads in Spanish on a TV screen on the wall.

              I know in small towns its rather common (at least in the midwest) for place mats to have ads or logos of various businesses. I remember a local company that would make a place mat with caricature type drawings of business owners who presumably paid for ad space. It was always fun to find the people you knew. It never bothered me.