The History of Restaurants and Billboard Advertising

The history of restaurant billboard advertising

Watchfire Signs

The history of restaurant advertising has been closely intertwined with the development of billboard and out of home advertising. From the earliest days of the automobile, restaurants have recognized the importance of promoting themselves to travelers on the road, and billboards have been an effective way to do so.

In the early 20th century, billboards were primarily hand-painted, and they were often used to advertise roadside diners and other eateries. These billboards were typically large and colorful, featuring images of food and catchy slogans that would entice drivers to pull off the road and stop for a meal.

As the automobile became more popular, the use of billboards for restaurant advertising grew. In the 1920s and 1930s, billboards were often used to promote chain restaurants like Howard Johnson’s and White Castle. These chains recognized the importance of reaching travelers on the road, and they invested heavily in billboard advertising to do so.


In the 1950s and 1960s, the rise of the interstate highway system made billboards even more important for restaurant advertising. Chains like McDonald’s and Burger King used billboards to promote their locations along major highways, and these ads often featured bold, eye-catching designs that would capture the attention of drivers whizzing by at high speeds.

Over the years, billboards have evolved from hand-painted signs to digital displays, but they remain an important part of restaurant advertising. In recent years, out of home advertising has expanded to include not just billboards, but also digital screens in airports, train stations, and other high-traffic locations.

Burger King Billboard

Today, restaurants use a variety of out of home advertising techniques to promote their businesses. Some restaurants focus on traditional billboards, while others use digital displays and other interactive technologies to reach customers on the go. No matter what approach they take, one thing is clear: restaurant advertising and out of home advertising will continue to be closely linked for years to come.

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