Skip to main content

The Sales Impact & ROI of Exterior LED Lighting for Fast Food Restaurants

May 14, 2019  |  LED Lighting

Dan Rajczyk

By Dan Rajczyk

Business Development Executive

Here's what we'll cover:

Throughout our years in business, we’ve had the fortunate opportunity to provide LED lighting solutions for fast food franchise owners all across North America. Though each brand’s lighting needs can vary from location to location, one consideration among franchisees remains consistent:

“How will my investment in exterior
LED lighting impact my bottom line?”

For many franchisees, the average payback time tends to fall within 1.5 – 2.2 years through the energy and maintenance savings alone — not including the additional returns generated from the increased traffic and higher sales.

However, no matter how promising any lighting solution may look on paper, understanding the direct impact that it has on your customers, your sales, and your business as a whole is key to you confidently deciding which solution is best for your restaurant and your budget.

And that confident understanding is exactly what we want to provide you every step of the way, whether you’re just starting to research exterior lighting solutions or you’re ready to make the investment in your restaurant’s overall profitability.

Together, let’s dive into how exterior LED lighting impacts your quick-service restaurant’s (QSR) ability to attract customers, drive higher sales, and provide a solid return on your investment.

How Does Exterior LED Lighting Increase Customer Traffic & Sales?

There are a myriad of conscious decisions and subconscious influences that ultimately determine whether or not a potential customer chooses your restaurant.

While the strongest of purchasing influences — such as brand loyalty and customer advocacy — take time and consistently positive experiences to build, other aspects of your customers’ decision-making process can be positively influenced through exterior LED lighting.

Exterior LED lighting evokes strong feelings of brand familiarity, predictability, and trust within customers.

The time you have to influence your customers’ purchasing decisions has never been shorter — with many making food decisions in as little as 0.3 seconds.

While your window to capture their attention is narrow, there is one factor that has a massive influence in your customer’s food choice: Brand familiarity.

When we look at the behavioral data, we can see just how strong of an influence brand familiarity is when customers make food choices. When presented with a range of food options, customers consistently choose the food items they’re familiar with more than 70% of the time.

And when we segment this data by the times that customers are making their food choices, we see that brand familiarity is all the more important to lunchtime customers who want a predictable, affordable food experience that facilitates connections.

As a franchisee, you’ve already positioned yourself to meet your customers’ desire for predictable quality and familiarity by becoming an owner of a restaurant brand that already has tremendous brand recognition.

Through quality architectural lighting, you transform your restaurant into a highly-visible beacon of familiarity, predictable quality, and reliable service.

Moreover, you ensure that your original investment — into your restaurant’s trusted brand name and consistent quality — is used to its full effect in attracting foot traffic from new and returning customers alike.

Leon®: Our go-anywhere,
do-anything rigid LED

  • Long life: 50k-70k hours
  • 85% more energy efficient than neon
  • Seamless color, no sags, no light gaps
Learn More About Leon

Exterior LED lighting makes customers feel welcome and improves their perception of your food quality and service.

Creating a welcoming, well-lit exterior atmosphere isn’t just an important aspect of delivering good customer service; it’s also good business.

Diving into the hard data, we see that when customers are greeted with welcoming lighting that reinforces a brand’s colors — especially those nearer the red light spectrum — and compliments the other colors used in building’s architectural lighting, it engenders strong feelings of attraction and an overall higher level of perceived quality.

By aligning your exterior lighting with your other forms of branding, you ensure that your restaurant’s servicescape is working harmoniously to provide customers with a consistently pleasant experience.

And it’s through these experiences that customers begin to form the bonds of trust and brand familiarity, sowing the seeds for return visits and more reliable repeat sales.

Exterior LED lighting helps your customers feel safe, increasing return visits.

When parking lots and outdoor areas are poorly lit, your customers feel unsafe. And when people feel unsafe at your QSR, they simply don’t want to spend their time — or money — there, let alone make return visits or recommend it to others.

However, when your restaurant’s exterior is well lit, your customers know that they and their possessions are safe, and you don’t miss out on those sales opportunities.

With bright LED lighting illuminating your customers’ journey — from their first sight of your restaurant’s exterior colors, to your parking lot and outdoor walkways — your customers feel secure whether they’re dining in, taking their order to go, or zipping by the drive-through.

Exterior LED lighting demonstrates your environmental conscientiousness to your customers.

Though every generational demographic is becoming more aware and concerned about the environmental impact of their favorite brands, no other generation is more committed to environmental wellness than millennials.

Though they’re the biggest and most consistent spenders at fast food restaurants, millennials aren’t shy about boycotting the food brands that don’t take their business’s carbon footprint seriously.

But for the brands that do invest in environmentally-conscious solutions like exterior LED lighting, millennials demonstrate staunch loyalty and higher levels of brand advocacy than other generational groups.

On average, 73% of millennials across every income bracket are willing to pay more for the products and services of brands that practice sound, environmentally-forward thinking and invest in sustainable solutions.

Understanding the ROI of Exterior LED Lighting for Your Quick-Service Restaurant

When determining the average payback time and total ROI, there are a myriad of variables unique to your project that must be weighed, some of which include:

  • The amount of LED lighting product required
  • The types of lighting you may be replacing
  • Your project’s specific architectural lighting requirements
  • Your projected annual electricity usage

And while cost and maintenance savings alone allow exterior LED payback times to fall within 1.5 – 2.2 years, the direct sales benefits of your investment will begin to pay off immediately and sow the seeds for long-term, predictable success.

From a customer traffic and sales perspective, your architectural lighting plays a significant role in:

  • Strengthening brand recognition
  • Generating foot traffic and more repeat business
  • Bolstering your customers’ perception of your restaurant’s safety, reliability, and overall quality
  • Demonstrating your environmental awareness to your customers

While these factors alone are important, together, they ultimately influence the most important factor in your relationship with your customers and your overall profitability: Trust.

Lifetime Customer Value in Relation to Highly Satisfied Customers Lifetime Customer Value Baseline Not emotionallyconnected Highly satisfied Perceive branddifferentiation Fully connected -18% +0% +13% +52% Connectivity Level Lifetime Customer Value
Connectivity Level Lifetime Customer Value Baseline
Not emotionally connected -18%
Highly satisfied +0%
Perceive brand differentiation +13%
Fully connected +52%

Source: "The New Science of Customer Emotions" November 2015

From this trust comes sales, with customers yielding 52% higher lifetime value, engaging in 27% more visits, and becoming stalwart brand advocates that generate positive word-of-mouth advertising and glowing local reviews.

ROI is a subjective number; however, when analyzing the immense benefits of exterior LED lighting from both a consumer and fiscal perspective, the returns are consistently strong in the long and short term.

LumiFlex™: Side-to-side
Bending LED

  • Easy to manipulate
  • 85% more energy efficient than neon
  • Perfect replacement for neon
Learn More About LumiFlex™

What Makes Lektron Different as an LED Lighting Provider?

Together, we’ve seen how investing in exterior LED lighting generates foot traffic, helps build stronger sales, and lays the foundation for your restaurant to create strong, trust-based relationships with repeat customers.

And in following with our belief of always being straightforward with you, we won’t beat around the bush: The cost of an LED lighting solution and its installation is a significant investment for most franchisees.

We don’t take your investment of time and money with us lightly, which is why we provide complete end-to-end solutions — like none other in our industry — and work with you every step of the way.

We provide reliable, never-outsourced, on-call support.

Processing your order, sending you a box of products, and saying “best of luck” simply isn’t how we do business. We can provide you and your teams with on-call support and installation support experts who are ready to help at a moment’s notice.

And don’t worry — the complexity of your installation is never a hassle. With in-house our support staff being right alongside the rest of the Lektron team, they’re already intimately familiar with every unique aspect of your project’s specific needs and the goals you have for your lighting investment.

We securely ship everything you need for your installation.

Whether your order fits in a standard-size box or requires one of our custom crates, we provide every bolt, washer, and anything else that your lighting solution may require right to your site.

Alongside the components, which are always securely packed and reinforced within their box or crate, we also include full assembly and installation guides, material manifests, and photographs to ensure you receive everything you need with no surprises along the way.

As always, we have our installation support team ready to take your call and lend a hand — never at any extra charge.

Lektron Branding Solutions ships large orders in custom, secure crates that include every item required for your exterior LED installation

We design custom lighting solutions specific to your branding or architectural needs.

Every lighting solution we provide is customized to our customers’ specific needs and branding specifications. Only have a rough sketch of an idea for the lighting project you’re envisioning? No problem.

With our custom design center and fabrication shop right on site, we can work with you to develop functional prototypes that help bring your custom designs to life and draw customers to your restaurant.

Once your custom solution is fully developed, we ship it — along with everything else needed for your installation — directly to your site with our installation support team ready to provide you and your team with step-by-step help.

We can provide installation services for your lighting solution.

With any large-scale installation work, there’s not only the direct financial cost to consider, but also the indirect cost. If your restaurant has to temporarily close — or even if it appears closed to customers during the installation process — that’s time lost that could have been used generating sales.

With time being so critically valuable, we can also provide expert, on-site installation teams that ensure your products are installed correctly, quickly, and without the risk of installation errors — getting your new exterior lighting system up and running with minimal restaurant downtime.

We don’t operate through distributors or middlemen of any kind.

When we say we’re with you every step of the way, that’s exactly what we mean. Our staff, support team, custom design center, workshop, and order fulfillment are all under one roof in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

This enables us to have an intimate knowledge of every order, custom design, and component that is shipped, allowing us to provide an industry-leading level of service and support to you and your team. Moreover, the lack of middlemen eliminates a great deal of needless expense, allowing us to pass greater savings onto our customers.

Building Customer Trust, Increasing Sales, and Producing a Positive ROI

Exterior LED lighting goes far beyond simply providing illumination for your QSR. When harnessed effectively, your restaurant’s outdoor lighting is a bridge that helps connect you to your customers, makes them feel welcomed and safe, and ushers them toward the quality service and products that you and your team deliver time and again.

We’ve been helping franchisees attract customers and save money for years. Let’s get started together.

Talk with Dan from Sales

And if you’re outfitting your new location or retrofitting your existing restaurant with LED lighting, don’t worry. Getting all of this information together, on top of everything else you’re doing, can definitely feel overwhelming at times.

We’ve been helping franchisees and major food brands across the country meet their lighting needs for years. Our team would love to have the opportunity to talk with you and explore how our LED lighting solutions can help you connect with customers, increase sales, and generate a strong return on your investment.

Dan Rajczyk

About Dan Rajczyk

Dan Rajczyk, Business Development Executive at Lektron Branding Solutions, helps North American businesses implement cost-saving LED lighting technologies to amplify their brand — attracting more customers and increasing revenues.


  1. Baker, William, et al. “Brand Familiarity and Advertising: Effects on the Evoked Set and Brand Preference.” ACR North American Advances, Association for Consumer Research, 1 Jan. 1986.
  2. Bitner, Mary Jo. “Servicescapes: The Impact of Physical Surroundings on Customers and Employees.” Journal of Marketing, vol. 56, no. 2, 1992, p. 57., doi:10.2307/1252042.
  3. Cant, M.c., and C. Erdis. “Incorporating Customer Service Expectations In The Restaurant Industry: The Guide To Survival.” Journal of Applied Business Research (JABR), vol. 28, no. 5, 2012, p. 931., doi:10.19030/jabr.v28i5.7235.
  4. Jung, Jae Man, et al. “A Conflict of Choice: How Consumers Choose Where to Go for Dinner.” International Journal of Hospitality Management, vol. 45, 2015, pp. 88–98., doi:10.1016/j.ijhm.2014.11.007.
  5. LED Lighting Forecast. United States Department of Energy, 2018.
  6. Lee, Roy, and Liou S. Nan. “How the Elements of Architectural Design, Color, Lighting and Layout of a Quick-Service Restaurant Image (QSRI) Influences Perceived Value, Customer Satisfaction and Revisit Intentions.” The International Academic Forum, 2013.
  7. Li, Yuchen, et al. Return on Investment of an LED Lighting System. Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, Columbia University , 2011.
  8. Mower, Jennifer M., et al. “Exterior Atmospherics and Consumer Behavior.” Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal, vol. 16, no. 4, 2012, pp. 442–453., doi:10.1108/13612021211265836.
  9. Omar, Muhamad Saufiyudin, et al. The Relationship Between Restaurant Ambience and Customers …International Journal of Administration and Governance, 2015.
  10. Sandahl, Linda, et al. “Solid-State Lighting: Early Lessons Learned on the Way to Market.” U.S. Department of Energy, 2013, doi:10.2172/1159796.
  11. Shakir, Insiya, and Nadarajah Narendran. “Evaluating White LEDs for Outdoor Landscape Lighting Application.” Solid State Lighting II, 2002, doi:10.1117/12.452571.