The 5 Best (& 5 Worst) Things to Show on Restaurant TVs

A restaurant is so much more than the food that it serves. It is selling an experience, an atmosphere. The difference between a restaurant and a concert venue is not so very different. Like a concert venue, a restaurant is a place to socialize and a place for people to bond over shared experiences, and people going to a restaurant expect to be entertained.

The restaurant business in the United States is becoming more and more competitive, with over 1 million restaurants operating and the number going up by about 10 thousand each year. 10 thousand might not seem like that much but the number reflects approximately 60 thousand new restaurants opening per year minus approximately 50 thousand restaurants closing each year.

One of the most effective ways to keep your patrons entertained and draw more traffic to your restaurant is to have TVs in your restaurant. But having televisions is not enough to differentiate yourself from the competition, just like the mere fact that your restaurant has food will not draw customers to your restaurant. It is important for the success of your business that you have the best programming to offer your patrons, which is why this article outlines the 5 best and the 5 worst things to show on restaurant TVs.

The 3 Best Things to Show on Restaurant TVs

1. Televised Events

This is a broad category that can include anything from high profile televised sports events, such as the NBA finals, the Super Bowl, the Olympics, or the World Cup to whatever match the local college basketball, soccer, or football team is playing.

Another incredible way to cash in on your televisions is to show pay-per-view events like UFC matches which will typically cost someone $80 or more to watch on their home TVs. The high cost of hosting these events at a restaurant can be completely offset by the huge crowds that will come to your restaurant or sports bar to see the match for free while paying to eat your delicious food and beverages.

Moreover, televised events need not be limited to televised sporting events, though these are certainly the most attractive for a place that promotes itself as a sports bar. Award shows can also draw crowds of friends who want a place to gather without the mess created by hosting a viewing party at their own homes.

Your restaurant can become the go-to spot to watch events like the Emmys and the Oscars. For events like these, the TV need not be the only resource for creating the right atmosphere. You could lay out a red carpet in front of your restaurant and have a picture booth set up for people to get their pictures taken as if they were attending the event themselves. We do advise against sitcoms or long form television; there simply aren't many restaurant TV shows that can really make a narrative impact in the short time that most people spend sitting down for a meal.

2. Family-Friendly Content

A huge demographic of restaurant customers are those in the age range where it is typical to have kids. Eating at restaurants accounts for 45% of all food expenditures for those who fall between the 25-35-year-old age range while those in the 35-45-year-old demographic rack up 43% of all food expenditures at restaurants. This means that restaurants that promote themselves as family-friendly have a lot of potential customers.

If you are trying to secure the patronage of people with families, you will want to avoid showing content on your TVs that is geared to adults or might draw a crowd that is not very family-friendly. For example, you might not want to play sports on your televisions because doing so will typically draw a rowdy crowd and create an environment that is unlike the wholesome atmosphere people with families are looking for.

If you are a parent of a family, you probably know that if the kids are happily entertained while eating at a restaurant, then your job as a parent is made a lot easier, allowing you to relax and enjoy your food. That is why showing children’s shows can be a great addition to your restaurant’s TV menu. Even better is if you can have family-friendly programming that entertains both children and adults like the funny fails playlist that the Loop TV player provides for restaurants, then this game-changing technology is a great option.

3. Music Videos

Many people who go to a restaurant want to be entertained by the content playing on television without feeling the need to focus much of their attention on what is unfolding on the screen. Maybe they are locked into conversation with their friends, and in a brief period of silence, they can look at the screen and see something visually pleasing only to return back to the conversation a few seconds later.

Music, which is already a medium with the power to unite people, is made that much more entertaining by the visually stunning music videos that artists put out these days. Playing music videos on your restaurant’s televisions is a great way to foster a fun atmosphere while giving people the space to enjoy the company of their friends. One of the best things about Loop TV is that you get huge selection of music video playlists to stream, so you can just choose the vibe that you want to set and let Loop TV take care of the rest. The scheduling tool enables you to change the music throughout the day, depending on type of customers who visit throughout the day.

4. Extreme Sports

Extreme sports are great content to put on your restaurant’s TV because they are just so entertaining. Moreover, extreme sports avoid the risk that other less extreme sports face of boring customers who are not invested in the teams that are playing. Most customers won’t know the names of the people competing in the extreme sport, but what those people are doing will be so entertaining that it will not matter.

From snowboarding in the Alaskan mountains, extreme skiing on monumental jumps, snowmobile racing, to bare hand rock climbing tortuous peaks. This form of entertainment will keep your guests on the edge of their seats, and there is nothing like a bit of vicarious danger to make a stomach hungry.

5. Trending News

We should be clear here that when we say “trending news” we do not mean political programming, which we will discuss below. Trending news can include objective reportage of events that are going on around the world. It may be an update on Supreme Court decisions, or it might give information on the current state of the pandemic.

It could also mean lighter news topics, what are sometimes called “fluff pieces, that might be more appropriate for a family-friendly restaurant. Trending news can provide great conversational topics for people dining at your restaurant, and for many, it will be nice to be able to eat a meal while learning what is going on around the world.

Loop TV also offers several channels of curated extreme sports content, all available to stream in your venue.

The 3 Worst Things to Show on Restaurant TVs

1. Political Programming

There is probably no worse content to show on your restaurant’s TVs than political programming, such as Fox News or MSNBC. What we are about to say should surprise no one: we live in an extremely polarized political climate where a difference in views can result in a charged and uncomfortable atmosphere.

Showing political content in your restaurant has the potential to not only produce disagreements between your customers but may also alienate a subset of your customers depending on what political channel you choose to show. For example, your customers might assume that the views of whatever talk show host you choose to televise are views that are shared by your establishment. If these customers disagree with these views, they will likely choose a different restaurant to have their next meal.

If you do feel the need to show the news, try a decidedly neutral news option with no political bias, such as the news options offered on Loop TV.

2. Violent Programming

As a general rule, you will want to avoid all violent programming at your restaurant (an exception being if you are a sports bar and want to show a professional fight). Violence, gore, and eating simply do not go well together. Showing violent content will clearly mark your establishment as not family-friendly, and even for a restaurant that is not seeking the family demographic, risks disturbing their adult customers while they eat. People have very different tolerances for violence, and it is best to not find out where your customers draw the line.

3. Cable Television

Showing cable television is simply a wasted opportunity for restaurant owners and here is why. When you show cable television, much of what your customers will be watching is commercials, and your restaurant is surely not benefitting from advertising the products that are showcased on your screens. That can all change with Loop TV, which provides you with higher quality content than any cable TV channels, all for no cost. This is a true win-win scenario.

4. Complex TV Shows

We all know that complex TV shows can be incredibly entertaining, but those are best for binge-watching at home by yourself or with a group of friends who have been following the story from the beginning. Complex TV shows just are not right for the restaurant environment because your customers will not be entertained if they have no idea who the characters on the screen are or what is going on with the plot. If you are determined to show some of your favorite TV shows, stick to shows that are easily understandable like sitcoms.

For example, lifestyle programming offers the types of shows are meant to be consumed without the least bit of mental effort. They are calming and that might be exactly what your clientele needs. The restaurant is an oasis in a world filled with stress where people can taste the fresh water of companionship, good food, and light entertainment without worrying too much about all the troubles outside the restaurant doors.

5. Movies

Movies suffer some of the same drawbacks that complex TV shows face. People who have not been at the restaurant when the movie starts will be lost when it comes to what is happening on the screen. Moreover, people’s tastes in movies vary widely, and what entertains some people will be utterly devoid of entertainment for the next. So, it is best practice to avoid showing movies at your restaurant.

On the other hand, you may want to make a movie-watching event at your restaurant, and that totally changes things. Movie-watching events are a great way for people with similar tastes to meet each other, and the atmosphere is generally one of camaraderie and mutual appreciation for the movie being played.

The same idea can be applied to TV shows. Your restaurant can designate one night a week to play an episode from a TV show that is popular with your customers. This is a great way to bring repeat customers and to establish your restaurant as the meeting place for groups of friends (many of which will have probably formed at previous screenings). Events like these are perfect for fostering loyal customers that will champion your restaurant to the people they know, potentially bringing in more customers through natural word-of-mouth promotion.

Curating Your TV Menu

It is time to stop thinking of a restaurant as a place people go to just eat food and start thinking of the restaurant as a holistic experience. One of the best ways to turn your restaurant into an experience is to show great programming on your televisions. This means not only creating a food menu but also a TV menu. This is where Loop TV comes in. With the Loop TV streaming device, you have access to an incredible array of content curated to create the exact atmosphere you want to promote in your restaurant.