Restaurant design: signboard or advertisement?

The exterior restaurant design will attract the visitors’ attention, as well as make a first impression of your establishment. However, it is important to approach this question not only creatively, but also taking into account the legal requirements. Otherwise, you will have problems with the regulatory authorities.

There is a certain difference between the design of outdoor advertising and signage, which is enshrined in law.

Today, we will talk about the best solution for the restaurant w- signage or advertising? And how do the installation procedures differ for each of these types of design?

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What is a restaurant signage and what can be placed thereon?

Restaurant owners must place information about the establishment on the front of the premises. There must be an informative sign that will specify the type (class) of the restaurant, its name, business hours, as well as the name of the entity.

In addition, the signage with information about the establishment may contain signs for goods and services. However, to do this, the owner must have a certificate for the mark for goods and services, or a license agreement.

Please note! The signage shall not contain information about the list of services (goods), menus of the establishment, as well as calls for the purchase of goods or consumption of services. Signages shall not contain information/text aimed at creating awareness of potential visitors or generating their interest in a product or service.

Consequently, signage is a guaranteed right for the owner to let potential visitors know about the restaurant. However, in a limited amount of information.

How to place a restaurant signage?

Signage shall be placed on the exterior surface of the premises no higher than the first floor or directly on the premises, near the entrance, and may also be placed on the interior surface of the premises.

The size of the signage shall not exceed 3 square meters.

The advantage of signages over advertising is that the signage is installed free of charge, and requires no special permit - you only need to notify the local authority.

In addition, the law does not prohibit the installation of signage on movable structures at the entrance to the restaurant. You may also install several signages simultaneously.

Please note! Each city has its own individual rules (Procedure) for installing signages as improvements of the city. Our company provides advice and practical assistance in starting the restaurant and installing signage or advertising in Kyiv.

In case of failure to comply with the rules, signages can be dismantled by representatives of the local authorities.

In case of violation of the conditions of installation and maintenance of informative signs, the relevant objects may be recognized as advertisements by the regulatory authorities, which may result in certain penalties.

Please note! The name of the establishment indicated in the signage must be registered, and indicated in the registration documents of the entity. Otherwise, the signage may be considered an advertisement.

Installing signage is not a difficult task. Usually, when working with our Clients on restaurant projects, we make notification of the signage installation, checking in advance the correctness of its design. This helps to avoid possible problems with the dismantling of signages or fines in the future.

What to do if you get a report about the signage misarrangement?

The signage can be dismantled or “legalized” as an outdoor advertisement.

Please note! If you fail to dismantle the signage within the deadline specified in the notice, the representatives of the utility service will dismantle the information signage themselves. But in this case, the owner of the restaurant receives bills for dismantling, transportation, and storage services.

One way to protect the rights and interests of the signage owners is to prove in the national courts the fact that advertising from the sign differs in the content of the information, rather than the way it is presented.

Let’s consider an example of one court case: The owner of the store filed an administrative action seeking declaration of invalidity of the decision of the authority to impose a fine for violation of the legislation on advertising. Representatives of this authority drew up a protocol against the owner of the store for violation of advertising laws on the grounds that, according to the representatives, the signage with the trademark on the facade of the building is an advertisement and not an informational signboard.

The court heard the opinions of both parties, and the decisive fact was that the representatives of the state authority did not specify how the information specified on the signage should have formed/supported the awareness of advertising consumers and their interest in this store or a certain of its products. Therefore, in this case, the court resolved the case in favor of the store owner. However, the correct defense strategy and analysis of the actions of the authority played a role.

Important! When informational signage is a mandatory legal requirement, then advertising is solely the right of the entrepreneur.

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What is restaurant outdoor advertising, and where can it be installed?

Restaurant advertising is information about the establishment, which may be distributed in any form and by any means, and is aimed at attracting consumer interest in the restaurant.

Such advertising is placed on certain structures, which may be temporary or stationary - on advertising media. They can be installed in open areas, such as: the outer surfaces of houses, buildings, on certain parts of street equipment, as well as over the roads and streets.

Regardless of the form or method of distribution, the advertisement must be clearly separated from other information so that it can be identified as an advertisement. It encourages people to visit the particular establishment being advertised and contains information other than the name, activities and business hours.

What is the challenge of advertising?

In order to place an advertisement, it is necessary to obtain a permit, which is issued to the distributor of the advertisement. The procedure for obtaining the permit requires time and understanding of the process.

Legislation has an exhaustive list of requirements, in particular:

  • compliance with safety requirements by owners of advertising objects, so advertising shall not cover road signs, traffic lights, limit the review of crosswalks, traffic stops, etc;
  • lighting of advertising objects shall not dazzle drivers, as well as shine into residential apartments;
  • outdoor advertising may not be placed on pedestrian walkways and alleys; in cities and other settlements at a distance of less than 5 meters from the edge of the roadway and/or from the surface of the pavement, in cases where the advertising structure extends beyond the edge of the roadway.

In addition, advertising on buildings and structures may be placed only after obtaining the consent of the owners of such premises and should not contain information or images that may violate ethical, moral and other similar norms.

Please note! Many entrepreneurs intend to install a banner near the restaurant. A banner is a graphic image of an advertising nature. It is placed to attract potential customers. Therefore, a banner also requires the permit.

To obtain the permit, you can apply to the Administrative Services Center with the appropriate package of documents, which must include:

  • An application;
  • A sketch of the advertising media with a design solution;
  • A photograph or a computer layout of the place where a certain advertising medium is to be installed.

In practice, Clients are frequently denied a permit for various reasons, for example, due to submitting an incomplete set of documents for a permit, or due to inaccurate information in the documents, or due to a negative report on the results of the examination and survey required for issuing a permit, etc.

Therefore, to avoid troubles with refusals of state authorities, we recommend using the legal support services of our lawyers. They will help you to prepare the necessary documents and obtain the permit.

Can some elements of restaurant advertising be considered objects of copyright?

Different objects of copyright may be used in advertising, for example, drawings (animations), photographs, music, video, design, domain names, font, etc.

However, any works of art in advertising shall be used in accordance with the requirements of Ukrainian legislation on copyright and related rights.

Artwork may be used in advertising only if the term of copyright has expired for such works. Otherwise, it is necessary to obtain permission to use such works from the author or its legal successor by concluding an agreement.

If you want to use photos/pictures from the Internet, we advise you to take such photos from free photo stocks by familiarizing yourself with the terms of use of such websites, which provide detailed conditions:

  • how the image can be used and under what conditions;
  • whether you must indicate the author and source of the photo, etc..

Or, alternatively, you may develop your own logo that cannot be identified with others.

In addition, the object of copyright can be such a component of advertising as a “slogan”, i.e. a short phrase that is easily remembered and contains the main idea of the product offered to consumers. However, the legislation does not establish separate requirements for the use of slogans in advertising.

The main condition for the recognition of advertising slogans as the object of copyright is the creative element, moreover, the phrase must be expressed in an objective form and be so original to exclude the possibility of coincidence with other slogans.

Advertising slogans can be registered as marks for goods and services, or be an independent object of copyright.

If you have any questions concerning registration of a slogan for advertising your establishment, please order a consultation with our lawyers. Usually the consultation on this matter is included in the package of services for starting the restaurant in Kyiv.

What is the liability for violation of advertising laws?

The fines for violation of the rules of placement of signs or external banners in Ukraine amount to five times the cost of advertising, which is determined on the basis of the contract value, excluding taxes and fees. And if it is impossible to determine such a cost - a fine will be up to 300 untaxed minimum incomes of citizens (now it is up to UAH 5,100).

For repeat violation of the law during the year, a fine is imposed in the double amount.

Consequently, the distinction between the concepts of signage and advertising is in their intended purpose and features of their location, that is, the content and location of their information.

And whatever form of informing about your establishment you have chosen, a qualified advice of a lawyer is a guarantee of protection of your funds and time. Especially if you want to draw attention to your establishment with advertising, trademarks or promotional slogans. Such advertising one hundred percent attracts more attention to the restaurant, but also requires additional effort to obtain all the necessary permits.

Our lawyers will:

  • Advise you on installing signage or advertising in your establishment;
  • Obtain the necessary permits and generate reports to the state authorities on the installation of signage;
  • Prepare a Roadmap to starting your restaurant in Kyiv;
  • Obtain other permits needed to start the restaurant;
  • Advice on the choice of premises;
  • Provide full legal support for starting a restaurant business.

Please check the cost of our services here.

The registration of the restaurant is only a small detail in the mechanism of launching your restaurant business. Our lawyers can provide qualified legal support at all stages of restaurant launch.

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Publication date: 27/01/2022

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