Sometimes the signs have the opposite effect, and instead, turn potential customers away. Take a look at some of the best, and try not to get too hungry as you chuckle along.
Freudian Slip from the Colonel
Kentucky Fried Chicken is one of the mainstays of fast food. If you have a hankering for some crispy chicken and sides, then there's no easier place to get it. It's not everyone's favorite eatery, however, and this sign makes it seem like even an employee has gotten sick of it.
Instead of advertising an unbeatable feast, a critical letter was forgotten, which almost certainly got a laugh from pretty much anyone who drove past and has eaten at KFC before. Whether the letter fell off, was stolen, or they just didn't have one, to begin with, it doesn't matter – this sign gets a laugh from us.
Better Check the Calendar Again, Fellas
Plenty of restaurants pride themselves on the fact that they stay open for six days a week, or even seven, but only one restaurant has the gumption, the verve, and the chutzpah to stay open eight days a week and stay closed on Sundays! We're unsure which restaurant this is, but their food must be mind-blowing if it's able to change time in such an immense way.
We do wonder what kind of food they're slinging – is it incredible future food that has stepped over the bounds of time to shift our very nature? Maybe the sign creators are just stupid. It could be either one.
Philosophical Thoughts from El Arroyo
El Arroyo has some incredible signs that you'll see throughout this article, and this one gives the passer-by pause. The Austin-based restaurant has gone from dad puns to cheeky jokes, and now they give us something to really think about as we stop in to enjoy some of their food. People must really like El Arroyo's food if they have this much time to think about what exactly clapping is and isn't, but we have to admit the sign brings up an interesting point.
El Arroyo loves these kinds of things, because before you know it, you've been staring at the sign for an hour, and need something to eat.
Two Out of Three
Creating a good product can take time. The restaurant that hung up this sign knows that and much more, and now so do you. There are three ways to get your food when you want it from a restaurant or a fast-food place. You can either pay out the nose for tasty food that arrives when you want, wait a long while to save on some of your favorite food, or tough out a messed-up dish if you need some cheap grub quickly.
Picking which option is sure to slow you down, but this is more to help temper expectations – if you want something good, be prepared to either wait or pay for it.
Deserves Another Look
At first glance, this sign looks like it's saying something quite mean about the food that the restaurant is serving. However, a smart combo of wordplay from another language and a nod to famous recording artist Snoop Dogg creates a restaurant name that is memorable, funny and gets you hungry for some hot and tasty Vietnamese soup.
Creating a sign that not only talks about what kind of food you serve but brings a chuckle as well as is a winner in our book, and with the addition of some bubble tea and other Vietnamese food, this small restaurant seems like a winner.
All Good Things Come to an End
Friend. Best friend. Girlfriend, boyfriend. They all eventually come to an end, but food doesn't. So step in all alone and eat some food, the only thing that won't leave you. It's also the only thing out of this list that will lead to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and higher clothing costs. Of course, if you walked into this depressing restaurant with a few friends, we're sure that the owner will be much happier than just watching as people pass by.
Whoever came up with this sign might need to talk to someone, and stay away from the emotional eating.
Quite the Let-Down
There are some people out there who cannot go a day without getting outside and grooving their way to a healthier body. Those people love their bodies, but everybody needs a day off once in a while. Of course, when a friend invites you to pie and lattes and you end up at a yoga studio, it can be a letdown of epic proportions. Pilates might not burn enough calories to give you the space to splurge, but nothing ever stops you from stopping in for a treat after working hard.
Making it a habit, however, will reverse any calories you burn – remember, abs begin in the kitchen!
Happy Mother's Day!
El Arroyo is back again already with a sign that brings out a nervous laugh to plenty of students young and old. We've all done it before – you're working hard on a math problem, and instead of calling out Mrs. Pike, or Mrs. Kirkcaldy, or Mrs. Ross, you call the woman mom. Poor her.
But at least she can take solace in the fact that they are at least a motherly figure for the kids in her class. This is the kind of sign that El Arroyo hopes will go viral and doesn't actually market much, but at least it's funny.
You'll be Purring Thanks to the Savings
There are plenty of places that have strange stipulations and offers if their guests do this thing or that. This sign takes the kitty cake though since if you work in ten meows while you order, they'll slash a whole ten percent off the price. The drawing is a good one, but it has nothing to do with cats or their meows.
It's little more than a way to draw the eye, attract some customers, and maybe have some fun. We really like the idea of an entire restaurant pretending to be cats, though, so we're sure if the employees didn't get sick of it, it was a fun day to work.
The signs that we've seen so far have gotten people to laugh, think, and save money, but this one seems designed to do little more than cry. Nothing is special inside the store or out, including you. We go about our mundane lives thinking we're destined for great things, but sometimes we just aren't special, just like the sign says.
For regular eaters at...uh...GNTRBT, they know they aren't special, but hopefully, they're at least able to enjoy some good coffee, or bagels, or pad thai, or whatever else GNTRBT offers.
Turning a Bad Review in Good Business
Yelp has been a mixed bag for business all over the world, with good words and bad words spreading at the exact same rate. One Yelp reviewer said that this restaurant had the worst meatball sandwich of his life, and somebody had the bright idea to make the fact into a sign. How bad can a meatball sandwich really be?
Everybody likes a meatball sandwich. What kind of bread do you think they used? What were the other pieces of the sandwich? Most importantly, what kind of meat was it? One way or the other, this sign probably got people talking.
Cheese it, it's the Cops
El Arroyo yet again. They're doing their best to bring in the eyes and ears of the populace with yet another clever sign, this one anthropomorphizing dogs who spot K-9 units on the street. It will make you laugh when you stop in for some of, we assume, El Arroyo's good food, but once again it tells us nothing about the restaurant, its prices, its deals, or what kind of food it sells.
Maybe one of these days we'll see a sign from them that tells us what they're selling or something like that. Or, maybe we'll just see plenty more funny signs that you laugh at online while not eating their food.
Eat Here or Else
Ah yes. The best way to get people to eat at your restaurant: a threat. Money makes the world go 'round, they say, and this sign has cut to the quick of the matter when they say they need the passer-by to stop in and spend some of their money, so they can then turn around and spend that money to buy their own food. The sign is punchy and gets its message across in a mere seven words.
Of course, you can see the problem: You and I know how to make our own food. Just yesterday I made a Greek salad, garlic bread, cacio e pepe, and pineapple upside-down cake.
Just Pick Already
We're going to let you know upfront: you're going to see a lot of El Arroyo signs, so get used to them. This sign focuses on the difficulty that a lot of people have in picking a place to eat, especially couples. But like all of these El Arroyo signs, it gets you thinking.
If you and your beloved can find a place you both like to eat quickly, you can be sure your compatibility score is higher than most. And we have to give El Arroyo credit because at least this sign has to do with restaurants.
A Visual Aid
A lot of times, a restaurant will just have a quick list of what kind of drinks they offer, but this off-the-beaten-path establishment has done something a little different. They took individual pictures of every drink, including classic soft drinks, lemonade, tea, and "strawberry." It might not be all that necessary, but it's certainly going to be a help for those who can't see that well, or who just prefer to point to their drink of choice.
Of course, the big problem is that the "Pepsi," "Diet Pepsi," "Dr. Pepper," "Root Beer," and "Tea" pictures could all be the exact same liquid. Also, the small drink size is a dollar – a far cry from the incredible deal McDonald's offered a little bit ago.
Cheap Pizza is the Best Pizza
Another great sign for this list. It tells us what the restaurant sells, a great deal – for real though, one dollar pizza? That's a steal – and something that is memorable and funny. The Philosoraptor is a classic deep thinker of the internet age, and now here he is wondering why every pizza place doesn't sell pizza at such an affordable cost.
We couldn't agree more. Someone on staff is talented with the chalk and did their best to make the raptor inquisitive and thoughtful. It's another sign that ticks all the boxes and is the kind of thing that makes for an actually good sign.
For the Last Time
In some restaurants, words aren't enough. Especially when the restaurant in question is one that serves ethnic food or is from another country. At this restaurant, things must have gotten pretty bad at one point, because the proprietors had to put a sign asking – begging – people not to flick over the tables.
Whether it's because of Yakuza deals gone wrong, badly-prepared sushi, or just tables that are oh so flippable, it's happened enough that the sign not only has English and Japanese but also a stick figure image, just to make sure the message gets across.
Yeah, the poem is kind of stupid, and it might get a chuckle out of some people, but I doubt a lot of people on the street saw it and decided to stop in. But let's talk about that name. "The Alex Restaurant." Does Alex own the restaurant? Are all the workers named Alex? Are only Alexes allowed to eat there?
We can figure out why they're desperate for customers. Also, steak can be blue? Are you sure about that one? Seems like the quality of the poetry and the food might be similar at "The Alex Restaurant."
Please Just Tell us About the Food
So, there's this famous song called "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-A-Lot, with the lyrics "my anaconda don't want none unless you got buns, hun." El Arroyo decided to spin the words a bit, it's a feeble attempt, but we like that they're trying.
The sign may be a little punny, as long as they're having fun!
Look, Boss, I Followed Orders
Having a good relationship with your superior at work makes working easy, and following orders is part of that give-and-take relationship. However, we wonder if the boss will actually be happy to hear how literally the sign-writer took his order. The sign is meta, here meaning only interesting if you have prior knowledge.
They're good for getting the word out on social media and might get people to remember the sign and thus the restaurant, but like many of these signs, we know nothing about the restaurant, what kind of food they offer, or what the specials are.
Choose Your Opponent
The choice is a classic one: one, single, solitary horse-sized duck? Or 100 duck-sized horses? Are they working as a team? Are the animals aware they're at a different size than they should be? Does the huge duck see you as a big piece of bread? Are the animals in a fight to the death or will they run away?
Most importantly, why can't we settle our differences with conversation rather than violence? Do you have any idea how many people would like to have a duck-sized horse? Heck, I'd be fine with a horse-sized duck. El Arroyo has raised these questions and more.
This One Isn't Even Very Good
Come now, El Arroyo – two signs on one page – this sign isn't your best. It takes a little bit of thinking even to understand what they're talking about, and once you do figure it out, you'll groan and roll your eyes and go across the street to the Taco Bell, because there's no way you're going to reward that sort of creative output.
What does El Arroyo sell? Do they actually cook food? Is it just a bunch of writers who sit around a table and come up with witty – or hopefully witty – signs?
Those Halcyon Days
Back when you could look someone in the eye and not have them look back at their screen. Back when if you were out eating and the phone rang, too bad. Back when a coffee shop was a place for conversation, congregation, and nice, regular black coffee. This enterprising store has brought those days back, and we're buying what they're selling.
1995 is a bit far back – WiFi didn't get started until midway through the two thousand – but perhaps they mean to return to when the internet was just a gleam in a bunch of nerds' eyes.
We Wonder if Chameleons Eat Here
Here's another sign that seems to think that a threat is a good way to bring in the bucks. There are no menus? You'll be served what you deserve? What could they possibly know about me? You don't know me! You don't know what I've done! Or...haven't done!
But the sign is a lie – we're not going to be served what we deserve, we're going to be served what the people working here think we deserve.
Well, That's Good News, I Guess
This is...sort of the bottom of the barrel when it comes to positive reviews, but at least the owner is being honest with us. Of course, we expect the owner to want to eat at where he works – a man or woman must have pride in his or her work, artistic or otherwise. But, we wonder if the approval goes any deeper.
Is the owner happy with the food being served? Does he/she think it could be improved? Is he/she worried about the quality of the food compared to the cost and speed of preparing and serving it? Let's hear more.
Now We're Talking
This is the kind of sign that ticks all the boxes and is interesting to read. First off, we know right away what kind of food this restaurant is selling – meat. Second, we know they're actually interested in advertising their food and advertising it hard. Third, it's got humor in it.
Every ending of this flowchart gives us something punchy, and always pushes the reader to try out the food being offered.
Life has been tough for plenty of people in recent months, but there are still opportunities for a little bit of humor. For one reason or another, this restaurant has decided to take the night off, and let their employees relax a little bit as they hide at home, with fearful eyes peering out from the quivering mass of blankets.
But don't worry, this store will be back open in the morning, ready to sell whatever they can in the burned-out remnants of the store they used to have. Well, if it's a coffee shop, at least Portland has plenty of those.
Just as Full as You Will be at El Arroyo
A Russian doll, sometimes called a Babushka, which is actually the Polish and Russian word for old woman or grandmother, is a common sight in Europe but not as popular here. You open it up, and there's a smaller version of it inside. Keep opening them, and you'll find smaller and smaller versions until you get down to minuscule.
And this oh-so-witty El Arroyo sign brings the yuks by making it seem like the dolls are prideful. It's funny if you know what a Russian doll is, but, yet again, it still doesn't tell us what they're selling at El Arroyo.
The Title of this Sign is "Trying Too Hard"
El Arroyo has put up some zingers, but this one doesn't pass the test. Yeah, the pun is there – the mean of a set of numbers is a synonym for an average – but it's so obvious, any eighth grader can see the punchline coming from a worksheet away.
It will get a laugh from kids who think they're privy to some kind of FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE about math, most people will just roll their eyes and walk past the El Arroyo sign, which we're starting to think is something that happens a lot more than the restaurant would care to admit.
Drawing the Lines
As the sign tells us, there are two kinds of people that live in this world. One kind is the kind that likes bacon. The other kind is the kind that needs to get their priorities in order. Pick up your arms, countrymen, and join us in the fight against the other side! Whichever side that is.
It's hard to see what kind of restaurant has set such a fire into the young people of the world, but we can probably guess what kind of food they serve. If you're thinking of wandering into this business and ordering a salad, please...PLEASE rethink your choices.
Just Eat the Dang Food
Don't take a picture of it. No! Stop! It's for your own good – just look at what might happen. This restaurant is getting tired of people whipping out their phones and snapping pics of their food for Instagram instead of tucking their napkins into their collars and tucking into their warm meals. If the meals cool, they might not be as tasty, and you might not appreciate them as much.
So do the fine people who took your order, prepared your order, and delivered your order a favor, and take a picture of your empty plate instead. It helps you stand out.
How Dare They
El Arroyo is back to their old tricks, putting up letters to make words, and thus construct sentences with those words. Now they're wishing us a "happy whatever doesn't offend you," which is a pretty wishy-washy way to wish someone a happy...day. Of course, all of these El Arroyo signs are built not to even do something for the passerby, but to get them noticed.
To get them trending. They're like...a stamped ticket. You show your friends a picture of the most recent sign, and they know you've been out on the town.
Good News, Bad News, it Doesn't Matter
Sometimes you need a pick-me-up. You've had a long day and you just need to go somewhere that will serve you something fun and help you forget about your problems for a little while. Sometimes you're the fun one, and you want to bring your party presence to others, or you want to celebrate with your friends because of the good news you've just received.
No matter which of the above is true for you, this eatery, bar, or diner will be ready to facilitate your need for your drink of choice, be it celebratory or soothing.
The Sign Knows the Truth
Neon signs have the wonderful habit of malfunctioning in hilarious ways, and like the uneatable KFC meal that we saw at the beginning of this article, this neon sign has done us a solid and created something that is laughable. The only question is: Does this restaurant deserve such a fate?
Is it the kind of place you go once and then swear off after spending a night on the porcelain throne? Or do you see the sign while walking into the restaurant for the second time this week, ready to get your favorite moo goo gai pan, egg rolls, or sushi? Still, it's funny.
No Shoes, No Service
If you're a fan of pulling on some warm socks and then strapping on a pair of sandals, then maybe check to see if the restaurant you're headed out to will even allow it. Also, for Pete's sake, nobody thinks it looks good. If you need warmth just wear shoes, and if you like the feeling of sandals then don't wear socks.
Plus, if you're rocking this fashion faux pa, then some eateries will straight-up bar you from entering, as they should. It's not only the fanciest eateries, too, where you have to have a coat and tie – really, but you also shouldn't be allowed to leave the house.
Just Wait a Minute
Hipsters have single-handedly turned themselves into both a joke and a punchline, and the number of people who refer to themselves as a hipster has dropped off dramatically in recent years – though, in some way, we've all become hipsters, since we're always looking for the new cool thing, and if we adopt the style, activity, or thought first, then we get to hold some kind of superiority.
This simple joke, which tells us at least that the store sells coffee and nothing else, thus making it better than an El Arroyo sign, at the very least, is chuckle-worthy.
The simple, understated egg. Comes out of chickens and lots of other birds. Some signs are simply better simple, and this sign is nothing if not simple. Whether it's omelets, a scramble, or hard-boiled, an egg has lots to offer you. At a mere seventy calories (on average) an egg is a lean protein food that will help you stay full and tastes great.
Remove the yolks for an even heart-healthier meal, but if you don't have a favorite way to eat eggs, don't worry, the egg will find you, the egg will come for you. You cannot escape egg.
Follow the Bacon with Your Eyes
Hypnosis doesn't really work the way it's advertised. You can't trick someone into doing something they don't want to do – it has to be something the subject wants. And what's one of the things people want more than bacon? This salty piece of meat has become one of the most popular breakfast foods around the world.
It's great next to anegg, as well as layered on sandwiches, crumbled on top of salads, and sometimes even incorporated into desserts. So really, no hypnosis needed – we're ready to come in and get some well-cooked bacon one way or the other.
Drinks Make the World Go Round
Do you know what the love languages are? They're the five ways people experience and show love: physical touch, quality time, acts of service, words of encouragement, and giving and receiving gifts. This sign has a clever and quick way to check a couple of those boxes with one simple act: buying a round of drinks.
Of course, there's the buying – that's a gift – there's the time spent sitting and drinking – there's quality time – and doing something for the other person – an act of service if we've ever heard of them. Go on, show your loved one how much you care.
You'll Never be Thirsty Again
You get some real bang for your buck at the golden arches, but this is ridiculous. From a one-dollar hamburger to a one-dollar soft drink of any size – including, according to the sign, a fifty-foot drink – if you're in need of a quick meal and don't have a lot padding your wallet, then McDonald's is the place to go.
Plus, once you're done with that drink, there are lots of uses for such a big drink cup. Collect rainwater, create a DIY swimming pool, or forego renting one of those big dumpsters for your next home improvement project.
This is like the risque, male version of that El Arroyo sign from a little while ago. If you're one of these professions – which are famous for their seductive ways, especially when that lonely wife gets them in her sights – you might have the opportunity to celebrate your first Father's Day.
This sign tells us nothing about what the store sells or what deals there are, but if you walk in there and announce that you were one of those professions (or a pizza delivery man, or a groundskeeper) you might get a cheer and a free drink.
Nothing Krabby About These Patties
Burger King is seen as the younger brother to the king of the fast-food burger store, McDonald's, but there are plenty of people who prefer their food to the Clown Prince of Fries. They've been trying to branch out into humor, and this sign is going to get a chuckle from any of the millions who watched this cartoon show while they were kids.
Or adults, even. Of course, if they are hiring managers and Mr. Squarepants is one of the employees, they might have a hard time finding someone who is willing to manage this establishment – Spongebob is well-known for his hard-to-manage working style.
Quick, Write it Down! We have detail, I repeat, we have detail!
El Arroyo has done something incredible – they've actually given us some sort of information about their restaurant with their sign. It is, of course, part of a stupid joke that they made because they want people to take pictures and get the word out, but we can at least surmise that this Texas restaurant sells Tex-Mex.
The sign is true: no one wants a small taco. But what kind of taco? Chicken? Beef? Are there fish tacos? Maybe a proprietary mixture, with just the right combo of rice, cheese, guacamole, and tomato?
To Serve Man
This is the kind of sign that gets the restaurant trending, but not exactly for the right reason. Of course, the sign wants you to eat there...but what's that they're serving? Ah. Well. Maybe uh... I'm not really into that sort of thing. I mean, certainly, I'm sure they taste good. You wouldn't broadcast that sort of offer without getting the recipes perfect.
Uh, hey officer, could you go in and ask to talk to Jessica? Maybe ask a few questions? Ask about the kids? Yeah, because...yeah. The sign. Of course, that's just the name of the restaurant probably. Probably. Please just be the name.
Not a Secret Anymore
We expect better of you, Wendy's. You say that your burger meat is always fresh, never frozen, but you've just let slip the secret. Wendy, are you sure your name isn't...Jessica (DUN dun DUUUUUUN)? And you're even hiring right now, which means you must be running out of patties.
All jokes aside, this is in somewhat poor taste (despite how good Wendy's food usually tastes), since a famous news story from 2005 revealed a visitor found a finger in her bowl of chili – yet it was revealed this was a hoax, and the visitor herself was arrested. But still, Wendy's, please change the sign.
It Would Have Made it Into the News
The song tells us that everyone was kung fu fighting, but as this El Arroyo sign says, there's no way it was everyone. There would have been mass panic – the fights would have spilled into bars, hockey arenas, and homes of male feminists – places where there are never physical violence!
El Arroyo has taken a stand since they're tired of people overstating just how prevalent the kung fu fighting was. Thanks for raising a good point, El Arroyo, you mysterious leader of the funny signs industry. Maybe one day you will tell us some useful information.
Addiction is a struggle many people have to deal with. This sign-writer has made sure he or she is on the path to recovery by recognizing how important control over your own life is, and how important to the people around you – hang on, I've been handed a note. Let's see...hokey pokey... right-hand in...right hand out...oh.
Oh. Well, come on now, the sign is making light of a very serious situation that a lot of people are struggling with. Hokey Pokey addiction is no laughing matter – hang on I've got another note. Oh.
El Arroyo drip-feeds the masses with little scraps of knowledge about themselves. Now they're telling us that "anything unrelated to elephants is irrelephant." What could it mean? Are the tacos El Arroyo selling made of the other, other, other white meat? Are they part of the illicit ivory trade, or are they part of the destructive and sad elephant-poaching industry?
Oh why hello there, the kindly officer of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, why don't you come this way. Yes, it is a funny sign, but why don't you take a look inside. Look at the wastebaskets – I've heard they turn ivory into wastebaskets.
Now here's an establishment that is dedicated to helping you save money. Bring in your girlfriend for five percent off your order. Nothing shabby about that. Put a ring on it, and suddenly you're getting ten percent off. It doesn't exactly offset the costs of a wedding, but that's okay. Bring both in, and hey, you get the entire meal for free! You may be paying in other ways, but think of all the good Chinese food you'll be able to enjoy.
Of course, when you're double-dumped and living on the street because your wife took everything from you in the divorce, the deal will be off. Still, a free meal. Throw in some drinks, appetizers, and dessert, and you'll end up saving a pretty penny.