Retail stores and restaurants have started reopening across the U.S. in recent weeks, and more continue to do so! But that doesn’t necessarily mean the crowds will come back. Social distancing is still largely required and not everyone may be eager to return. However, post-quarantine anxiety can be eased with a bit of effort from businesses.

Guests can feel more comfortable with things like extra hygiene procedures, calming music, and visual cues. Lifesize cardboard cutouts of people can play a big role in helping customers at restaurants feel like they’re not alone or isolated, easing feelings of awkwardness and helping to fill the space made by social distance guidelines.

Empty seating is not inviting to customers.

“Untitled” by Ali from Riyadh : ) is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Why Cardboard Cutouts Are A Solid Strategy

Examples of social distancing with cardboard cutouts abound. In Australia, the restaurant Five Dock Dining stocked its premises with cutouts depicting ordinary visitors. The goal? To make dining feel a bit more like a pre-coronavirus experience. The restaurant paired its realistic cutouts with the sounds of chatter to deliver some semblance of normalcy. This helped the business handle its limitation of just ten guests at a time.

Diners’ willingness to hang out alongside cardboard cutouts is further evidenced by a guest at a Grand Rapids restaurant, who actually brought his own cutout in hopes of feeling less alone. He explained that, although his friends were busy at the time of this excursion, he didn’t let his fears of eating solo prevent him from bringing ‘cardboard Mike.’

Cutout to make customers feel more welcome.

While this particular individual went out of his way to print a cardboard cutout and bring it as a dining companion, not all consumers will show such ingenuity. By actively placing cutouts within premises, businesses can fill a need that many customers may not have realized they possessed. They will appreciate this thoughtfulness and attention to detail.

While cutouts resembling ordinary customers can help to make commercial spaces feel normal, other approaches may also increase comfort among guests. Humor always helps. Guests may appreciate, for example, silly cutouts resembling celebrities or other familiar faces. BigHead cutouts are naturally hilarious, and therefore, a great option for lightening the mood during a difficult time.

Where to Place Lifesize Cutouts

Proper placement is critical as you integrate cardboard mannequins into your location’s decor. In dining establishments, cutouts can be situated at tables or near the bar, where their posture and mannerisms should resemble those of everyday guests.

Full body, female cardboard cutout.

In other retail stores, cutouts can be used almost anywhere — and for a variety of purposes. Figures placed near the entrance can greet customers as they arrive or even communicate information about sales or new products. Other placement options include:

  • Near dressing rooms
  • In checkout lines
  • By merchandise displays
  • Near — or in place of — conventional mannequins

Regardless of location, it’s crucial that cutouts are easily visible to customers. If your goal is ambiance, however, you’ll need to strike a balance between making the cutouts easy to see while also helping them blend in enough to appear natural.

How to Create & Order Life Size Cardboard Cutout People

When to Order

If you’d like to make the most of cardboard cutouts for your business, you’ll want to order sooner than later. Customers who feel comfortable early on are more likely to continue visiting throughout the duration of social distancing — a time in which you may be dependent on repeat business.

Attributes to Consider

While almost any cardboard cutout can lend your store or restaurant positive vibes, strategic selection remains critical. Mannerisms that influence real-world atmosphere extend to cutouts. Smiles, for example, can make any location feel more welcoming. Look for cutouts that reflect your target consumers, including their style, demographics, and general demeanor.

Cardboard cutout of child.

The Order Process

To begin the ordering process, upload digital images on the Cardboard Cutout Standees website. Simply click the ‘upload your photo’ button on the homepage. Our website accepts jpg, pdf, and psd files. These should not exceed 40 MB.

If you lack access to a digital image, scan and upload your preferred photo — ideally in a standard size and at 1,200 pixels per inch. Low-resolution images are not accepted, as they will not produce the quality image needed to create a realistic cutout for your business.

Cutout for use as chair filler.

Once you’ve successfully uploaded an image, select your preferred material for the cutout. There are multiple materials to choose from. These include Bubble-x plastic, which is weatherproof and perfect for outdoor venues and stadiums.

You’re welcome to also add speech bubbles or signs, although these may not be necessary if the primary function of your cutouts involves ambiance. If you decide to include these elements, however, you’ll be prompted to add text at this point.

Complete these steps separately for as many different cutouts as you decide to purchase. While website-based orders are preferred and generally easier to carry out, you can also contact us or fill out our quote form and we will contact you with a quote.  We are able to create quantities of cutouts from 1 to 10,000+.

Welcome Back Guests with Cardboard Cutout Standees

Are you eager to make your shop or restaurant feel more welcoming for guests? Do you want to make your theater or stadium feel a bit less empty?  Life size cardboard cutout people from Cardboard Cutout Standees may do the trick. Contact us today to learn how your business can benefit from the strategic application of realistic cutouts — and to get started with the ordering process.


  • Jason Frank

    Jason Frank is the Co-Founder and Vice President at Cardboard Cutout Standees. After 25 years of selling factory automation he started the company with one of his college roommates. The company has grown to one of the largest providers of large format custom printed products in the United States. Along with the namesake cardboard cutout standees, they also provide BigHeads, Point of Purchase Displays, Wall Murals, and Wall Decals to a diverse client base across the US and Canada. When not focused on the business, you usually find Jason either on the road biking or our in the woods and fields of western Wisconsin.

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