By Damon Crowhurst, senior director, Scala Inc.
The last few years have seen tremendous adoption of digital signage in the quick-service restaurant arena. Traditional printed menu boards are slowly being replaced by the high-resolution digital menu boards.
Why use digital menu boards? Here are some of the key benefits:
Clarity of decision making: Digital menu boards provide customers with rich and vibrant displays that are more eye-catching than static menu boards. Also, the digital aspect comes into play when restaurant owners with extensive menus require less wall 'real estate' to display what they serve. This allows customers to be able to see all menu items and make an informed purchase decision, enhancing their experience at the restaurant.
Positive customer experience: Digital menu boards not only give restaurants the flexibility of easy menu changes, but the displays are more visually appealing to customers. QSRs can create a positive brand experience by showcasing nutritional information which is becoming increasingly important in a customer's purchase decision. Having digital menu boards also instills a perception of technology leadership in the minds of today's technology savvy consumer.
Unified brand experience: With mobile and kiosk integration, digital menu boards provide a unified brand experience to the customer. Digital menu boards, mobile websites, and kiosk interfaces can be made to look the same so customers don't feel lost when dealing with the restaurant through different mediums. The seamless integration between these mediums provides consistent messaging across multiple customer touchpoints and the brand doesn't skip a beat with menu and other content changes.
Here are a few tips to gain maximum benefit from this technology:
Start with the basics: With digital menu boards, it's very important to start simple and do it well. Talk to a specialist who has experience in the field before implementing the solution. If your budget allows, it's better to have one high quality screen instead of three low-cost screens with static images. It's better to wait and deliver a high-quality product than cut corners to appear cutting edge without providing value to the customer.
Integration: Digital menu boards need to integrate well with your restaurant's environment. If the displays seem out of place from a customer's standpoint, the user experience suffers. Seamless integration of the new technology into your restaurant can delight the customers and offer a positive experience, which ultimately increases loyalty. Integrating digital menu boards with point of sale data can help the QSR manager.
Quality of your gear: You will be amazed what heat, grease and dust can do to media players, let alone screens in a quick-service environment. Therefore, it's important for restaurants to opt for durable hardware that can survive in these conditions. From a software perspective, QSRs need to select a stable and robust platform which can support multiple screens. The software also needs to provide a user-friendly interface which requires zero to minimal training for the restaurant workers, so they can quickly make any menu changes.
Content strategy: The foundation of a successful digital menu board strategy is quality content. Customer profiles can change dramatically during different dayparts and digital menu boards need to adapt with relevant content. For example, the early morning commuter getting off the train has different needs compared to the college student visiting the store for a late-night snack. Developing different content for each daypart is a good way to start and get maximum benefit out of the technology. Quick-service restaurants need to be mindful of their overall objectives and goals in developing their content strategy for digital menu boards.
Scala Inc. is a global provider of digital signage and advertising management solutions, and offers platforms for content creation, management and distribution in digital signage networks. Scala is headquartered near Philadelphia, and has subsidiaries in Canada, The Netherlands, France, Norway, Germany, Japan and India, as well as more than 500 partners in more than 90 countries. The company drives more than 500,000 screens worldwide.