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Digital signage boosts fast casual customer experience

Jan 13, 2017

Digital signage boosts fast casual customer experience

Digital signage isn't just a pretty display, it's also a tool to boost sales, customer experience and more. Fast casual and quick-serve restaurants are continuing to tap into the many possibilities of digital signage, from localized marketing to loyalty program integration.

Indoor and outdoor benefits

There are multiple benefits from both indoor and outdoor digital deployment. Following are several key elements:

  • Bring the menu board to life with promotions and specials;

  • Remotely update menu boards;

  • Offer service to non English speakers;

  • Reduce wait time;

  • Boost sales by 25 percent with kiosk orders, since users tend to order more add-ons;

  • Remove the need to call counter numbers; and

  • Improve customer engagement with digital tables.

Grant Gustke, regional vice president, The Howard Company, believes restaurants can use "media enhancements such as rotating pictures and videos; customers get to know the brand much better than with static boards. The key is to know your target audience and to have the digital menu board encourage them to take part in the experience."

Outdoor digital signage helps cut down on labor by removing the need to physically update static screens. It also helps improve order accuracy through tools such as clearer images or drive-thru kiosks. Other benefits include:

  • Digital displays tend to boost sales by 20 percent;

  • Ability to integrate mobile ordering;

  • Improved order accuracy; and

  • Presale content loop can engage customers.

Indoor and outdoor requirements

There are unique challenges to both indoor and outdoor environments that need to be addressed before restaurants can deploy digital signage or kiosks. For indoor technology, Amoruso recommends commercial grade displays, which are designed for restaurants. He also recommends that restaurants choose LED displays with HD resolution to grab the user's attention.

He also recommends restaurants select kiosks with large screens and with peripherals that are easy to repair. For touchscreens, restaurants should select capacitive touchscreens for improved accuracy.

For outdoors, restaurants need to make sure they have optically bonded glass to prevent damage from heat and UV rays. Other requirements include:

  • Ability to withstand extreme heats;

  • Visibility in bright sunlight;

  • Fanless cooling technology; and

  • Power-over ethernet.

Key challenges

Restaurants need to keep other challenges in mind as well when deploying digital signage or kiosks. The biggest element for any digital tool is the cost.

Cost of entry can be high depending on the amount of available funds for the menu boards, Gustke said. The easiest way to determine if the cost will be worth it is to do research.

"The key is to do all the upfront research and have a plan in place before you decide to launch a digital platform. Showing a hard ROI is very difficult because it is hard to prove why items increased. Was it the product or was it the menu board?" Gustke said. "The key is to have a clear objective for the digital menu boards. By doing this, the customer would save thousands in the long run and have a more beneficial digital system in place."

Another challenge is to find the right vendor to meet the needs of your restaurant. Amoruso recommends you find one that provides hardware, software and service – all working together on a technology platform to manage the digital devices, software and content.

One final challenge to overcome is reaching all of your customers. Not all customers will be on board with a digital signage makeover.

"Correlating to all demographics is sometimes a challenge. Some customers will embrace the change and others with resist the change," Gustke said. "The challenge is to slowly introduce the new platform, look and ordering process and appease all customers."