Is your quick service restaurant (QSR) leveraging digital signage? If not, you might want to reconsider. According to industry expert Dave Haynes, “limited dine-in may negate the need for digital menu-boards at order counters” and “chains that don’t normally have drive-thru, will.”
The COVID-19 pandemic forced customers to modify their shopping behavior and how they interact with restaurants. Takeout, curbside pickup, drive-thru, and delivery became the go-to methods to support restaurants during the pandemic, and many businesses have since pivoted their business models to better support these methods. This quick shift highlights the need for operational changes and modifications to restaurant business plans in order to survive and accommodate changing customer preferences.Here’s what QSRs need to know about leveraging digital signage to adapt to the changing market.
Related reading, ‘Brand Benefits of Anti-Reflective Glass.’
How Can QSRs Leverage Digital Signage?
Digital signage is exactly what it sounds like – “computerized” signage capable of broadcasting dynamic, attention-getting HD content seamlessly that can easily be altered. There are a number of ways to incorporate digital signage into a quick serve restaurant. A few of these include:
- Indoor/outdoor menu boards
- Drive-thru directional signage
- Designated pick-up or curbside parking zones
- Promotional displays for outdoor eating areas
- Information boards with safety and operations updates
According to QSR Magazine, “research shows that promoting a specific menu item, digitally, above your front counter can increase sales of that item by as much as 38 percent.” Digital signage of a new item, promotion, or other announcement can make a huge difference in whether or not it gets off the ground. Incorporating digital signage into your restaurant also allows you to remain nimble by getting a variety of important messaging out to customers quickly — whether indoors or outdoors.
QSR digital signage is a way to reinforce branding, boost presales at the drive thru, upsell customers and run timely and targeted promotions. In addition to menu item promotion, many restaurants have opted for digital outdoor signage to control traffic flow and communicate enhanced cleaning protocols during the pandemic.
The Psychology Behind Digital Signage
The human eye is naturally drawn to light and movement – an evolutionary phenomenon with roots in our fight or flight response. Adding high-brightness LCD displays to the outside of a QSR is an easy way to capitalize on this aspect of customer psychology.
Digital signage also increases curb appeal, enticing those on foot or in their vehicle to come inside. With digital signage, QSRs can begin marketing at the edge of their property and forgo the hassle and monotony of using the long pole or ladder to change lettering on outdoor signs.
Benefits of Outdoor Digital Signage to Share with Your Channel
- Improved drive-thru efficiency.
With drive-thru becoming an increasingly popular option for consumers, having outdoor digital signage that improves the drive-thru experience is essential. Despite this surge in popularity, some QSRs have struggled to keep up with their customers, leading to long lines and wait times that disrupt nearby businesses and turn away potential customers. Other QSRs have fundamentally changed their building designs to improve the drive-thru experience, but there are simpler solutions to the problem. Using digital signage with anti-reflective glass gives customers a superior view of drive-thru menus and helps keep busy lines moving quickly.
- Cost efficiency.
Outdoor digital QSR signage is the most cost-conscious option over time when compared to traditional static signage. Costs like printing, shipping and installation are typically one-time and not ongoing, whereas changing a digital sign is usually as easy as creating and uploading a new file. Coupled with the declining cost of high-brightness products made possible by further development and advancements in LCD panel technology, outdoor digital signage is the superior option for QSRs.In addition to LCD, our technicians at Tru Vue have expertise using surface mounted diode (SMD) and MicroLED to provide you with LCD alternatives that deliver optimum brilliance and long-lasting illumination.
- Menu flexibility.
Updates to your menu as a result of disruption to the supply chain, reduced foot traffic, or a shift in dining format shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg. Outdoor digital signage gives owners and managers the flexibility to update the menu on a whim and from anywhere with an internet connection. More and more QSRs are also using outdoor digital signage to provide enhanced cleaning protocols and safety information, giving customers peace of mind.
- Easy ordering.
Outdoor QSR signage gives you the ability to provide detailed ingredient and nutritional information for your health-conscious customers or for those with allergies. You also have the option to add images in order to highlight popular menu items or specials for those indecisive patrons. Digital signage also has the option to include estimated order arrival time—allowing you to control the flow of customer orders and set expectations immediately.
- Audience targeting.
From late-night travelers to families, outdoor digital signage can change to meet the preferences of your customer demographic during a given time period. For example, showcasing your fish fry menu option during the Lenten season or rotating between family-style dinner and breakfast menus during different hours of the day.
- Enhanced customer experience.
QSR digital signage is the best medium for displaying your brand and services in outdoor environments. Images and words have increased clarity and brand messaging stands out more prominently, enabling a more informed purchasing decision.
The world continues to turn and while business is not as usual, QSRs can adapt their operations to do more business with the help of increased outdoor digital signage. The fact that car sales have been quickly rebounding after an initial drop at the beginning of the pandemic and road trips are on the rise show that now is the time to take advantage of increasing traffic. QSRs should prepare for a higher volume of curbside and drive-thru sales. While outdoor digital signage isn’t a silver bullet, they can entice and support hungry customers by helping them to make quick and informed decisions about their next meal.
What Does This Mean for Fabricators of Digital Signage?
There will always be a place for in-person dining at restaurants, but there are new norms that will likely stay with us for some time. As a fabricator you can help take businesses into the future and assist with pivoting their operations by providing sophisticated outdoor digital signage.
Consider reaching out for bids in unconventional places that typically do not offer curbside or pick up options. Foster relationships with small-midsize business owners beginning with those in your local area. Can you scale offerings to solve some immediate pain points? Can you provide a standard menu board size that can be purchased right off the shelf?
Tru Vue’s Commitment to Excellence
With expertise across various glass and acrylic markets, connect with us to see how Tru Vue can bring value to your anti-reflective glass projects. Or read our recent blog post, “2022 Buyers Guide: Vista® Technical Glass, Anti-Reflective Glass & Best Use Cases” for more information.
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This article is intended for educational purposes only and does not replace independent professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) individually and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinion or position of Tru Vue or its employees. Tru Vue does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented.