Unlike static boards and light boxes which require manual updating and regular replacement, digital menu boards allow QSR operators to easily change dayparts menu items, update prices and add or remove promotional content across an entire network remotely and seamlessly.
This ability to change content at a moment’s notice as well as the potential to improve sales and minimize future costs have made digital menu boards increasingly popular. However maximising the benefits of digital menu boards takes some planning and consideration.
Here are some crucial elements to consider when deploying a digital menu board solution:
Know your objective
One of the first things operators need to consider before investing in digital signage is exactly what it is they hope to achieve.
All too often, businesses invest in a digital menu board system without a clear objective and content strategy in mind and as a result end up using them as a fancy poster board.
With a well thought out content strategy, digital signage has great potential to engage consumers, improve perceived wait times, increase sales uplifts, and improve the overall customer experience.
Don't cut corners to save a few dollars
The worst mistake operators can make when deploying a digital menu-board system is trying to substitute commercial grade devices with cheaper consumer grade versions.
Commercial grade displays and media players come with a 3 year warranty and are hardened to withstand the rigours of a QSR environment including, heat, humidity and 24/7 operation.
The right CMS is crucial to success
Inserting USB drives into the back of screens is awkward & and inefficient even for a single site set-up. Over Across multiple stores it becomes difficult to track and almost impossible to accurately verify compliance.
A good content management system (CMS) allows you to quickly and easily distribute promotional and menu content via a secure web-based portal as required.
A great CMS, will also allow you to monitor the status and performance of your menu boards so that you can quickly address any issues and ensure maximum uptime (device management). To achieve the best possible device management capability, it is important to select digital menu boards and media players that are compatible with your CMS.
Content is king
Whilst one of the appeals of digital signage is its ability to feature animation and full-motion video, like all good design it is best to keep it simple.
A crisp, high quality graphic of a delicious burger with steam wafting up from the bun will be far more enticing to consumers than a screen cluttered with multiple items and flashy animation.
It is also crucial to allowing adequate time between content rotations for the consumer to read and absorb the information being presented to them.
Stress-free installations (that look great) take careful planning
Just attaching a digital display to a wall doesn’t create the aesthetic that will keep customers coming back for more. Nor does it connect the display with your content management team.
It is important that installation of digital menu boards is discussed with the store design and fit-out teams, to ensure seamless visual integration of the digital with the physical.
Access to power and data and cable runs in the right locations are also potential banana-skins that can be avoided with the correct planning.
And finally, close cooperation with the IT department is required to ensure that connectivity is provided to the media player, and that the media player and communication protocols meet the IT security policies of your company.
Be Mr Reliable
Having attractive and easy to understand menus are business-critical in the restaurant business. There are some key steps to take to ensure maximum reliability and uptime of your digital solution so that your customers can order more of your delicious fare.
Firstly, there are practical concerns to consider such as exposure to sunlight, heat, smoke, steam and other potentially damaging factors that need to be considered. Installing the wrong spec displays or players in the wrong position can lead to unreadable or faulty displays and if certain conditions are not met the equipment warranty may not cover repair or replacement.
Secondly, it is imperative to use a CMS that allows high visibility of our equipment status and connectivity and advanced trouble-shooting features to rectify any hardware issues are quickly as possible (see CMS section above). Careful consideration should be given to which operating system will provide you with the best features and compatibility with the optimal hardware and software options, to maximise reliability in your unique set-up. Android, Windows & Chrome all provide access to different features, software options and hardware options. Google’s Chrome OS is very highly regarded for its stability and provides a secure eco-system which brings device management and content management together in a neat package.
Finally, it may be wise to consider keeping back-up hardware on or near site in the case of equipment failure. Even the most reliable gear sometimes requires attention and having a spare media player that can be easily swapped in when needed can save the day when something goes wrong.
To maximise uptime it is important to ensure you use the right grade & mix of equipment, with the right software, and installed in a protected position to provide you with the most reliable solution possible.
Return on Investment
Whilst every digital menu board deployment is unique, industry research indicates that they can result in a sales uplift of as much as 5 percent. With the ability to schedule unique promotional content and adjust margins in real-time digital menu boards allow operators to enjoy improved sales results that are simply not possible with traditional static menu boards or light boxes.
In addition there are also the indirect benefits of customer engagement, lowering perceived wait time, an increase in customer satisfaction and eliminating the costs associated with printing static menu boards and the labour intensive task of updating them every time prices or menu items change.
Consider engaging an expert partner
With so much to consider when making the switch to digital menu boards it is important to choose a digital signage partner that understands the needs of quick service restaurant operators and can provide an affordable solution with best practices advice. If digital menu boards are something that your business is considering please contact DAT Media for further information to help ensure the best possible return on your investment. Equipment manufacturers and distributors tend only to supply to experienced ‘integrators’ such as DAT Media to ensure that the right hardware is specified and all the boxes are ticked to ensure a successful deployment. We are able to provide a complete solution from concept to installation and ongoing management and because we regularly deal with large volume rollouts we can provide it at highly competitive rates.