A new fast casual restaurant in Grand Rapids, Mich., has partnered with a Verizon Wireless retail store next door to also serve up to its customers a combo-meal platter of digital signage.
For Kitchen 67 Brann's Café in Grand Rapids, technology is almost as important as the menu, now that the phone retailer opened a new store concept in an adjacent 3,600-square-foot space accessible from inside the restaurant. In addition to digital menu boards, a digital signage queueing system in the restaurant gives visitors waiting for service at Verizon the flexibility to grab food while keeping their place in line; they're notified via digital screen in the restaurant when it's their turn. Restaurant diners may also venture into the Verizon side to play with smartphones, tablets and other devices while they wait on their food.
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"Verizon Wireless is the ideal neighbor for Kitchen 67," said restaurateur Johnny Brann Jr. "Our tech-forward concept complements Verizon's innovative products and services. The collaborative efforts we are working on will enhance the customer experience for our customers and theirs."
Other technological features of Kitchen 67 include:
- Qi wireless charging spots embedded in tables using technology invented by Amway's Fulton Innovation. The stations work with Verizon's Qi-enabled devices and accessories to wirelessly recharge batteries. Customers may leave their Qi-enabled phones on the table while eating to charge them;
- iTunes digital jukeboxes accessible from Apple iPads located at tables and throughout the restaurant;
- A Pepsi fountain with an interactive projected display;
- Digital signage screens featuring menu specials, Twitter feeds, stock feeds, ads, sports info, etc.;
- LED ceiling panels providing customers a 'mood ring' dining experience that will shift the ambiance by time of day, making every visit a unique experience; and
- Free high-speed wireless Internet access.
"This concept challenges the restaurant industry's status quo with a tech-forward design, but the innovative recipes and exceptional food and service will keep people coming back for more," Brann Jr. said of the $3 million restaurant.
The 4,500-square-foot restaurant employs 45 people and is open seven days a week. It has a 20-seat outdoor patio and a drive-thru window for coffee and call-ahead orders.
If successful — and Brann said he expects nothing less — more locations will pop up in the near future, Brann said.
"The concept was definitely created to be the first, but not the last, of its kind," he said.
(A version of this story originally appeared on DST sister site FastCasual.com.)
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