Digital signage menu boards are quickly making inroads as the new menu board technology of choice for fast casual and quick-service restaurants in the U.S.
A recent webinar by DST sister site FastCasual.com, sponsored by Philips Signage Solutions, took a closer look at the growth of digital menu boards and their value in the foodservice industry.
The webinar, "What are you waiting for? Digital Menu Boards are here!" featured a presentation from industry experts in the digital signage and the foodservice sectors — Craig Rathbun, the North American managing director for Philips Signage Solutions; Lyle Bunn, principal at Bunn Co. and a mainstay of the digital signage industry; and James Lux, the vice president of information technology for fast casual burrito chain boloco.
Rathbun got things rolling by giving a bigger-picture overview of digital signage and its fit in various vertical industries, from transportation to retail to food.
"I think it's apparent to everyone digital is pretty much everywhere you look in your world," Rathbun said, adding that someone would just about "have to live in a cave" to not come into contact with digital signage in their everyday lives.
"I know we like to think of digital menu board as a replacement for static, but they really do so much more than that," Rathbun said, offering a list of additional benefits the technology provides to restaurants:
- Entertaining customers
- Motivating repeat customers
- Building brands
- Enhancing productivity
- Creating revenue
- Promoting experimentation
"We're hoping you don't look at a digital menu board merely as a space for line items and price points, but you see it as a digital canvas where you're going to engage your customers and entertain them and really change the atmosphere and ambiance of your stores," Rathbun said.
Bunn then spoke to put digital signage and digital menu boards into context in the multibillion North American foodservices arena — and talked about why the dynamic nature of the medium is so effective for restaurants.
Humans' brains are hardwired to notice motion, and to "de-select" visuals that aren't relevant, and human emotions are involuntary, he said. So visuals that put people in a good mood that are relevant to their location and intention will be effective in achieving a goal.
All of that underpins the business value of digital menu boards and digital promotion boards in foodservice outlets, he said. Digital signage improves the restaurant environment, increases revenue and reduces costs, he said.
Using the ubiquitous Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons as an example, Bunn said a case study showed an increase in the average ticket at a pilot Tim Hortons location from $1.61 to $1.86 with a digital promotion board installed.
Generally, Bunn said, most restaurants will see a 4-percent to 50-percent revenue increase on items promoted via digital signage, along with a significant reduction in customers' perceived wait times.
Lux, whose chain, boloco, has used digital extensively, said his company views in-restaurant digital signage as a platform for engaging with customers — agreeing with Rathbun that digital menu boards are more than just a place to show the menu.
"It should be more than a means to list our food items," he said, before going over a variety of ways boloco uses in-store digital signage, from interactive games to live Twitter feeds. "You just can't do these things with a paper laminate."
During the question-and-answer segment following the presentation, the panelists answered questions from the webinar audience. Questions ranged from asking who creates the content on the boards to where to find the people to create that content, and a look at the benefits of integrating social media into digital signage.
(To get a more in-depth look at the webinar, download the free, on-demand version of the live event by going here.)
Learn more about digital menu boards.