20-20 insights look into the future of digital signage in the drive-thru
By Kerien Fitzpatrick, co-founder and CTO, HyperActive Technologies
The Year 2020 is five years away, but restaurants won't have to wait that long to get the kind of 20-20 insight they will need to create a more engaging and interactive experience for guests at the drive-thru and curbside.
Dynamic digital displays working with mobile, beacon, point-of-sale and back-of-house technologies and positioned throughout the restaurant exterior will provide dozens of unique branding and marketing opportunities. Guests arriving at the restaurant will be treated to an immediate interactive experience where wait time will feel nonexistent and customer engagement will span the drive-thru or curbside, from drive up to drive away.
Here are a few ways digital signage displays will create a more interactive and engaging outdoor experience:
- Digital displays will recognize that a vehicle has entered the property and identify if the customer needs to view a menu board or if the order was already placed using a mobile app. The display will direct the vehicle to an order point, holding area or payment window.
- Digital signs will greet the customer by name and retrieve any data that the guest has agreed to share, such as their previous order history or loyalty/rewards points.
- While waiting to reach the menu board, guests will view promotions relevant to their taste preferences and menu favorites. A previous salad buyer will be served a promotional video on a new healthy menu option.
- Digital displays will select content that will appeal to the car occupants. A guest with children might view a commercial that features the animated character of a movie tie-in. A guest who has specified an interest in sports might be served content such as a live feed of their favorite sports team playing in real time.
- Social media enthusiasts will view an Instagram photo, Facebook post or a tweet that they uploaded seconds before. Brands can offer immediate incentives or discounts based on these social interactions.
- Customers will be able to use their smartphone to control display options such as "Show me the ingredient list" or "What coupons are available today?"
- Rapidly changing innovations in 3D technology will make that burger or chicken sandwich look even more appealing.
- Digital displays will interact with car technology to allow in-car touchscreens to drive the display and the display to engage with passengers through the vehicle's sound system.
- Sensors will be able to identify the automobile model and display automotive tie-ins from the manufacturer or its competitors.
- Displays will interact with a customer's mobile health apps and make menu, nutrition and calorie recommendations based on health goals or dietary information.
The days of static signage are quickly moving to the rear window, with digital signage out in front providing the best way to stand out in an increasingly competitive world. The ways in which digital signage can be used to create a unique and more interactive customer experience while delivering cost-savings benefits to the brand will be limited only by the restaurant's imagination.
Kerien Fitzpatrick is the co-founder and chief technology officer at HyperActive Technologies and co-founder of Wood Fired Flatbreads LLC. Prior to starting HyperActive, he spent 15 years as a project scientist at The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.