3 key digital signage lessons for restaurants
Digital Signage Today has on numerous occasions covered digital signage in the fast casual and quick serve restaurant industries. More restaurants than ever are embracing technologies ranging from kiosks to menu boards. During my time chatting with companies in the field, I have learned a number of key lessons to help make digital signage successful in restaurants. They relate to communication, the environment and the logistics.
A tool is only as useful as the one holding it, and that is certainly true for digital signage. At times, managers may not understand the proper way to use a CMS of a menu board, thus they wind up with issues such as unavailable items staying on the board for a long time. Or to use another example, the corporate office expects all restaurants to run a certain promotion, but a few managers miss the memo. The only way to solve this issue is with proper communication.
"Technology challenges are generally communication challenges," Rich Cook, senior manager of U.S. IT solutions, McDonald's said in a past story. If the communication isn't clear from corporate all the way down to the part time employee, you will run into problems.
An easy way to fix this issue, according to Cook, would be to only communicate what they need to know as far as the technology goes. So, if you are running a national campaign, set up your system to run that automatically without manager input. For local specials, teach the manager how to use the CMS to have those ready to go. This way you avoid flooding managers with too much information.
You need to consider the environment carefully. If you have an indoor menu board, you need to be able to make it sturdy to withstand all the dust and grease. If you are using an outdoor menu board, you need to doubly prepare for the elements.
There are a variety of ways to weatherproof your investment. For example, you should consider using anti glare and anti-reflective glass to make sure customers can see during bright sunlight. You can also invest in AC units to keep it cool on hot days.
You can also take advantage of the crazy weather to sell key items. For example, let's say you have an unusually hot day in the fall or a cold day in the spring. You can update your menu boards to promote cold or hot items that wouldn't sell during normal weather.
Perhaps the biggest problem everyone runs into is the most boring one: the logistics. This breaks down into a variety of issues such as finding the right provider, deploying it to all your locations and handling errors.
So, how do you make it less painful? To take a lesson out of IT, you run a lot of tests under stressful circumstances. So, when you run a pilot test, make sure to run it in your worst locations to see what types of things would go wrong with the system. You can also gradually streamline the deployment process through trial and error to make it quicker and easier for your eventual big deployment.
On the provider side of things, try to find one that will stick with you to the end.
Image via Istock.com.
Bradley Cooper is a Technology Editor for DigitalSignageToday.com. His background is in information technology, advertising, and writing.www