About the sponsors
Chapter 1 The potential for digital signage in foodservice
Choosing content management software (CMS)
Chapter 2 The role of digital media in the restaurant
Food can be beautiful
Expert opinion: Digital media and consumers
Chapter 3 Benefiting the consumer
Informing customers of specials
Self-service ordering and tableside media
Entertainment and “wait warping”
Expert opinion: Self-service and tableside media
Chapter 4 Advantages for the restaurant
An added benefit: internal communication
Getting franchisees on board
Chapter 5 The top trends in menu boards
Movement toward digital menu boards
Protecting the investment
Tips and best practices
In my experience covering the digital signage industry, judging digital signage competitions and experiencing the technology firsthand, I have yet to see an industry with more potential to benefit from the technology than foodservice.
Think about it — since food is perishable, there is more turnover in the foodservice industry than just about anywhere else. Sure, taste is everything, but the way the food looks is just as important, both in affecting the buying decision and making customers happy. There are even experts in the foodservice industry known as "food stylists," whose only job is to make sure the dishes look pretty.
But the gustatory appeal of restaurant digital signage is only one benefit the technology can offer. More importantly, it brings a level of efficiency to the industry that is unprecedented. And as anyone in the restaurant business will tell you, it's all about efficiency.
Digital screens in restaurants eliminate the need for changeable menu boards — both light boxes and paper — that require time to change in certain intervals.
Menus that previously became grimy and coated with ketchup and grease are being replaced by dynamic displays that show the food not only in vivid color, but also in action. Steam may rise off of a baked potato, and flames may kiss a burger before it is placed onto a bun.
Then there is the customer experience aspect — restaurant digital signage can go a long way to enhance branding efforts and entertain customers while they are eating or waiting in line.
Of course, there are challenges. The economics of digital signage can be tricky when dealing with franchisees, and the introduction of high-definition screens places a responsibility on the restaurant's marketing department to create compelling content. Don't forget about the hardware issues either. Heat and grease can do a number on a flat screen over time, so plans must be made in advance when it comes to screen placement and type.
But the pros will always outweigh the cons when it comes to replacing menu boards and in-restaurant signage with the digital versions, even though the challenges seem significant. After all, achievements are often more beneficial the harder the challenges are to overcome.
We would like to thank NEC Display Solutions, whose sponsorship of this guide allows us to bring it to you free of charge.