Digital signage and menu boards are redefining customer experiences, and, amid COVID-19, are helping to drive sales. In general, 80% of brands that use digital signage record a substantial increase in sales, up to 33%, with a greater appeal toward impulse purchases as opposed to planned purchases.
Today’s restaurants are challenged to entice, engage and inform their guests while also maintaining safe social distancing. Digital signage provides another connection point to guests and can help deliver great service.
Profitability and Customer Loyalty
Restaurants are getting personal with their digital menu boards and using mobile loyalty apps and AI-driven suggestion selling to drive sales and brand loyalty. Much like Amazon when you make a purchase, or Netflix after you watch a show, restaurants are now offering menu suggestions via digital menu boards based on your last order and other personal preferences. For instance, if a guest is part of a restaurant’s loyalty program, the menu board can do things like show that person’s favorite menu items and similar high-margin items, side dishes or desserts that could potentially increase share of the consumer’s wallet.
Consumers now routinely expect dynamic, digital content. In fact, 29.5% of restaurant customers say digital menus are more likely to influence their purchase of a product and 74% of customers in restaurants say an effective menu display is their top priority. These dynamic signs allow operators to clearly communicate with customers – increasing loyalty and profitability. With this technology, restaurants can seamlessly transition from breakfast to lunch to dinner, introduce a promotion in real-time, remove a menu item that is sold out or promote 15% off ice cream on a summer day.
More Affordable Signage
As large brands introduce digital menu boards, consumers are being conditioned away from a static experience to a more interactive one. More restaurants – not just major QSR chains – can implement this technology.
- Even before the pandemic, more than half of respondents to Hospitality Technology’s 2020 Restaurant Technology Study were planning action on digital signage: 27% planned an upgrade, 5% were changing suppliers and 20% were adding digital signage for the first time.
Hardware costs have dropped to historic lows and more restaurants have moved their POS and back of house technology to the cloud, enabling easier integration with digital signage solutions.
What Your Restaurant Needs
It is important to select the right digital signage system for your restaurant’s unique goals. The first step to leveraging the full potential of digital signage is developing an understanding of what it is, how it works and what benefits it can offer you. Before working with a vendor, be sure you can answer these four questions:
- Where would you like to install the digital signage hardware? Indoor or outdoor?
- What type of content do you want to display and what specific file types you plan to display (i.e. video, menu photography, etc.)
- Would you current POS/tech stack integrate easily with digital signage technology?
- What is your budget?
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but this should help you organize your thoughts and set your restaurant up for digital signage success. As you compare vendors, it is important to also consider equipment that may be needed, such as:
- LED and LCD display systems that display the content to restaurant guests on a screen;
- Mounting equipment to install your digital signage and position it strategically;
- Cloud-based software or software-as-a-service to manage digital signage media at one or multiple locations.
Digitally Moving Forward
Digital signage is a key player in the future of on-premise promotion and communication to deliver the right information at the right time and at the right place to boost brand loyalty and keep guests coming back. Restaurant operators can increase efficiency, improve customer experience, and expand profitability by upping their digital menu game to more future-forward technological solutions.
About the Author:
Rakesh Patel is Executive Director of Product Management at NCR Hospitality.