Digital Menu Boards: Now at a Drive-Through Near You

Over the last two weeks, we’ve covered several different aspects of the role of drive through digital menu boards in QSR and quick-service drive-through environments. With a special focus on how digital signage can enhance customer satisfaction while bolstering bottom lines by increasing opportunities for additional revenue. When a single investment holds the potential to enhance customer satisfaction and bolstering bottom lines by increasing opportunities for additional revenue, it’s easy to see why they are being deployed at almost jaw-dropping rates.  In fact, restaurants that implement digital boards at the drive thru generally experience a sales increase averaging between 5-8%. But how do we ensure that’s what happens — that the program is a success?  And what are the pain points that should be addressed before making the leap into such an important investment?

Let’s start with something basic that is nearly always a primary concern of customers coming to RedyRef for help with outdoor menu boards, and that’s durability.  Because let’s be honest, for a long time, digital signage just wasn’t suited for outdoor applications. Sun glare from direct sunlight, frost, dirt, exhaust — you name it.  It was a problem.  However, many of today’s boards have been developed precisely for outdoor use.  Gone are the days when extreme heat and cold, rain, snow or even vandalism could easily take down an expensive piece of equipment.  Now it’s possible to place high-impact digital menu boards in almost any outdoor environment, thanks to massive advances in durability, and realistically expect that this investment will last for many years to come.

The second set of concerns we hear most from customers, after questions regarding durability, has to do with how complicated it is to customize and configure drive-thru digital menu boards for their unique situations. While there was a point in time where it could be rather painful to do much beyond the basics, the rate at which technology has transformed digital signage has been nothing less than spectacular.  This means that tailoring menu boards to our clients’ exact specifications is now easier than ever. Whether we are asked to develop complex pre-selling screens, integrate eye-catching video, or incorporate two-way cameras into a dynamic menu board, it’s truly become a matter of “if you can dream it, we can do it;” almost anything is possible.

While there are clearly challenges to planning and deploying an outdoor digital menu board program for drive-thrus, the process can be much simplified when you partner with an experienced, vertically-integrated manufacturer like RedyRef. Contact us today at (800) 628-3603 today or request a quote online and we’ll be with you every step of the way to ensure that your program meets every one of your business’ unique needs, from indoor digital boards to outdoor, weatherproof dynamic displays.

Drive-Thru Menu Boards are Going Digital

Any player in the QSR space will tell you that, beyond keeping a close eye on margins, the most important factor is customer engagement and satisfaction.  One of the easiest and best ways to ensure that your customers have a terrible experience is service that is both frustrating and slow, especially at the drive thru window.  While there are certainly customers who just don’t feel like parking and dealing with standing in line, there is a larger percentage who choose drive-thru service because of its speed.  Whether they are on their way to work, trying to get kids fed after evening soccer practice, or trying to grab something quick for lunch before the nearly universally-despised 12:30 meeting, the number one reason for using a drive-thru is the ability to get food, and get on your way.

How do outdoor digital menu boards enhance the customer experience at the drive thru? The list of positives is incredible, really.  One example is the ability to curate selection.  A typical, static menu board can only be changed once in blue moon.  Very large QSRs can of course afford to update more often, but even they need to limit these types of changes because the bottom line is that it’s not cheap, and QSR margins are tight. Limiting unnecessary expenses is a huge part of long-term viability in this industry.  With digital menu boards, however, customers are able to visually bypass the clutter and focus in on what they need based on time of day.  Let’s be honest, at 7 a.m., most people aren’t looking for a double cheese burger and fries.  Most restaurants aren’t making them at that hour, anyway. Why show them to the customer, forcing them to spend precious time mentally sorting every, single item sold?

Digital menu boards allow the customization of the available assortment so that what’s shown when a customer pulls up to the ordering area is relevant to time of day, making the process faster for each customer and getting them through the line more quickly overall.  This in turn speeds up the entire experience from start to finish.  There is also research that shows that a smaller, more curated selection helps customers make decisions that leave them more satisfied with their choices over all. Too many options can be confusing and annoying when someone just wants to move through the line and get where they need to be.  Showing customers exactly what they want — coffee in the morning, burgers at noon, snacks at 3 pm, etc. — is key to optimizing sales, satisfaction and ensuring return visits in the future.

While there are clearly challenges to planning and deploying an outdoor digital menu board program for drive-thrus, the process does not need to be as difficult or complicated as it may first seem. The key to success is partnering with an experienced, vertically-integrated manufacturer like RedyRef. Come back next week when we’ll continue this discussion, or, contact us today at (800) 628-3603 today or request a quote online and we’ll be with you every step of the way to ensure that your program meets every one of your business’ unique needs, from indoor digital boards to weatherproof dynamic displays.

The Digital Revolution Hits The Drive Through

Any player in the QSR space will tell you that, beyond keeping a close eye on margins, the most important factor for success is customer engagement and satisfaction.  One of the easiest and best ways to keep customers coming back is to ensure that they leave the restaurant happy, whether they are served inside the restaurant, or in the drive through.  It’s important to note, however, that it’s estimated that as much as 70% of all QSR revenue comes via the latter, and creating an experience at the drive-through window that is, fast, streamlined and frustration-free is the key to customer happiness.  Today, we continue the drive-through digital menu boards discussion and detail additional advantages, as well as what it takes to ensure a successful deployment.

Let’s start with this fact: According to Lyle Bunn, a signage industry consultant and strategy architect, 80% of adults have seen digital signage in the past month, and 70% of them have made an unplanned purchase because of it.  That information alone should be enough to send QSR decision makers out the door and running to us at RedyRef.  But just in case it’s not, let’s quickly break down those numbers. Bunn’s statement means that out of every 80 adults who have seen a digital sign in the last month, 56 have made a purchase because of having seen it. That makes digital signage, including digital menu boards, hugely influential as part of the selling process. And wouldn’t you know, one of the most effective uses of digital signage is at the drive-through for “pre-selling,” a concept first brought to market by Burger King, long before digital menus were even a twinkle in QSRs’ eyes.

What is pre-selling?  And how does it influence customer purchasing?

Preselling is the process of placing signs along the ordering path of the drive-thru that advertise specials or share other information about the menu, including upsells and promotions. It works to influence customers in several ways.  One is that it gives them a focal point, and helps them begin to consider their options before they even get to the menu board, let alone an ordering window. Second is that, believe it or not, it can help lower customer anxiety.  King-Kasey, the firm who brought the concept of pre-selling to BK, found via their research that customers often panicked when asked “Can I take your order?” Pre-selling signs — in BK’s case, yard signs — helped customers make decisions faster and earlier, leading to a quicker ordering process.  These signs also added space for promoting high-margin items or specials, as well for upselling sides, soft drinks or desserts.  

All of the above still holds true today for restaurants using digital pre-selling signage at their drive throughs, whether Starbucks wants to start ramping up excitement over its (in)famous Pumpkin Spice Latte before it even goes on sale, or McDonald’s hopes to appeal to the more health-conscious among us by featuring salads or wraps instead of greasier burger fare.  Pre-selling with digital signage can help sell not just product, but also the restaurant, by changing the way it chooses to present itself to the world. Healthy?  Fun?  Modern?  Youthful?  Digital pre-selling signage can do all of this and more.

While there are clearly challenges to planning and deploying an outdoor digital menu board program for drive-thrus, the process does not need to be as difficult or complicated as it may first seem. The key to success is partnering with an experienced, vertically-integrated manufacturer like RedyRef. Come back next week when we’ll continue this discussion, or, contact us today at (800) 628-3603 today or request a quote online and we’ll be with you every step of the way to ensure that your program meets every one of your business’ unique needs, from indoor digital boards to outdoor, weatherproof dynamic displays.

The Importance of Digital Signage During the Retail Holiday Rush

With the crush of Black Friday behind us, it’s a good time to reflect on ways that digital signage can positively impact brick and mortar retail operations.  These operations have been getting ready for the holidays for 12-18 months, and many are already starting to plan for the NEXT holiday season, so it’s important to start exploring how digital signage may make for better customer and employee experiences now, before many impactful decisions have already been made on how to handle 2017 (and even 2018!).  

First, let’s look at customer experience. With online shopping so attractively easy, getting customer out and shopping in physical store locations only becomes more difficult each holiday season.  There has to be a very good reason to get shoppers out of their pajamas, and out into the cold, and doorbuster sales aren’t always the incentive they need, especially when items aren’t unique or are subjected to MAP pricing. At that point, the big difference will always be how you make the customer feel when they are in the store.  Do employees make them feel appreciated?  Is the experience stress-free and enjoyable?  Does being in-store create some sort of value proposition for the customer, outside of “low, low prices!”?  If the answer isn’t a resounding “YES!” to all of the above, then odds are that the organization has some work to do, and digital signage can play a significant role in changing the retail environment for the better.

Take digital video walls. These are a prime example of a way to create a highly-impactful environmental change at retail.  They both communicate, entertain and even educate. They can tell customers about sales, show product demonstrations that are relevant to the holiday, play videos of Christmas music or reinforce how a brand gives back to the community by playing video of charity events or showcasing good works by employees. All of these things set the tone for how the customer perceives the store and their experience in it.

Digital signage can also be incredibly helpful during the sales process, from the time the customer enters the store, until they exit after checking out. Digital signs that welcome customers at the store entrances and display specials and their locations within the facility close to the entrances can be helpful in getting visitors off to a positive start.  Making these signs touch-screen capable with POS connectivity so that customers can search for desired products within the store and ensure availability is even better.  

Digital signs that provide product information throughout the store can assist both employees and visitors with product education.  Once customer select items to purchase, it’s easy to make a so-far excellent experience go quickly downhill if no one is there to help them at the cashwrap.  Adding sensors to checkout displays that are able to alert employees that customer service is needed extends the positive experience and eliminates the customer’s potential frustration of having to wait for someone to find or see them.  At store exits, displaying digital signage that lets customers know that they are valued, and thanks them for their business lets visitors carry the good feelings generated by their visit out into the world.  This last bit may be one of the most important. In the world where online reviews can make or break a business, it’s imperative that customers leave the store happy. Using the information presented here only increases your business’ odds that visitors will do exactly that.

While digital signage and digital video walls are a not-insignificant investment, they can provide many different opportunities to increase positive consumer engagements at retail, and the process of deploying a program does not need to be as difficult or complicated as it may first seem. The key to success is partnering with an experienced, vertically-integrated digital signage manufacturer like RedyRef. Contact us today at (800) 628-3603 today or request a quote online and we’ll be with you every step of the way to ensure that your digital signage meets every one of your company’s unique needs.