Traditional cardboard menu boards are more often than not in the trash bins of restaurants nowadays. Replacing those are the LEDrestaurant signs that are preferred by customers. Massive restaurant chains such as MC Donald’s and Subway have successfully transformed into digital menu boards, which prove that LED signs are much more popular than ever before.
What we need to think about is that has it come to the point where mass production is possible? Are there any challenges remaining? And if so, how can we overcome them?
According to technical experts, restaurants have come to a stage which is the “turning point” for implementing digital menu boards.Advanced technologies as well as affordability means more and more restaurants are going digital.
According to research, a business that invests in digital menu boards will take approximately 9-18 months to recoup their investment.
It is also visible that when restaurants first invest in LED signs, they gradually go completely digital as they realize the significant benefits of doing so. Some examples include creating tailor made content for suggestive selling as well as efficiently handling and managing menu board content. Furthermore, digital menu boards allow restaurants to create more effective marketing campaigns for a better brand image. For instance restaurants can update menu boards with key specials rather than a static board.
Dealing with logistics is one of the biggest challenges involved in setting up restaurant LED signs. Some LED sign manufacturers offer facilities such as enforcing brand standards as well as configuring various levels of access and control, but these things require some effort during the initial setup stage.
- Pilot tests
Restaurants that are undertaking large LED sign implementations also need to run pilot tests to see if there are any areas that are not functioning well or need to be looked into. For instance, a pilot test will reveal if there are any problems with content management on the managerial side.
- Stick to the basics
On a similar note, experts recommend that is it best if restaurant owners stick to the basics and avoid trying to do too much. By overdoing it, you are probably going to confuse the audience and go against the goals that you are actually trying to achieve. Too much movement in one menu board will distract the audience from the main purpose of the sign.
Attention restaurant owners/managers: be clear and concise to drive sales and customer engagement.
Know your objective
Are you looking at sales uplifts, reduce perceived wait times, or overall better impression? Define clearly what you want to accomplish. There is absolutely no point in deploying a fancy new technology with no clear goal in mind.
Instead of looking at the campaign from a return on investment perspective, look at it from a return on objective viewpoint. Here are some different ways in which restaurants look at digital menu boards.
- Those looking to reduce perceived wait times
Rush hours such as lunch and dinner times can be quite chaotic for customers and employees both. Restaurants can distract customers while they wait with promotional LED displays rather than having them browse through their smartphones. Attention grabbing and engaging content includes:
- Current specials
- Social media posts
Engaging content will ensure the reader comes back to your restaurant for more. Although no one likes to wait too long for their food, agitation can be alleviated with interesting videos and reading material displayed on LED screens.
- Those who want customers to act as secondary advertisers
Social media activists are well aware that people love posting pictures of food.
Encourage guests to do so by displaying your brand’s social media profile information, tagging details and also offering coupons for customers who post your cuisine and tag your company on social media networks. In this case, your customers are forming the best advertising and marketing team for your company.
- Those who make good use of digital menu boards
The best thing a restaurant employee would want is to serve a customer who has made up his mind about what he wants to eat. By adding menu boards to lines, customers can decide what they would like to eat while waiting, so their minds are occupied while in line and once they reach the front of the line, they are ready to order. Even when customers are confused about a couple of items while in line, the menu board content will most likely clear the confusion for them.
- Those who want to spread word about ongoing promotions
Reaching every single person in your targeted audience is almost next to impossible. Make use of your restaurant LED signs to display promotions, new items and special discounts. Add attractive images and videos to engage customers into your content. To make sure you reach a maximum audience, keep changing the content on your screen.
- Those who want to create a company culture
Wondering how digital signage can be used as a way to share company culture amongst customers?
- Display images of your employees, company events, and so on.
- Encourage employees to share their favorite menus and reasons why those are personal favorites.
- Special preparation methods of your cuisine.
- Information regarding your food source and where the ingredients come from.
By sharing interesting tidbits of information like these goes a long way in making your business relatable and very much less like every other restaurant in town.
- Corporate commitment
This is one of the best ways to make sure your restaurant LED sign deployment is successful. If all stakeholders are on the same page, deployment will be a smooth shift. With a buy-in on the corporate side, franchisees have the advantage of being able to get in touch with the firm’s marketing team to come up with the best content for digital menu boards. In fact it is sensible for franchisees to encourage such initiatives with their firm in order to guarantee best returns for their investment.
- Overcome communication problems
An experienced manager of fast food chain Mc Donald’s points out that technology problems are more often than not ‘communication problems’. It is important to make sure your superiors understand the technology and know what to expect from it. If not, there can be trouble. Your LED sign investment campaign has to be communicated to many business owners. You also have to make sure that you have the support of the content managers on your team.
Factual benefit of digital menu boards
- By engaging successfully with your customers, brand loyalty can be created. There are several ways of doing this. One interesting example implemented recently was that of deploying video walls for customers and encouraging them to post selfies of themselves.
In a broader perspective, what you need to do is: deliver meaningful content to your audience.
1 in 5 people make an unplanned purchase after seeing an item displayed on restaurant LED screens.
- Integrate your menu boards with point of sale systems. This way, all menu information can be kept up-to-date and customer complaints about incorrect menus can be avoided.
Both menu boards and point-of-sale should be updated in real-time environments in order to ensure that both systems have the same content.
Gather customer information
This is one final benefit of digital menu boards – gathering critical information regarding customer purchases. With this information, restaurants can directly market to their target customers. For example, restaurants can highlight promotional items as well as direct customer attention towards items that are higher priced.
Where there’s a will, there’s always a way.
Just like with any other task, the task of implementing restaurant LED signs also has its challenges and pitfalls. But where there’s a will, there’s always a way. The benefits of going digital outweigh the challenges. Restaurant owners can strategically find ways to overcome the challenges by clear communication with the management and getting all stakeholders on board with the campaign. In the end, the brand can reap benefits of customer engagement and the ability to gather crucial customer information to help them better market their brand.