Contributors: Bobbie Cummins, Ray Buice, Tim Bennett
September 20, 2021Contact Us
Imagine walking into your favorite fast-food restaurant. Perhaps you make your way to a self-service ordering kiosk, or maybe you belly up to the counter to strike up a conversation with the cashier. There, you scan a barcode on your phone, instantly pulling up your previous orders and menu item suggestions. The cashier can see your name and charge your card without you even having to pull the plastic out of your wallet. Sounds convenient, right?
What used to be a futuristic tech dream is now reality as companies like Bailiwick partner with quick-serve restaurants (QSRs) to reimagine indoor digital signage and menu boards, personalizing and elevating the consumer experience while paying dividends for the QSRs.
For Bailiwick, the digital signage projects started in 2015, when they were tapped to refresh the indoor signage for one of the world's largest QSR chains. A relationship six years in the making, this QSR was ready to digitize its static indoor menu boards, in hopes the upgrade would increase promotions of menu items and provide more unified branding.
"This client was ahead of the curve when it came to digital signage," says Ray Buice, program manager at Bailiwick.
Over the course of nine months, the Bailiwick team upgraded the indoor digital menu boards (IDMB) at 3,700 sites, creating a system that paid for itself in a matter of months! In the 2016 annual report from the QSR, a year after it partnered with Bailiwick on IDMB, it noted same-store sales increases of 3 to 5 percent—a return-on-investment to write home about.
"The success that we had with that QSR really paved the way for the success that we've found over the last couple of years with other clients," says Buice.
When it comes to indoor digital signage, upgrades can be made on both sides of the counter. From a consumer's perspective, this could look like menu boards that display "a mixture of promotional, informational, and entertainment content," and interactive kiosks that feature product information and customization options, according to QSR Magazine.
For the QSR employees, on the other hand, everything from recipes to sanitation procedures to safety instructions can be digitized. Even once-standard window clings are getting a digital makeover, expanding a QSR's messaging options.
Employee-facing digital signage is especially crucial for a new brand of QSRs gaining in popularity, thanks in part to the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the shutdown of indoor dining spaces. Known as "ghost kitchens," these professional food preparation and cooking facilities are used to prepare delivery-only meals. Translation: There's no counter service and no sit-down option.
"Technology is the backbone of ghost kitchens, operating behind the scenes and providing real-time information needed to cook meals in the correct order, include requested condiments, and coordinate with delivery drivers so promised delivery times are met," says QSR Magazine. "Restaurants will need an integrated technology system to smoothly transition customer orders and provide the ability to track them. This is crucial because technology is responsible for the customer experience and enables them to provide feedback to improve the entire delivery process."
Enter: indoor digital signage.
Technology is even influencing QSR floorplans and layouts in new builds and remodels. QSR chain Checkers and Rally's, for example, discovered its employees were walking an unnecessary 1.5 miles every hour after conducting a time and motion study. By bringing in new equipment and putting it in the right place, that extra walking distance has been cut down, food prep time has been reduced, and there's more room for menu innovation. These "Fit Kitchens," as Checkers and Rally's calls them, are another demonstration of implementing technology - digital signage and kitchen display systems — to improve efficiency, to the benefit of both the QSR and its consumers.
While attention-grabbing, wow-worthy graphics are a big plus of indoor digital signage, that's not the only reason QSRs should upgrade menu boards and kitchen display systems. "In the past decade, digital signage has evolved from an aesthetically pleasing replacement for static menu boards into a dynamic marketing tool that helps gather data and achieve larger check sizes," says QSR Magazine. "Never has that been more valuable to quick-service brands than now."
Here are just some of the benefits to consider:
To boil it down, indoor digital signage "is all about the customer interaction, loyalty, and the ability to increase the average ticket with marketing," says Bailiwick Director of Digital Services Tim Bennett. Profit plus customer satisfaction? Sounds like a winning combination, and indoor digital signage can help get you there.
While this article is specific to digital signage in QSRs, the benefits of a digital signage strategy reach multiple industries. It is, after all, a communications strategy. Take retail, for instance. Retailers are embracing smarter technologies that deliver additional value for customers in the form of interactivity and entertainment.
Digital signage is driving informative internal communications for logistics, manufacturing, and office building environments. If you’re considering amping up your informational communications, interactivity, and entertainment for customers and employees, contact Bailiwick to discuss if digital signage is the right solution for your needs.