In recent years, the adoption of digital signage at quick-service restaurants (QSRs) has become more widespread, thanks to ROI-boosting benefits like increased productivity and efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and customer satisfaction. While a customer only sees the end result (an eye-catching, interactive menu design) a successful digital signage installation starts long before a cashier says, "Would you like a side of fries with that?" In reality, it begins with a foundation of best practices set by the integrator that guides everything from building a team to communication to project timelines.
Here, Bailiwick team members share the behind-the-scenes secrets that have helped the company build relationships with the largest QSR chains in the world, plus tips for franchisees looking for their ideal digital signage partners.
Establish a solid team. Behind every digital signage project is a solid team of people, each of whom play an important role in ensuring the installation is successful. For Bailiwick, that means a communications team that acts as the first line of defense, responsible for managing all contact between Bailiwick and the client. The project support team handles scheduling, reviewing surveys, and supporting technicians during installations, while the administration team leads the charge on material management, billing, purchase requisitions, and voucher review.
Keep the lines of communication open. Poor communication can be the downfall of any relationship, including in business. That's why heavy communication from the get-go is the go-to strategy whenever Bailiwick starts working with a new client. During weekly client calls, the Bailiwick team gauges how the project is going by asking questions like, "What's the temperature right now? Is there a lot of noise? Are there complaints? Good information? Bad information? What's the feedback?" says program manager Ray Buice. Post-install, a survey asks the client to rate aspects of the project like communication, efficiency, and whether they'd recommend Bailiwick to other franchisees.
Leave the job site better than how you found it. While Bailiwick's expertise is digital signage installations, the team always goes above and beyond to exceed a client's expectations. For example, when one QSR client asked if Bailiwick could also act as a general contractor on an outdoor digital menu board project, the answer was immediately "yes." "We're doing a lot of drive-through reconfiguration," says Tim Bennett, director of digital services. This includes repositioning presale boards and main menu boards, installing canopies, and even adding additional lanes, making Bailiwick a one-stop shop for its clients. "We're cutting off concrete, jack-hammering, pouring new concrete, doing all the trenching. Bailiwick does all of that with our general contracting work."
You never know what challenges may arise during an installation event. With Bailiwick as the GC, we direct the project from end-to-end - which always results in the site delivering a better experience for the end customer.
Minimize the client's downtime. When 70 to 80% of QSR traffic is going through the drive-through, Bennett estimates, minimizing the downtime to complete an installation is key. "Franchisees are always really concerned about downtime," he says. "Through our experience and the way we've been able to put together our construction timelines, we don't take our clients' menu boards down for a long period of time, about an hour or two max."
Stick to the schedule. Project durations will vary depending on the scope and location of the work, of course, but being realistic about the timeline upfront—and sticking to it—increases client satisfaction. "Based on our experience, we can tell the client how long we think it's going to take by area for permit approval and the installation" says Bennett. "Getting it done per the timeline we committed to is one of the biggest factors when it comes to the success of a project."
Bailiwick has found great success following these best practices with its clients. QSRs must do their due diligence to ensure they are partnering with an integrator that meets their needs. Buice offers this advice for those currently in the process of looking for their ideal digital signage partner.
Think about the type of menu board you want. "What are you looking for in a menu board? Some menu boards have mechanical pieces to them where there's a lot more automation, whereas others are just a very basic enclosure. Some enclosures allow for future expansion, others do not. So it's really about doing the research," he says.
Analyze content providers. Content providers are responsible for designing and managing the menu items and pricing that show up on your menu boards, so finding the right one that integrates with your system is crucial for a smooth customer experience.
Pick an experienced partner. This may seem like a no-brainer, but don't hire an integrator who has no experience with your industry, digital signage needs, or location. "Make sure you have a good, experienced partner that can actually deploy the solutions you're looking for, understands your city's permit requirements, and knows how to set up a schedule," says Buice. For example, with outdoor digital menu board projects, "you need to dig, you need a trench. How do you do that in New York in January? You need an experienced partner that knows how to deploy your solutions year-round."
Let Bailiwick show you how digital signage strategies can be adapted to your business model and customer/employee care philosophy. We have the national experience, the technical partnerships, and the 24x7x365 remote monitoring and maintenance capabilities to help guide you along the digital pathway.