Transforming the customer experience in quick-service restaurants with digital signage

Studies show digital menus move drive-thru customers along faster. The vivid images on a screen help people choose and place their orders more quickly.

Studies show digital menus move drive-thru customers along faster. The vivid images on a screen help people choose and place their orders more quickly.

One of the fastest-growing markets for digital signage is the quick-service restaurant (QSR) industry, where customer-facing dynamic menus, touch-screen kiosks, drive-thru boards, window displays, and infotainment screens can all communicate with back-office software for managing inventory, finances, scheduling, and labour, so as to enable on-the-fly updates and richer data collection.

Not since the computerized point-of-sale (POS) system started replacing the cash register in the 1970s has there been a significant change in how orders are taken, processed, and served.

Indoor displays

One of the advantages of digital signage is the technology’s ability to unify a QSR’s in-store graphics through a single platform, for more seamless operations. High-definition liquid crystal displays (LCDs) have proven ideal for a range of digital menu boards and infotainment screens.

Touch-screen kiosks, such as those in McDonald’s Canada restaurants, require an intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) to enable customers to browse through product categories and options for customizing  their meals.

Touch-screen kiosks, such as those in McDonald’s Canada restaurants, require an intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) to enable customers to browse through product categories and options for customizing their meals.

The benefit of linking digital menu boards to POS systems is the opportunity to update the displayed food items throughout the day for different mealtimes and to remove or minimize them when there are shortages. Besides, they are also a great way to promote limited-time offers.

Studies show items promoted on indoor digital menu boards experience an average sales lift of three to five per cent.

Another digital signage technology that can prove useful is projection, which can work with special films to transform a QSR’s windows into dynamic screens, visible from outside. For this type of application, a digital projector—usually ceiling-mounted—throws the images onto an ultra-thin, semi-transparent window film.

Some shop windows even integrate a high-contrast light-control film between two sheets of glass, which changes to rear-projection screen mode with the application of voltage. Multiple adjacent windows can form a video wall.

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