Five ways to use digital signage effectively at your restaurant or foodservice operation

Digital signage is slowly taking over the restaurant and foodservice industry. Most operators have already made the switch over to digital menu boards, or have plans to in the near future. And it makes sense. Digital boards are a cost-effective way for restaurant owners and operators to instantaneously communicate any message they want to their customers.

Digital menu boards allow you to change what they display throughout the day, easily update your products and prices, and give you the ability to promote your most profitable food and drink items. If you have overstock of one particular menu item, you can change your menu board to push that dish for the day. If you sell out of one item, you can easily remove it from the menu to avoid customer disappointment. Most digital board manufacturers offer built-in templates to make setting up easy and simple.

Apart from using the boards to showcase menus, there are several other ways to utilize digital signage to enhance a customer’s experience at your restaurant operation. Diane Chiasson, FCSI, President of Chiasson Consultants Inc., a restaurant and foodservice consultancy firm in Toronto, offers the following advice:

Place digital signage outside

Typically, we see digital signage outside of restaurants mainly at drive-thrus. However, more and more fast casual restaurants are beginning to place digital menu boards outside to attract foot traffic. It is important that all restaurants post a copy of their menu outside, but the flashing lights and moving images of a digital screen can help to attract additional attention and draw more customers inside.

Place digital signage in the queue

Menu boards are typically placed behind the counter, but can also be very effective if hung along the queue lines. These boards can display promotional items, plug your most profitable items, or give nutritional information about your menu items while customers wait in line. These boards would be the ideal place to upsell.

Place digital signage at the pick-up area

By displaying each customer’s order on screens, there should be absolutely no discrepancy as to exactly what the customer has ordered. All items should be displayed including special requests, prices and taxes. Information for online or telephone orders can also be displayed on this screen. Since customers will naturally want to keep an eye on the screen so that they know when their order is ready, restaurants can take advantage of that opportunity by advertising any other products or services they offer.

Place menu boards in the dining room

Placing flat-screen TVs in the dining room is nothing new, but it is not always advantageous to just broadcast cable news, sports or a show. Inevitably, there might be a commercial that sells your competition. A better idea would be to use the screens to replace table toppers to promote new menu items or add-ons, or entertain via self-made videos about your operation, tips from your chef or paid advertising from local partners. Many digital signage providers will also offer a subscription that incorporates all these ideas to make it easier for you to manage.

Use screens in dining room to entertain

The screens in your dining room can also be used to host events in your operation, like trivia night or karaoke night, or a cooking demonstration with your chef. You can also rent your space to corporations during off-peak hours, and use the screens for presentations.

Train your staff

All the screens in your operation can also be used to train your staff. Before your operation opens, or when your operation closes, immediately switch the screens to display all the duties your staff must accomplish before they start or leave, so that nothing is forgotten.

Author

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping restaurant, foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 30 years. She is recognized as one of the best restaurant consultants in Canada and the U.S. Diane is an industry leader in providing innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or chiasson@chiassonconsultants.com or visit www.chiassonconsultants.com