Traditional display signs are considered outmoded these days compared to electronic displays.
It may come as a surprise, but these old-fashioned, static, printed signs end up being quite an investment for the average restaurateur. Hiring a graphic designer, footing the bill for printing costs, and creating a new static sign for every new dish or flavor can really add up. And what if a new item becomes unpopular and you end up pulling it from the menu? All of the costs associated with printing signs for it end up being a big waste of money.
Static, printed signs simply cannot do what digital signage can do, yet despite their limitations, they are far more expensive than electronic displays. If you're still using printed signage at your restaurant, deli, or bar, then this article is for you. It's time to save money, sell more, and avoid the printers altogether, as you take advantage of the following benefits to both your customers and your business.
Read on for the biggest reasons why your restaurant needs digital signage…
Change Menus Easily
Being able to quickly, easily, and artfully change the menu items that are displayed on your restaurant signs is hands-down the greatest money saver when it comes to upgrading to digital signage. By using electronic screens to display meals, beverages, and desserts, there really is no direct cost to swap out one menu item for another. Whether you run a quick-serve-restaurant, fast food chain, or fine-dining establishment, when you can change your displayed menus easily and present different visuals, you'll have a better chance of keeping your patrons engaged. Plus, unlike static, print signs that require a graphic designer and a trip to the printers, you can create your digital display content yourself if the digital signage software you invest in comes with graphic design software templates and a full library of photos and images to choose from.
Shortened Wait Times
Can installing digital screens throughout your restaurant really shorten wait times? It's debatable, but what electronic signage can do for your patrons is improve their perception of how long they've been waiting for their meals. Digital signage offers customers more than a streamlined ordering process. Though being able to see all menu items in-living-color certainly helps patrons to make up their minds faster, digital displays can also be a source of entertainment for your patrons. We'll delve deeper into the entertainment aspect as this article unfolds, but the most important benefit to understand right now is that when your customers have a positive experience at your restaurant, they will be far more inclined to return again than they would be if they have an unmemorable, or worse, negative time at your place.
Social Media Entertainment
Getting into the entertainment factors of digital signage, due to the rotating, split-screen, and even video capabilities of this technology, you can keep your customers engaged while they wait for their order or for their date to return from the bathroom. When your digital signage solution software comes with graphic design add-on software, you can create stunning visuals that capture your patrons' attention. The images you export from the software can also be used for your social media posts, which can pack a powerful branding punch in the minds of consumers. When patrons see the same Instagram and Facebook posts you used online also being used on the digital displays within your restaurant, it helps make your brand memorable. Dedicate some of your screen content to advertising your social media channels and inviting your customers to follow your accounts. You can even invent a catchy hashtag and offer discounts to whoever posts on their own social media using that hashtag while they're in your restaurant. Incentivizing social media engagement can greatly enhance your patrons' dining experience and give them something to talk about with their friends and family.
Static, printed signage is not capable of offering restaurateurs a way to daypart on their in-store signs, much less schedule daypart displays. This feature called "daypart scheduling" is strictly digital. But what is a daypart scheduler and does your restaurant need it? Dayparting is defined by displaying varied screen content at different intervals throughout the day. Instances where dayparting would be beneficial are when QSRs want to display different menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and also when a cocktail bar offers different happy hour drinks depending on the day of the week but always starting at 4pm. Within the software dashboard, the daypart scheduler lets you schedule your digital menus so that they automatically play for pre-determined blocks of time.
The timeline scheduler feature goes hand-in-hand with dayparting, but addresses the actual timeline of your restaurant's promotions. Like dayparting, the purpose of timeline scheduling is to put your displays on autopilot. Within the software dashboard, this tool provides you with a clear, visual representation of your scheduled promotions, advertisements, and other display content to help you plan your signage content weeks, months, and even years in advance. The timeline scheduler offers drag-and-drop and other simple timeline building tools that make scheduling the content for your digital displays easy. By organizing all of your screen content ahead of time, you can greatly reduce the administrative burden of tending to your digital signage daily, yet your patrons will experience fresh digital visuals throughout their stay of dining at your restaurant.
Make your digital signage content even more interactive by including QR codes as part of your images, graphics, and photographs. "QR" stands for "Quick Response", and as restaurant dining transitions towards "touchless technologies", you should be thinking about integrating QR technology into your restaurant's ordering process if you aren't already using it. When displayed menu board items are accompanied by QR codes, your patrons can use their smartphones to read the codes within an app and gain additional information about the items being sold, which will help them make truly informed decisions. The best part about offering QR codes is that once your customers are reviewing menu items within their smartphones, they are only a tap or two away from "sharing" an item of interest on social media, "checking into" your restaurant on Facebook, or otherwise associating themselves with your establishment online in ways that can benefit your business with "free marketing".
Kitchen Digital Signage for Cooks
Displaying digital signage throughout your restaurant benefits your patrons, but did you know that also using digital signage in the kitchen can benefit your cooks and waitstaff? The kitchen environment can become hectic whether you operate a fast food chain or upscale fine dining restaurant. Chefs can't always remember what ingredients are running low and if your waitstaff is still using a pen and paper to take down orders, then sloppy handwriting can really slow things down behind the scenes. By using digital displays as part of your kitchen operations, you can help keep food orders organized as they come in and efficient as dishes go out to tables. This also improves communication between cooks, waitstaff, and restaurant managers who need to relay messages to one another and update orders without having to physically hustle from one end of the floor to the other. When everything is digitally managed, communication between staff becomes faster and clearer.
Your in-restaurant TV screens can enhance the dining experience. Your kitchen displays can improve order fulfillment efficiency. And you can also use digital signage to attract potential customers who are passing by your restaurant if you display street-facing screens and use billboard-style marketing. The sky truly is the limit when it comes to using your street-facing electronic signs to market to consumers. You can display pre-designed ads for your most popular dishes and drinks, or interest potential customers in coming inside for happy hour by displaying 2 for 1 prices. During the summer months, your outdoor signage can double-up with add-on menu options for your outside seating section in addition to attracting pedestrians. Does your restaurant offer a loyalty rewards program? Displaying ads for it on your street-facing screens can offer passersby another incentive to stop inside and inquire with the hostess.
Ads from Business Associates
Have you ever considered entering into a mutually beneficial marketing partnership with other non-competing businesses in your area? When you join collaborative marketing forces with other nearby retailers, fitness centers, pet supply stores, gas stations, and professional businesses such as local attorneys and dentists, you increase the chances of gaining even more patrons and your pre-existing patrons will appreciate your recommendations of other reputable businesses. Any local businesses you partner with should have digital signage within their stores that's as good as your own. Simply provide them with the digital content you would like them to display for your restaurant, and collect from them their store's digital content that you're willing to display at your business. Once you agree upon the frequency of promoting each other in an integrated fashion with your own content at your businesses, you can monitor the increase in new customers and make adjustments accordingly.
Display Nutritional Info
Global, national, state, and city regulations regarding how to display nutritional information at your restaurant are constantly evolving. Depending on the laws established by your local municipalities, you may need to include clearly labeled information about the total calories for all meals and beverages you serve. Your digital signs can handle this. When calorie and nutritional information is displayed with graphics, images, and photos of your menu items, it doesn't have to be gaudy or overpowering. Using the software templates and other graphic design tools, you can easily integrate the required nutritional information on every image. As well as abiding by the laws, properly displaying calorie information will help inform your customers as they order so that they can make the best decisions for their health.
Investing in digital signage at your restaurant will garner great financial returns in both the immediate future and the long run for your business. Displaying electronic signs can benefit your customers, staff, and you, and best of all, digital signage can be a powerful marketing tool when used correctly. In fact, when it comes to the restaurant industry, in-person screen ads generate more customer engagement and patronage than posting ads on Facebook, so definitely don't neglect those street-facing digital signs!
If you're currently shopping around for a full package of digital signage solutions, then consider FTx Digital Signage. Our digital signage solutions include the design software, AdPro, which comes with a full library of photos, images, and industry-specific templates to help you quickly create stunning digital content. The Control Center within our software offers a well-organized dashboard for you to schedule your content using dayparting and timeline scheduling tools so that your restaurant displays stay fresh and visually pleasing to your customers. If you would like to learn more, feel free to Contact Us anytime to Schedule a Demo. The experts at FTx can make sure you kick off the New Year right and have a profitable 2021 at your restaurant!