Data Doesn’t Lie: Why Every Restaurant Should Consider Digital Signage

Irfan Khan of Skykit takes an in-depth look at the data behind the benefits of digital signage in restaurant settings.

CI Staff

We all know that digital signage and QSR / Fast Casual restaurants are a match made in heaven.

But I like data. And I’m guessing you do too.

I like to know that digital signage actually works in these settings, rather than looking at the digital signage adoption rates and assuming it’s driving revenue for those companies.

Sure, we can look at company case studies (always interesting), but what about third-party reports on the effectiveness?

The thing that gets me is that digital signage has measurable advantages in providing quality customer service and boosting profits.

So here are those stats all in one place.

A quick note: most of the stats and examples in this article will be drawn from quick service and fast-casual restaurants, as these groups been the first branches of the restaurant industry to really adopt digital signage, so the most comprehensive research has already been done about these.

However, many other businesses within the food industry—from cafés to bars to bakeries—can also potentially benefit from using digital signage because digital signage is inherently attention-grabbing.

Before we get into the specifics of the various technologies, let’s talk about some general benefits to employing digital signage in a restaurant setting.

General advantages

Recently, many major food chains are rolling-out digital menus and ordering kiosks.

As of 2011, a survey of 200 industry leaders found that up to 21 percent planned to implement digital-based self-service options in their restaurants in the near future.

It’s also a way to cut down on paper waste such as receipts and disposable paper menus—going green is very modern.

Plus, digital signs offer a sleekness that other options, like beat-up old menus or a scribbled-on chalkboard or a little plastic tray for your customer’s credit card and bill, just can’t. Millennials, especially, expect dynamic, digitally-delivered content.

Digital signs make for happier customers.

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In a QSR or fast-casual setting, speed of service is everything. If a customer feels like they’ve been kept waiting, their satisfaction is bound to drop.

And with customer customizing their orders more often, the average wait time at a QSR increased, perhaps unavoidably, from 203 seconds to 222 seconds between 2014 and 2015. Impatient customers do notice.

However, employing a digital sign to draw customer’s attention and provide entertainment, an estimated wait, or anything like that can decrease perceived wait times by up to 35 percent!

And there’s a clear financial benefit as well. For example, Wendy’s restaurants employing digital signs have seen a sales improvement of 12 to 13 percent over locations that don’t.

To get a better look at all the benefits digital signage can offer, we’re going to take a closer look at specific technologies available to you.

The Specifics

Digital Menus
A digital menu board is often a large screen or grouping of screens located above the cashier or outside at the drive-through. It’s probably the most commonly-seen use of digital signage at restaurants, and with good reason.

Studies show that installing a digital menu board can boost overall sales by 3 to 5 percent, and much higher on specific promoted items. DMBs also drive foot traffic, particularly at locations like malls and airports where they can catch eyes of passers-by: 15 percent of restaurants report an increase in number of customers after installing a digital menu.

Seventy-four percent of customers say that an easy-to-read menu is a top priority. A bright, colorful, well-designed menu can be highly readable, and since it can cycle through multiple screens it can display its information at a larger font size.

And if customers are able to see the options available, especially on a digital sign, they’re more likely to actually purchase them. In fact, of adults who’ve seen a digital sign in the past month, 70 percent have made an unplanned purchase based on the information they received.