CO-WRITTEN / PARTNER | Staff Reporter, UK

Drive Thru Digital Menus | Overhyped or Beneficial for the UK QSR Industry?

By Daniel Waldron, Head of Content for Armagard.

Drive Thru Digital Menu Boards are a hotly debated topic across UK restaurant industry forums. In fact, I was reading a recent article published by screen giants, Samsung, which pointed out that most QSR owners in the UK are reluctant to invest in outdoor digital signage because of return on investment (ROI) fears.

The initial cost of Drive Thru Digital Menu Boards is another major concern. However, those restaurant owners who have taken the plunge regarded the installation of outdoor digital menu boards as a wise investment. Those still wrestling with idea say that ‘making their money back’ is the blocker.

The Benefit of Digital Menu Boards for the UK Restaurant Industry

Research carried out by Forrester Consulting Ltd – on behalf of Samsung – revealed that QSRs installing an outdoor digital menu network at the drive thru lane actually experienced significant cost savings and improvements in operational efficiency.

As part of the research, two QSR chains actively using outdoor digital menus at the drive thru, along with 150 stakeholders, were interviewed. The study reported ‘huge benefits, based on the typical five-year operating life of outdoor screens, including a 196 percent ROI, the recouping of their initial investment within 11 months and a 2.5 percent increase in average order value.’

According to Samsung’s research, a pilot drive thru digital signage network resulted in a £1.1 million profit increase, while savings on labour, administration and printing costs exceeded £800,000.

Where hundreds or even thousands of pounds are spent by QSRs on changing or adding food and beverage items to menu posters, incurring print run costs, digital menus can be manually or automatically updated with no extra expense.

Operational Perks of Drive Thru Digital Menu Boards

  • An extra member of staff – Digital Drive Thru Menu Boards enable QSRs to process more orders per hour by speeding up average service times. They help to ease the strain on drive thru staff, improving overall efficiency.
  • Constant changes to UK food laws - After the UK government issued a warning to QSRs to provide the nutritional value of meals, there was a need for fast food joints to upgrade their menus. Digital menu boards allow you to easily display these, eliminating the cost to reprint all your menus & bringing you into compliance with the law.
  • You can upsell new menu items with an eye-catching display. Competition for customer attention is rife & the best way to ‘get eyes on your menu’ is to showcase your food with digital video displays.
  • What better way to whet appetites than with a full HD video presenting steaming hot food from your menu? Mmm…hungry anyone?
  • Digital menu boards are convenient. Tired of endlessly faffing with printed posters, putting them up & taking them down? It’s no fun, is it? Save your business and staff, time.
  • Digital gives you complete control from a central point. This is particularly beneficial if you have multiple restaurants, you can update all menu boards all at once.
  • You can adapt your menu. Do you serve breakfast, lunch & dinner? Make menu changeovers a thing of the past. Control everything digitally to suit the time of day.
  • Improve the customer experience. Digital reduces perceived waiting times, provided you’re displaying engaging content. Satisfy your customers, potentially sell more.
  • Create consistency. From a visual perspective, digital signage displays give you consistency. Displays are timely and up-to-date, whereas static posters take time to erect or simply remain in the storage room.
  • When is a menu not a menu? During an emergency. Turn your menus into an exit guidance system or information board in emergency situations, it could save lives.
  • Entertain. Your digital menus can be used to entertain customers. Throw in a few promotions and tasty looking menu items to drive sales and encourage guests to return.
  • Train. Diversify your digital menu board(s) and use them to train staff, in-house, when out-of-hours.
  • Save the planet & save money. Compared to posters, digital is greener and more cost-effective. See the savings you make when you cut printing, delivery, installation & disposal costs, out of the equation.

Increase Fast Food Sales

The drive thru window generates 70 percent of QSR fast food sales. The addition of digital drive thru menu boards can increase sales by as much as 8 percent. However, industry research shows that just 27.3% of drive-thru facilities have installed digital menus, meaning there is plenty of scope for QSRs to improve sales and profits.

For more information about drive thru digital menu boards, visit www.armagard.co.uk

Looking to install a drive thru digital signage network? Click here.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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