Franchising News

Why Smart Franchises Are Embracing Digital Menu Boards

Written by Tim Morral
Published: 8/20/2014

Experts predict digital signage will reach critical mass in food franchises within three to five years. Here's why.

By now, you've probably seen digital signage starting to appear at some of your favorite fast food hangouts. But according to industry experts, you can expect to see a lot more of them in the months and years ahead, as digital menu boards become standard devices in most franchises restaurants.

Fast Food Digital Menu

A recent Fast Casual report identified several factors that are driving the digital signage trend in food franchising. In addition to the need for improved menu labeling requirements (created by the Affordable Care Act), franchises are discovering that digital menus provide opportunities for promotional strategies, cost savings and the ability to generate dynamic content for younger consumers.

But the most important benefit of digital menu boards may be drive-thru windows. Restaurant operators recognize that approximately 70 percent of store traffic is drive thru. In many cases, it is expected that franchises will be able to augment digital menus with enhanced technologies like facial recognition cameras to generate unique menus based on customer attributes and purchase behaviors.

Although this level of sophistication hasn't been historically important for menu boards or business sign considerations, the world is becoming increasingly digital and personal. Enhanced digital displays give small businesses and franchises a viable way to achieve a level of personalization that was once reserved for large companies.

Additionally, digital signage substantially improves satisfaction levels for fast food customers. Nearly three out of four (74%) of customers report that an easy-to-read menu is their top priority and dynamic digital signage has been shown to reduce customers' perceived wait time by 40 percent.

Most fast food operations report a 3-5% increase in sales after installing digital menu boards and store signage. With costs for dynamic digital signage continuing to come down, industry insiders believe it is only a matter of time before digital menu boards become a standard part of the fast food experience.

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