Food for Thought: How Digital Menu Boards Are a Real "Combo Deal" for IT & Marketing

Posted by Bobbie Cummins on Aug 14, 2018 7:26:17 AM

Quick service restaurants revolutionized the American dining out experience with the introduction of White Castle in 1921 (pictured above, from White Castle). Technology didn’t move as fast then as it does now in the QSR space. We’ve come a long way from the two-way speaker box used in the drive-thru of In-N-Out Burger in 1948!


Today, digital menu boards, ordering kiosks, and apps where customers can track an order for pickup, show technology is moving quickly in how QSR’s are transforming the customer experience.

Front and center in investing in new technology is the promise of appearing more modern to today's connected customers. Increasing profit potential by reducing costs and throughput time is another bonus. The possibilities that implementing technology like digital signage brings from a marketing perspective is perhaps one of the lesser discussed benefits, but it can provide for excellent business partnership opportunities.

Burkhart, a brand strategy agency based in Indianapolis whose client list includes Arby's, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Fresh to Order, touts marketing benefits for the modern quick service environment derived from the installation of digital menu boards including: minimizing perceived wait times, the ability to run time-sensitive ads, the opportunity to refresh signage at a reduced cost to the business, and the opportunity to create interactive experiences with customers.

"Driven by demand, opportunity and the dropping cost of digital screens, it's an increasingly popular option for franchise owners," the agency wrote in a May 2017 blog post.

Recognizable quick service chains like McDonald's and Subway have recently traded in traditional print menus for digital menu boards. Making changes like this allows for more flexibility in menu changes, promotional strategies, and improved content.

For example, these organizations run breakfast ads early in the day; dinner ads later in the day. There is also the ability to run local content tied to events, sports teams, and more. Menu board space can also feature customer engagement from social media channels like Instagram and Twitter.

To fully take advantage of digital capabilities, a true partnership is needed across the organization. According to Deloitte's 2017 Restaurant of the Future report, it is important that "digital strategy doesn't happen in a vacuum." The consulting company advises that business functions like IT and marketing collaborate at a higher level and include field partners as well.

"More than ever, marketing needs to be connected to menu development, supply chain, suppliers, store operations, employee training, research and analytics—a restaurant executive team needs to become an insights-driven organization that collaborates to delight the customer," the report said.

During implementation, communication is key. Take it from Rick Cook, senior manager of U.S. IT restaurant solutions at McDonald's, who told Digital Signage Today in a 2017 interview, that most problems that arise with new technologies are really "communication problems."

"You have to communicate to thousands of business owners," he said referring to its network of franchisees. "You have to make sure the content managers are on board with the message."

With successful implementation comes endless opportunity to engage with customers, promote brand loyalty, and utilize data collection to create successful marketing campaigns that drive business goals.

Whatever direction the new frontier of restaurants takes you, Bailiwick knows upgrading technology can help you differentiate your restaurant and reach desired business goals in the areas of profit, growth, and engaging your customers. Bailiwick specializes in working with quick-service and fast-casual restaurants in the design and deployment of IT solutions, including digital menu boards and touch-screen ordering technology, customized to help you meet your business goals.

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Tags: IT Upgrades, Fast Casual, Restaurant, QSR, Digital Menu Boards, Digital

"Technology is great … when it works.": How an Old Adage Highlights the Importance of IT Maintenance

Posted by Bobbie Cummins on Jul 30, 2018 11:16:42 AM

Maintenance. It's something every IT department must own, but when is the last time you thought about your maintenance strategies? It often falls prey to, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” New system launches, new technology deployments or enhancements, or emergency situations tend to take precedence over digging into maintenance plans. And while these matters compete for an IT professional's time, focusing on a comprehensive maintenance plan can you help you maximize the return on investment into company equipment, eliminate headaches for your sites, as well as drive cost savings potential. Perhaps it’s time to ask if maintenance is broken.

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Tags: Restaurant, Technology, Total Site Care, Digital, Retail, IT Maintenance, Omnichannel

One Size Doesn't Fit All: It’s true for jeans AND your IT maintenance program.

Posted by Bobbie Cummins on Jul 18, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Leading companies and consulting firms agree that we are officially living in the "Age of the Customer." Everyone from legacy brands to startup companies are working tirelessly to deliver on customer expectations of seamless experiences in this ever-changing digital environment, all the while, looking to engage the customer more than ever with their brand. With time being a commodity, personalization serves as the force that engages customers quickly.

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Tags: Integration, Millennials, Technology, Total Site Care

Order Up: How Digital Ordering is Driving Increased Throughput & Profitability

Posted by Bobbie Cummins on May 14, 2018 9:55:40 AM

The allure of new technology is often reported in the context of attracting younger customers or keeping up with trends, but one of the best business cases for implementing new digital technology in the quick service restaurant space is the ability to increase throughput and drive profitability.

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Tags: IT Infrastructure, Fast Casual, Technology, QSR, Digital Menu Boards

The "Avocado Toast" Customer: Millennials and Gen Z Raise Expectations on the Quick-Service Dining Experience

Posted by Bobbie Cummins on Apr 4, 2018 8:17:48 AM

Hardly a day goes by without an article detailing how Millennials and Gen Z are impacting a particular industry. Younger generations are driving change in everything from workplace benefits to eating habits. Looking beyond the headlines around work/life balance and avocado toast, Millennials alone account for more than $65 billion of spending each year and influence upward of $1 trillion in totally consumer spending.

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Tags: Fast Casual, Restaurant, Millennials, Technology, QSR