Digital Menu Boards — The Future is Now
We’ve covered a number of areas concerning the implementation of digital menu boards in QSR and Fast Casual dining environments over the last few weeks. Something we’ve neglected to cover, though, is that much like self-driving cars, no matter how hard it may be to accept they are the future, they are, in fact, an inevitability, with digital expected to become the norm within three to five years. Almost any expert would agree that static menu boards are on the way out, and the future is already here. Digital menu boards are here to stay.
That being said, we’re witnessing an interesting trend when customers begin to consider upgrading from a traditional static board, and that’s requests for combination boards. It’s a reasonable request in a way, and probably feels to them like “dipping a toe” into the digital waters, rather than diving in like an Olympic medalist. However, the instinct to look for a hybrid, or in-between solution, while natural, is unlikely to be the best solution for any business, and there are multiple reasons why that’s true. One is that most of the cutting-edge technologies that make digital menu boards so useful are not available for integration into a hybrid board. Another is that, while it may be easier now, combination boards to not allow for the flexibility that a pure digital board does. It’s incredibly important to remember that a business’ needs in 2016 are likely to change dramatically by 2020, given the speed at which technology changes and improves. Why delay the inevitable by making a sizable investment in combination menu boards now, only to have to update them again in five years? The tight margins of the food service industry simply do not allow for that kind of unnecessary expenditure; taking the plunge into a fully digital menu board solution makes the most sense, financially and otherwise.
Opportunity costs are another factor to consider when weighing the pros and cons of an upgrade to digital from static boards. In other words, how many opportunities may potentially be missed in several different areas. This includes during the wait for new static menu boards to be updated and created regularly, but it also alludes to the missed chances to generate revenue via digital boards that stems from their incredible flexibility and the multiple available integrations, from tracking inventory to changing specials on the fly when an item or ingredient surplus occurs. Finally, digital menu boards offer many more ways than static boards to engage or connect with customers while they wait, ultimately enhancing their experience by reducing the perception of wait times during peak times and generating more opportunities to up- or cross-sell.
While there are clearly challenges to planning and deploying a new digital menu board program, the process does not need to be as difficult or complicated as it may first seem. The key to success is partnering with an experienced, vertically-integrated manufacturer like RedyRef. Contact us today at (800) 628-3603 today or request a quote online and we’ll be with you every step of the way to ensure that your program meets every one of your business’ unique needs, from digital boards to dynamic displays.