Archive for September, 2011
In Part 1 we talked about The “I Want To Hit You In The Face” Effect and how you can increase your revenue with digital signage menu boards.
Part 2 touched on the patron’s Time To Choose, or TTC. TTC is important to the food provider and digital signage menu boards can assist the speed of service resulting in accomplishing the food provider’s many objectives.
In Part 3 we covered cutting costs. We also discussed how adding digital signage when a renovation is needed can give the patron the illusion that they’re in a fresher environment.
In Part 4 we will consider reducing the time it takes to update menus and how digital menu boards can help.
This time, we will discuss store image, corporate vision and how it all relates to the customers experience.
Store image is important to the QSR on the corporate level. Jobs have been lost for ad campaigns gone bad and big promotions for ad campaigns that were a big hit. Advertising gets people into the restaurants but then what? Generally you don’t want to walk into a QSR that has dirty bathrooms, food and grime all over the floors and the wafting smell of grease from the frier in the air.
To have a better experience, QSRs have performed renovations including brand new store design. This provides a fresh feel, but what about the FULL experience? The successful QSR thinks of everything, most importantly, the customer.
Here is a point from an online article that I found particularly interesting. The full article can be found here: (http://www.qsrmagazine.com/denise-lee-yohn/give-your-customers-break)
“Nowadays it seems most people relate to quick serves on a merely functional basis—get in, get your food, get out. And if we’re really honest, quick serves view customers the same way. We focus on getting more cars through the drive thru, processing transactions as quickly as possible, and increasing margins.
Customers just want to save a buck and operators just want to make one. Lost is the sense that quick serves would try to make a visit to one of their restaurants the highlight of a customer’s day.”
What would it take to make a visit to a QSR the highlight of your day? Keep in mind, that usually the highlight of one’s day is spending the evening with the family, taking a walk in the park and seeing an animal do something funny. Even witnessing a minor car crash could be the highlight of someone’s day, but usually, going to the corner QSR for a burger will not fit that criteria.
No paper or stickers on the main entrance door, floors are clean, staff is polite and well dressed. Trash cans are emptied regularly, tables are clean, staff behind the counter are busy and quiet, there are workers with smiles waiting at the register to take your order and are very polite, you look at the menus to see what you would like and it’s surprisingly easy to find your meal, a line is forming but there is nothing to hold you up. Your decision is made and you order. You see the digital menu change, and there is a beautiful dessert so for the sake of thinking ahead, you add that dessert to your order. There is some nice music playing softly in the back ground. The food is well put together and fresh. While eating, a worker walks around with a little basket full of after-dinner mints and asks if you would like one (they’re free of course!). You’re getting ready to throw things away and decide to use the restroom before you leave. They’ve just been cleaned! As you’re ready to walk out of the building all of the staff say goodbye and mention that they would like to see you again soon.
Now, that’s an experience! Just reading it should make you feel refreshed. But is it unrealistic to be able to expect such an experience at a QSR? No. In fact, the above account has actually happened to me. It is possible. The recipe? 1 cup of passion, 2 cups of hard work and 3 cups of vision. In the end you’ll have the best image imaginable.
You may be wondering by now why I haven’t really brought up digital menu boards yet. My answer is that I have. Please remember that we’re discussing patron experience and how to improve the image of a QSR at the store level. The experience described above is one at a store that has digital menu boards with simple, intuitive content that is designed to move the line and make it easy for the patrons to choose what they want. At the same time, it is designed to persuade them to choose items that the QSR wants to sell more of. The menu board is just a piece of the image/vision puzzle.
How would the same scenario go if the QSR had a lack of vision, which translates in poor image?
When arriving to the QSR, you don’t have to open the door, it’s already open because the line is THAT long. The line slowly moves and you get closer to the cashier. You can slightly make out what’s on the menus but you have a hard time because the background is animated on a video loop and when the loop is over, the whole screen goes black and then starts over again. You start to wade through the mess of a menu and then all of the sudden, all of the screens go blank and turn into a full page ad for sandwiches. Patience is wearing thin. There is loud music and commotion over the speakers that sounds like a TV that is turned up too loud with advertisements, music videos, and interviews blaring. The store is dirty, trash cans are full, and bathrooms are nasty. Not the memorable moment we were hoping for.
Can you see how poorly created menu boards and other screens can negatively impact the customer’s experience? Again, they’re just another piece of the puzzle in the grand scheme of things, but when not followed through properly, can have a dramatically negative impact on the patron’s experience. For more information on how to produce appropriate content for your menus, see Part 1 of this series. http://www.noventri.com/blog/?p=509
Digital Menu Boards are quickly becoming the standard for restaurants because patrons expect companies to have the latest technology. So having digital menus just tells your patrons that your up with the times; nothing more. Using cost effective,digital menus with content that won’t confuse and cause frustration to the customer isn’t just innovative, it’s ethical.
Entertainment screens in the dining room is a no-no. It’s awesome in principal but it’s impossible to have content that is going to appeal to every demographic. And all of that noise in the dining room is just plain rude. They do nothing but destroy brand image and cost money.
In the end, menus have a lot to do with image. Menus have been the same for so many years, that can easily be the most forgotten part of a QSR. Instead, make your digital menus the beginning of a new corporate image.
In part 6, we’ll define how digital menus can automate your work flow.