How Digital Signage Improves the Guest Experience
By Bryce Patterson
Digital menus have seen explosive growth across a range of industries over the past few years. From hotels to doctor’s offices, digital signage is showing up everywhere. That said, digital menu boards are more than just a trend- they’re an exciting upgrade to your customer experience.
From wait times to the ordering process, digital signage impacts every aspect of your business. Let’s take a look at the ways that a digital menu can improve guest experience at your restaurant or bar.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
While many restaurants feature images of some offerings on their physical menus, digital signage gives you the power to showcase items based on your particular needs for the day. For example, consider posting your happy hour sales with mouthwatering images of your tasty appetizers ($1 off for the next hour!).
This can have the added effect of streamlining the ordering process for your customers. After all, it’s a lot easier to decide between a range of options when you can compare and contrast high-quality images. It’s also easier to get a sense of a dish when we can see it- helpful if a lot of the ingredients aren’t instantly recognizable from the description.
Let Them Know What They’re Getting
Showcasing health information (like calories) is massively easier with a digital menu board, and your customers will appreciate the ability to make informed decisions. This is particularly important for franchises of larger chains, where displaying calorie information is a requirement as of 2018.
You can display so much more than calories, though. Digital signage makes it easy to highlight vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options, and can also clearly display information like spiciness level. It’s also really easy to foreground alternate takes on traditional menu items, like zucchini noodles or cauliflower crust pizza.
One more note on this- a digital menu can also highlight your values as a company. If you focus on farm-to-table methods, or donate a portion of profits to charity, letting customers know where their money is going can be a powerful sales driver.
Reduce the (Perceived) Wait
Waiting is one of our least favorite things, and we have a habit of overestimating the amount of time we spend in line- by about 36%, in fact. Unoccupied time is frustrating, and can drag the momentum of a night out to a complete halt.
Digital signage is proven to reduce perceived wait times, which is a huge win for your customer experience. From trivia to event highlights, a digital menu board can entertain and engage customers during time that would otherwise feel empty- with the net impact of increasing dwell time.
That said, it’s not just perceived wait times that can be cut back with a digital menu. By allowing customers to compare and contrast options and bargains while in line at the bar, for example, digital menus can streamline and speed up the ordering process.
Less time spent laboriously digging through a menu benefits everyone involved, and it’s actually easier for customers to remember their favorite items when they see them on a digital menu board. Digital signage has a recall rate of 83%, much higher than that of a standard menu.
Make it Clear When You Run Out
We’ve all been there: after taking the time to explore a menu and make a decision, we learn moments later that the item we’ve chosen has run out. Not only is this frustrating- it also slows the ordering process, and distracts from the enjoyment of the overall experience.
A digital menu board can be easily updated the moment something runs out, with that information clearly communicated to both your customers and your staff.
Create Unique Menu Experiences
More and more people these days (and millennials in particular) are looking for more than just a tasty meal when they go out. They’re craving a unique experience, and digital signage can be a great way to give that to them without incurring a lot of extra costs in the process.
Do members of your staff have favorite items on the menu? Consider showcasing their recommendations with a high-quality image and a quote.
Have you found specific pairings you love? Your menu board can highlight the ways that different menu items relate to each other. Consider creating date night recommendations- for example, appetizers that complement each other and are easy to share, plus a drink to take it to the next level.
Do you offer items tied to the specific time of the year? Whether it’s the first day your pumpkin spice latte is available or mulled wine for the holidays, you can quickly and easily make menu changes with the seasons and offer unique experiences with every visit.
Digital signage can be a great way to connect your patron’s social scene to their in-store experience, which is simultaneously welcoming for your regulars, and a tool for advertising your business to new customers.
Advertising your discounts and loyalty programs and reminding customers to use them is super simple with a digital menu board. For example, many businesses offer special deals and discounts to customers who check in on Facebook or Instagram. This provides both a resounding endorsement to their peer group, and a chance for the customer to save a little on their tab.
Highlighting events (both past and upcoming) can connect your customers to familiar faces and shape their plans for their next social outing. Consider offering a free drink to the best customer photo from your next event for a little competitive fun.
Add Some Flair
There are so many ways that digital signage can add to the overall look and feel of your venue and the options for improving your bar or restaurant’s ambience are only limited by your imagination.
Rather than a replacement for a physical menu, a digital menu board is a step forward. It’s an upgrade that will impact every aspect of your business.
Learn more about the different ways that switching to digital signage has impacted a range of businesses here.