In the hospitality industry, standing out from the crowd requires innovation. That often means incorporating new types of technology. This is especially relevant in the fast casual niche. Though unit growth has slowed, openings still rose by 6.1 percent in 2017, and more competition necessitates broader, more creative marketing.
One solution is to bring in digital menu boards. With mountains of functionality and an opportunity to boost sales at stake, these expertly conceived displays offer a modern look and a chance to simultaneously improve sales and customer experience for all types of fast casual restaurants.
FACILITATING DINING ON-THE-GO
Fast casual restaurants occupy the space between fast food outlets and fine dining establishments. These gourmet sandwich spots and artisan pizzerias offer delicious eats for people who want quality options with a quick turnaround. Digital menus help restaurants showcase profitable menu items and help patrons make a decision long before they reach the cashier. Lower wait times and faster ordering mean more table turns and a jump in the total of guests served — in other words, happier consumers and more profit. Win win!
IDENTIFY WHAT MAKES YOU STAND OUT
As of fall 2017, there were 25,118 fast casual restaurants in the United States. That’s a cluttered landscape for consumers trying to remember why they prefer one chicken restaurant over the next. Brands interested in separating themselves from the pack can use digital menu boards to highlight those characteristics and offerings that serve as a key differentiator. It might include:
- Local ingredient sourcing
- Proprietary food and beverage options
- Associations with known, high-quality purveyors
- Celebrity/celebrity chef partnerships
While static displays can technically get the job done, digital signage has some serious advantages. WAND Corporation Digital Menu Boards offer the ultimate control — you can introduce new menu items, launch new promotional campaigns, and publish menu changes to all of your store’s menu boards with a simple push of a button. The ability to create animated graphics and other examples of rich media draws consumer attention, getting more mileage out of company assets and the differentiators mentioned above.
INCREASE PER-PERSON AVERAGE (PPA)
In a space where the PPA range is fairly narrow, boosting annual revenue can be strikingly dependent on incremental sales — those small “extras” such as dessert, toppings, side dishes, specialty drinks and double meat. You may not be able to get every customer to come in twice a week, but if you boost each guest’s check by 10 percent, that’s an impressive escalation. Given the fact that 30 percent of video viewers make an unplanned purchase, a digital menu may be just what you need to fuel sales.
Digital menu boards are also prime real estate for those mouthwatering photos that usually gain traction on media-heavy sites like Instagram. It’s easy for customers to get on board with paying extra for a juicy prime Angus burger when they can see a representative image of that burger in full color right in front of them. Professional pictures of unusual or premium items give guests more confidence in their purchases while also giving them something nice to look at while they wait.
Multiple studies have shown that restaurant-goers connect technology with improved guest experience. There are lots of reasons why that could be true, and many tie closely into the functionality of digital signage. With WAND Corporation digital menu boards, fast casual restaurants can:
- Lower actual or perceived wait times
- Use interactive content (quizzes, trivia facts, social media hashtags, etc.) to make the remaining wait time more enjoyable
- Promote customer loyalty programs to encourage continual patronage
- Introduce new menu items designed to address customer requests and food service trends
- Offer games and other forms of entertainment
- Soft sell premium items without relying solely on more aggressive marketing or live sales tactics
BE HANDS ON EVEN WHEN YOU’RE TECHNICALLY HANDS OFF
Almost all fast casual operators have one half of their brain permanently thinking about growth. Scaling your business is important if you want to continually increase profit and geographic coverage, but a burgeoning empire translates into stretched resources. The centralized controls mentioned above give WAND Corporation users the ability to maintain brand cohesion and launch promotions in a plethora of units all at the same time. No store-to-store disconnect or pricing snafus, just consistency and professional displays that are both impressive and effective.
Total revenue in the quick-service restaurant sector (which includes fast casual outlets) was expected to hit a whopping $263 billion in 2017. Operators eager to sit down to a huge slice of that financial pie need to think creatively and buy into technology-fueled innovations.