7 Awesome Things You Can Do With Outdoor Digital Menu Boards


WAND offers a number of Xtreme™ Outdoor Digital Menu Boards in various sizes for restaurants to choose from.

With the recent influx of outdoor digital technologies into the market, we thought you needed to know just what a great opportunity outdoor Digital Menu Boards present. Outdoor digital menus are something we know well, having been working with them for more than a decade now, and with the launch of two new WAND outdoor digital solutions, now’s a great opportunity for us to share some of the things we’ve learned!

Here are seven awesome things you can do with outdoor Digital Menu Boards to improve both your customers’ experience….and your bottom line.

    1. Direct Traffic: If you operate a drive-thru, you know that getting folks to follow the ordering process, and to queue efficiently can have a big impact on a customer’s perception of quality. Digital menu boards can be used to display informational text to customers, telling them how to order, which service area to move to, and even how long they can expect to wait to be served.  Integrating way-finding into outdoor digital menu boards can not only increase your speed of service, it can help send your guests away feeling like you’re on top of your game.
      1. Influence Decision Making in Your Favor: Digital menus provide the unique opportunity to promote the right items at the right time. This holds true nowhere more than in the drive-thru. Do you have a line of 15 cars waiting to progress through the queue?  Change up your signage to promote items that can be prepped quickly and easily to speed up service. Is it 3pm, and your drive-thru is almost too quiet? Promote items that carry the highest margins to make the most of a slow time of day.
      1. Engage Your Guests with Your Brand: As you have probably seen in some of our other blogs, we know how to help you up your margins with digital menu content. The drive-thru presents the unique opportunity of playing to a ‘captive audience’ – sitting in line is always boring, but sitting in line in your car will have you looking for anything to entertain your eyes. Capitalize on the ever-growing consumption of digital media to let your guests get to know your brand – show off your amazing recipes, educate them on your brand, and take the opportunity to let them get to know you a little better while they’re visiting.
      1. Install Quickly: Five years ago, I would have been crazy to put this in a blog post! Outdoor digital hardware was large, heavy, and required specialized equipment to install. Today, two people can install an entire digital menu system in a matter of a few hours. If you can operate a socket wrench and a measuring tape, you’re officially qualified to install an outdoor Digital Menu Board.
      1. Spruce Up Your Order Confirmation: Did you know that you can integrate with a POS feed to display order confirmation on a digital menu? Even better, when you’re not using that space to make sure your customers get exactly what they’ve ordered, we can use it to promote items, deliver messaging, or let your customers see what’s going on inside the restaurant.
      1. Engage Your Customers as they order: Indoor Digital Menu Boards are great. They let you engage your customer right at the point of purchase, influencing their behavior in a remarkable way. But here’s the thing….the things that are great about indoor digital menu boards are magnified with outdoor digital menu boards. In an indoor ordering scenario, your guest is likely to look away from the menu board and face the register operator to place their order. In an outdoor ordering environment, that guest is going to continue staring at those beautiful digital displays the entire time, which means you can use techniques like suggestive upselling, guided ordering, and customer influence to their maximum potential!
      1. Enhance the Look and Feel of Your Restaurant: This one’s a no-brainer – Digital Menu Boards make a restaurant look more appealing to potential guests as they drive by. 29% of consumers report to MARC Research that they will bypass an unknown restaurant if it does not look visually appealing, regardless of the quality of the food they serve. That’s money out of your pocket, simply because your storefront doesn’t entice customers. By leveraging animation, vibrant colors, and brightly lit outdoor displays, you can entice more consumers into your restaurant with a beautiful look and feel that costs less than hiring a contractor to reface your entire building.

So there you have it folks – outdoor Digital Menu Boards are becoming more cost friendly, easier to install, easier to use, and above all else they can help your bottom line in the segment of your business that accounts for more than 2/3 of your overall revenue, and delight your customers at the same time!

5 Quick Tips to Help You Prepare for Outdoor Digital Menus

If you haven’t heard in some of our earlier blog posts affordable outdoor digital menus for QSR and Fast Casual are here to stay. As hardware prices continue to come down, systems become more modular, and installations get easier, more and more brands are adopting outdoor digital menu systems to help increase revenue in the most prevalent sector of their business…and that means you need to be ready for outdoor digital menus sooner than later!

Here are five quick tips to make sure you’re ready for outdoor digital menu systems when they arrive:

WAND Outdoor Digital Menu Boards

  1. Integrate Your POS System. While they look great, drive revenue, and engage customers, outdoor digital menu systems are really all about adding operational efficiency. If you have to send an employee outside to change prices, update menu slats, or direct traffic through the drive-thru, you’re losing money every time they go out that door. One of the best steps to preparing for outdoor digital menus is to integrate your POS system with your digital menu system now, so that when those outdoor menus get installed, they’ll begin automatically updating pricing from day one. How much would you save on operational expenses if you didn’t need to send someone outside to manage your drive-thru menus ever again?
  1. Identify Your Digital Menu Strategy. Brand engagement opportunities with outdoor digital menu system are vast, but to truly engage your customers you need a digital menu strategy. A few questions to ask yourself when planning for digital menus:
  • Does your displayed menu mix vary between indoor and outdoor?
  • What items do you want to feature most heavily in the outdoor space? Do you prefer to focus on the money makers, or the quickly served bundled items?
  • How can you maximize the use of the existing brand content you already have? Can you re-utilize content from your indoor signage system, or do you need to plan to create unique content for your outdoor space?
  • What items may need to change on the fly? Do you promote hot or cold drinks that may not sell as well in inclement weather? Do you have promotional items that drag down your speed of service during peak hours? What about items that don’t serve well through the drive-thru (ever had hot chili cheese fries spill in your lap? I have!)
  1. Set Goals. We evangelize strategy planning every chance we get. Having goals for your strategy is important, but even more important is having the RIGHT goals. Here’s a few metrics you may not have considered when thinking about how to measure ROI from your outdoor digital menu system:
  • Sales Lift: This one’s pretty obvious. Tracking sales lift on key items is a great metric for tracking the success of a digital menu program.
  • Operational Costs: Make sure you’re tracking your overall operational costs as you track the outdoor digital signage program. This is an often overlooked metric that can provide a great return over time.
  • Speed of Service: Because there’s no sales number directly tied to your speed of service, you may consider this an unimportant metric when measuring the success of a menu program, but truth be told, the speed at which you serve your customers directly impacts their willingness to return and order again, and outdoor digital menu boards play a direct role in that.
  • Order Accuracy: Just like speed of service, tracking your order accuracy doesn’t necessarily provide a direct financial metric (other than throwing away incorrect orders), but can be a very strong indicator metric for the overall success of your outdoor menus.
  • Average Check: Let’s go back to a metric that gives you a direct ROI value. Measuring your average check before and after the implementation of outdoor menus will tell you just how effective the content you’ve selected is.
  1. Plan to Measure. Before the sales orders are signed, work-orders completed, and outdoor Digital Menu Boards are powered up, have a solid plan in place on how you measure the success or failure of your digital menu program. Measuring one or two metrics at a single restaurant won’t give you an accurate picture of how successful your investment has been for you, and might lead you to decommission a program that is actually providing more ROI than you think. Set up a spreadsheet, define the intervals between measurement, and measure with enthusiasm! Even more importantly, take some time to track those metrics BEFORE you implement outdoor digital menus – this will give you an excellent baseline to which you can compare your results after implementation.
  1. Measure to Plan. This is another area where we see some brands fall a little short. Pilots and field tests may generate some encouraging initial results, leading you to assume that the program is a success (or vice versa, but we hope that’s not the case!). Truth be told, no single metric can truly measure the impact of such an important system, and the planning of a digital menu program should include constant changes to measure how different strategies affect your brand. Outdoor menu boards are great because they allow you to make changes to roll out updates system wide, plan out A/B testing in similar markets, test different price points, and collect previously not possible metrics to further refine your product marketing strategies.

5 Reasons Outdoor Digital Menu Boards Win!

The other day, my daughter and I drove into the drive-thru at a very popular restaurant. Our mission: to get my kid her favorite egg sandwich. As we were sitting in the car at the menu boards waiting to order, two uniformed crew members ran out of the back door of the restaurant and began to take the signs apart to replace the Breakfast content with the Lunch boards.

WAND Outdoor Digital Menu BoardsWe moved ahead and placed our orders but since this was a dual-lane drive-thru and also had a presell board, the folks who were tasked with changing out the boards were still out there as we drove off down the street with our breakfast!

The moral of this story? Operational efficiency and Return on Investment (ROI) should both be considered as reasons for adding Outdoor Digital Menu Boards to your QSR or Fast Casual restaurant. Yes, the initial capital expense for outdoor digital can be 2x more than indoor, but if your store’s numbers work, this is a big win.

Here are five reasons Outdoor Digital Menu Boards are a big win for restaurants:

1. There is an ROI. If the drive-thru represents 60-70% of your restaurant revenue, and you’ve already succeeded with Digital inside, simple math says you really can financially justify spending 2x or possibly even more on Outdoor.

2. New Outdoor Technology is Better. Brighter Screens (2000 nit) are less expensive than they were five years ago, and enclosures can weather the elements (hot, cold, wet) in some cases without air conditioners and lots of noisy fans. Not to mention lower energy consumption.

3. Increased Sales of Higher Profit Items. Simplicity is the key to menu content at the drive-thru. During busy times, you want customers to see and order the fastest, highest profit items.  Digital is the only way to effectively influence customer behavior outside during each day part, special events, and holidays. Help them find and order their favorite LTOs.

4. No More Cranes! It used to take a truck crane to do three-board Outdoor installations, and many lanes can’t accommodate a crane. Today, there are great looking enclosures that can be erected with two strong laborers.

5. Calories, Anyone? The upcoming FDA menu labeling requirements for calorie counts that kick in on December 1, 2015 apply equally to outdoor menus as they do to indoor. Don’t let the regulations have a negative impact on outdoor sales by making your menus even more complicated and busy than they already are— instead use digital techniques, such as movies and motion graphics, to make them simpler, more attractive and dynamic.

In the very near future, Outdoor Digital Menu Boards in the drive-thru will become an expectation of customers.  The bottom line is you’ll need this to compete effectively. The digital drive-thru improves your ability to sell, increases order accuracy, creates the ability to react more quickly to market changes and current events, keeps restaurants in sync with enterprise media buying such as TV, Radio and the Internet, can reduced perceived waiting times and promotes customer satisfaction, especially among younger demographics who prefer digital to static content and like waiting even less than their parents!