The restaurant industry is a fast-paced world. As you may already know, it can be a constant challenge to stay ahead of new trends and to anticipate ever-fluctuating customer needs.
Thankfully, advances in technology have left us equipped with some amazing tools that can help us to stay one step ahead. Whether you’ve got your digital menu display board already, or are on the fence over committing, here are 10 cool things you can do with your board.
1. Host a digital waiting room
No one likes to wait, and especially not a hungry customer. A digital waiting room helps provide some distraction by featuring news, television, or other interesting content to keep customers’ attention while they wait.
A digital waiting room also gives you a place to display the order queue. This gives customers the ability to see that their food is being prepared, so they have a rough idea of how long it will take until they eat. An informed customer just might be a little less impatient.
In order to be effective, a digital waiting room will require you to be a bit more hands-on with your digital signage. For example, an employee will need to update the computer when orders are put in, then again when they are getting ready to come out.
Something like this often works better in a fast-food environment — that is, a restaurant where customers stand at a counter to get their order rather than get their food from a server. However, regardless of your restaurant type, it can be a great way to provide some distraction while customers wait.
2. Share daily specials
Using your restaurant menu display boards to showcase your daily specials makes it incredibly easy to update your menu throughout the day. Gone are the days of reprinting after menu updates, digital signage allows you to easily switch from lunch to dinner specials as the afternoon progresses.
Taking the opportunity to display other specials, such as appetizers and drinks, can help to boost business. One great example of this is Happy Hour, which often proves a particularly lucrative time to push drink specials. Having pictures and details of the deal right in front of them as they sit down can encourage customers to make the most of these offers.
The fact that digital signage is so easily updatable avoids the common pitfall of “specials recycling” — repeating the same specials over and over again — which can be an easy sticking point for many restaurants. Digital menu displays make it easy to keep things fresh and new, so your customers keep coming back for more.
3. Showcase deals or promotions
Customers see a lot of advertisements these days, so only the most attention-grabbing are likely to make an impact. A digital menu display board allows you to rotate through several promotions, increasing the chances of an item or deal catching a customer’s eye.
Of course, you’re also catching them at the most opportune moment, right when they are hungry and thinking about what they want. Most people will be thinking about two things: what they want to eat and how much they’re willing to spend.
This situation provides the perfect timing to present a deal to the customer, enticing them to make their order and to take advantage of the promotion.
4. Advertise upcoming events
If you regularly host or take part in community events, a digital menu display board is the perfect tool to advertise these. Customers will inevitably be looking around as they wait for their food, and a fun or interesting advertisement is the perfect thing to catch their eye and make them think about attending.
This is also a good way to encourage conversation about the event. After all, word of mouth is still an effective advertising strategy — even in the digital age! Getting customers to talk amongst themselves about a special event your restaurant is hosting can help to do some of the heavy lifting for your marketing department.
5. Upsell products
If there is one thing that wait staff and customers alike often resent, it is a restaurant upselling a product. Doing this in person often feels artificial and annoying — which in turn affects your sales!
A digital menu board is a great opportunity to upsell products more visually and subtly. You can showcase the dishes and use plenty of pictures to entice hungry diners. This also takes the pressure off your servers to try to push certain items on their customers.
You can also use this as a chance to showcase desserts. Customers respond well to mouthwatering pictures of treats and might be more likely to place a dessert order if they see that signage, especially if timed to coincide with the end of their meal.
6. Host a digital community board
One of the most important elements of building a brand is engaging your target audience or customer base in a “conversation”. In other words, you want them to volunteer and share feedback!
A digital community board lets you share input from customers. This can include social media posts, reviews of their experience at your restaurant, or things they have written on comment cards.
Not only does this demonstrate transparency, but it also shows that you are interested in hearing your customers’ feedback and take it seriously. Even if you are sharing positive comments only (and that’s probably the best move), people will start to see your restaurant as a brand that seeks out and listens to its customers’ opinions.
Of course, these opinions will also help influence others. With any luck, this will get you some great ratings and reviews!
7. Put your brand on display
Just what is my brand, and how do I display it exactly? A digital restaurant menu display board gives the perfect opportunity to develop, experiment with, and ultimately display your brand.
There are endless ways to do this. Aside from the obvious – your logo, location, brand colours, and so forth – you could try introducing your staff, featuring their favorite dishes, or providing info on past events that you’ve hosted. Show off the work your business has done in the community, especially with other local businesses!
This step is all about building a relationship with your customers and helping them form an idea of what your business is all about. A digital menu display board gives you the chance to provide them with all the information in a relaxed and interesting way that doesn’t seem forced.
The bottom line is that there is no wrong way to do this, and the ideas you can explore are infinite. Clearly displaying your brand helps your restaurant to stand out in your customers’ minds as more than just another eatery.
8. Show off your social media
Every good business in this day and age needs a solid media strategy. Why? It is one of the best ways to keep your community engaged with your product or service and stimulate conversation as a relevant voice in your industry.
All that being said, social media is meant to be, well, social! It needs to be fun and engaging in order to get people talking about your restaurant.
Showing off your social media pages on a digital menu display board does more than simply advertise your Twitter handle, Instagram page, or Facebook feed. It also gets your customers engaged in the conversation. You can do this by showing off pictures from a recent event, sharing interesting posts that got a lot of online engagement, or displaying reviews from satisfied customers.
By drawing more attention to those social media pages, you might even find that your online following goes up from customers who are interested in hearing news from your brand.
9. Add some entertainment
There are a lot of ways to make your customers’ dining experience more interesting. Many restaurants air live TV, often with news or sports channels. However, that’s far from the only form of entertainment you can provide.
Some restaurants have found success in sharing other interesting content, such as jokes, trivia challenges, local interest stories, and more. It is a great way to improve conversation at tables to make for a livelier atmosphere, and also serves to keep hungry customers distracted while they wait for their food.
It’s a basic rule of the restaurant industry that people who are having fun are likely to order more food and spend more money. Keeping things lively and interesting in the dining room is another way to use your digital menu display board to boost your sales.
10. Show the Ongoing Orders
Have you ever been in a restaurant and seen a dish going to another table that you want to order, too? It happens to most of us. But many people feel uncomfortable uttering an awkward variation of, “I’ll have what he’s having.”
Displaying attractive pictures of popular dishes can be a good strategy for encouraging others to order the same dish. While it can be awkward to ask about what another customer ordered, it is easy simply to look at a display board and be able to ask for a dish by name.
As chefs like to say, we eat with our eyes. But we also need to know what the dishes are called if we want to order them! This can be an effective way to drive sales since it will pique people’s interest while adding a community feel, letting customers effectively recommend dishes to one another.
A digital restaurant menu display board is so much more than just a way to list your food offerings. It’s a versatile tool for boosting your sales, building your brand, and adding to your dining room’s atmosphere. All it takes is some creativity and a bit of marketing savvy.
For info and tips on how to bring your restaurant menu display boards to life, or to learn about our unique digital signage and content software, visit us at UPshow today.