Blog | Why Use a Digital Drive-Thru Menu Board?


Apr 21, 2021

When digital menu boards are optimized around key performance drivers, the returns of a digital menu board platform become incredibly clear for businesses. Here are a few goals that can be achieved with digital signage.

Why Use a Digital Drive-Thru Menu Board?

Let’s face it: older, static, printed drive-thru menus aren’t the optimal menu board vehicle for quick-service restaurants (QSR) to entice their customers. In today’s world of “digital first,” consumers have high expectations when interacting with businesses – whether it’s convenience, customization, perceived value or other interaction they have with your brand.

Fortunately, data-centric digital drive-thru menu boards offer innovative benefits for organizations to increase customer engagement and potentially increase sales.

For businesses considering making the digital switch, we’ve compiled several reasons for deploying digital signage hardware and software solutions.

Benefits of Digital Menu Boards

Increase sales

Drive-thru windows account for approximately 70% of total sales for a typical quick-service restaurant (source). A digital menu board is often the first touchpoint for engaging with a customer, if the business is a quick-service restaurant. Furthermore, depending on the design and the content, digital menus offer more visually evocative and informative messages to the customer.

As an example, a video or full-color photo of a menu item looks more appealing to a customer than a single word describing the item on a printed menu board. Furthermore, dynamic animation or video within digital content can further entice the customer; for example, animation of soda fizzing and pouring into a glass or steam rising from a burger on a grill can capture attention and make the menu more appealing, which leads to increased sales. Studies show an average 28% increase in sales after investing in the digital customer experience.

Get Higher Levels of Control

Digital signage hardware and software solutions empower businesses as a way to create and manage and securely deploy digital content. Depending on the technology platform, businesses can quickly update content and send media files to small signage groups or entire networks for displays.

Augment Brand Awareness

Dynamic digital signage provides an opportunity for businesses to increase brand awareness and loyalty with compelling and memorable digital displays. QSR brands may experience better brand recall, recognition and interaction through digitally displayed content such as drive-thru menu boards.

Customer Data Tracking

Today, it’s all about the data and tapping into strategic insights for actionable decisions. Digital signage hardware and software solutions can empower businesses to intelligently display actionable messaging, arming brands with important information about their guests. As an example, quick-service restaurants can track customer menu preferences, time of service, make predictive suggestions for the customer and various other dynamic data-driven components that can enhance the customer drive-thru experience.

In addition to digital signage solutions, brands should also consider technology providers that offer additional analytics on customer data. Some vendors offer sensor-focused solutions that pair with digital signage, precisely capturing occupancy measurement data in real-time and displaying important information on integrated outdoor signage. This data can inform customers of updates such as limited time offers and promotions, as well as inform customers and staff alike on real-time wait updates, occupancy capacity, COVID response and policy, in-store safety procedures, and more. Overall, digital menu board best practice is to select a solution provider that can provide the business with relevant and accurate customer data in an easy-to-manage way.

Responsive Technology

While digital signage hardware and software solutions are a proven advantage over traditional, static non-digital formats, there are some stand-out technology providers that are innovating with dynamic features.

As covered, businesses today live in a data-centric world. When making the digital signage switch, consider teaming up with a provider that enables interactive collaborative digital solutions. As an example, some vendors offer touchscreen displays to increase customer interactions; this is mainly for interactive displays inside the restaurant rather than drive-thru ordering. However, these responsive interactive displays offer the business and customer greater levels of customization and automation.

AI-driven Experience

Simply defined, artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence demonstrated by machines. There have been some compelling technology advancements within the digital signage industry focusing on AI. Headlines show that leading marketplace solution providers have been tapping into AI technology to help major QSR brands improve the customer experience and, of course, benefit the business.

Let’s take an example of how AI can be deployed with drive-thru digital hardware.

Sensors in the drive-thru can pull relevant information on wait time, accuracy and — as part of an advanced personalization strategy — make menu suggestions based on customer behavior. All of these variables can be tied in with the AI platform to analyze the data in real time to improve the customer experience with or without business human input. Automated rules based on the data allow QSR owner/operators to deliver tailored menu board offerings in the drive thru, increasing the average check.

Digital Menu Board Cost

For businesses looking to make the digital signage switch, cost is an important and obvious consideration. However, digital menu board (display) cost varies as much as the different solutions marketplace vendors offer. Additionally, content strategy is key. A drive thru digital menu board return on investment can be realized as the average check is incrementally growing, especially with suggestive sell or personalization strategies in place. However, without a clear content strategy — which should include setting success measurement and goals — it is difficult to effectively deliver on the digital investment.

Before deploying a digital menu board hardware and software solution, it’s important you check with local city ordinances on zoning, size, brightness and other variables. A strong technology can help advise and guide you during this process.

For quick-service restaurant businesses, cost is dependent on factors such as budget, goals and level of technology needs. Other considerations include:

  • Turnkey or customized solution
  • Technology requirement levels
  • Content management
  • Monitoring and control
  • Scalability and more

It’s also pertinent to evaluate systems that are optimized for security, easy deployment and management without expensive network build-out additional costs. Network health monitoring and support are other key factors in a strong technology deployment and partnership.

Choosing the Right Digital Signage Partner

While these are just some of the reasons to deploy digital signage hardware and software for drive-thru restaurants, it’s important that your business partners with a solution provider that has the historical experience and expertise. Some vendors lack many of these components that may be beneficial to driving customer engagement and revenue. Furthermore, some vendors have technology that is static and may also charge exorbitant maintenance and service fees.

Stratacache is the industry leader in data-centric digital signage technology; in fact, we power digital menu boards for 8 out of the 10 top QSR brands in the US. With over 650,000 digital menu boards globally, STRATACACHE works with various industries such as restaurants, retail, grocery and finance. Innovating on AI, location-based technologies, and mobile platforms, Stratacache helps businesses adapt to the rapidly-changing digital landscape. Whether it’s support, professional or training services, Stratacache is committed to help businesses with their digital signage transformation.