How digital signage helps restaurants improve their margins

By Richard Murton, Display Technlology.

Richard Murton, managing Director of Display Technology

Like many industries, the food industry is facing challenging conditions. Supply-side issues are pushing up the prices of some ingredients and for some, labour costs are also increasing.

The problem is that at this time for many restaurants, especially fast-food restaurants, competition doesn’t allow them to increase prices much to reflect these higher costs. This means that these businesses have to look to technology, in particular digital signage, to improve their margins. Here are three ways in which it can do so.

Keeping costs down.

The idea of changing prices according to the factors which influence demand is not new. It does, however, have more significance for the food industry since there are not just seasonal variations in what people eat, but the time of week and even time of day can both heavily influence how long people take to eat and hence what foods they want. For example, the same restaurant might only serve quick breakfasts and buffet lunches on weekdays, but offer a brunch option on weekends.

Up until the arrival of digital menus, managing these different pricing structures was expensive and time-consuming. It involved either printing and distributing the right menus at the right time or having all the different prices on display at the same time, leaving customers (and indeed staff) to pick their way through them, thus opening up lot of potential for confusion (read staff mistakes and/or unhappy customers) and/or making it obvious that different prices were being charged for the same item of food.

Digital signage makes it almost effortless to display the right price at the right time, regardless of how often you’re changing it.

Increasing the value of special offers.

Everybody loves a bargain and well-crafted special offers are always a great way to get people’s attention. Make them time-limited and you put people under just a little bit of pressure to act now, rather than waiting.

Prior to digital signage, promoting special offers could be a real pain. In fact, the cost of creating the advertisement (in terms of time and/or printing costs) could significantly reduce or even outweigh the benefits of running the promotion. It also significantly favoured running the same promotions repeatedly, thus eliminating the compelling element of surprise and thereby reducing the urgency viewers feel to respond.

Now you can be as creative as you like with your promotions and run them whenever you want, just update your digital signage and make sure your potential customers always have something to pique their interest (especially at quiet times).

Free employee time for meaningful service.

These days many restaurants have to cater for a variety of different diets and also accommodate the needs of allergy sufferers. In addition to this, many people are increasingly interested in the nutritional value of what they eat. It’s now easy to put all of this information on digital signage and to update it as you update your menu.

With growing interest in corporate responsibility, you could also include information about your suppliers and any good causes your restaurant supports.

About the Author:
Richard Murton is the Managing Director at Display Technology. The company is part of the global FORTEC Data Display Group based in Germany and consists of specialists in TFT, LCD and touchscreen display solutions.

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