- On January 20, 2024
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In a convenience-driven world, we’re always looking for quick service solutions, and restaurants are no exception. Drive-thru menu boards have evolved from static displays to captivating digital solutions that showcase incredible menu options that expedite the ordering process and help customers visualize their next meal. Digital drive-thru installations increased during the pandemic when many quick-service restaurants (QSRs) closed their indoor dining but left their drive-thrus available for service for no-contact pickup. Since the start of this innovation, reports found a 30% uptick in drive-thru visits from 2019 to 2022.
The increased business encouraged restaurants to opt for eye-catching digital menu displays to enhance ordering, improve accuracy, and boost operational efficiency. But this revolutionary signage is complex to install, requiring the help of esteemed professionals skilled at handling these technical solutions. This blog will explore the benefits of digital menu boards and why drive-thru digital signage installation requires the help of advanced expertise.
Digital menu board benefits: How to captivate drive-thru customers
Installing digital menus in drive-thrus can offer several benefits for both QSRs and customers alike. The benefits include the following:
Improved Visibility: Digital menu boards have high brightness with clear visibility in daylight and various weather conditions from multiple touchpoints in the drive-thru lane.
Simple Price Updating: Static boards require price changes and updated specials daily, taking valuable time away from a busy workday. Digital menu boards operate with media players, allowing instant updates from remote locations.
Reduced wait times: Clear and crisp images and menu information helps customers make informed decisions quicker, improving speed of service.
Dynamic content: Through the use of content management systems, users can create, edit, and manage customized content that speaks to customers and enhances hospitality and specialty communications (HME).
Upselling Opportunities: With captivating imagery and dynamic content, managers can promote specials and limited-time menu options to upsell items at specific times of the day.
The complexity of digital signage installation: Beyond a simple setup
While it may be tempting to throw up an LED screen in your drive-thru and attach a USB, the process is more complex than you think. From ensuring you have the proper hardware to withstand harsh weather conditions to selecting high-definition screens specifically designed for outdoor use, drive-thru digital signage involves many variables to ensure operational success. And the fate of your restaurant business could be in the hands of an effective digital menu board.
Have you ever pulled into a drive-thru and ordered from a broken sign with a muffled speaker? The ordering experience quickly becomes undesirable from having to repeat yourself, and the lack of curb appeal leaves a negative impression. Or how about an updated modern sign with an error code or black screen? Customers go through a drive-thru expecting quick and efficient service, but if they can’t read the menu, their options are stripped from them, leaving them to order something they are familiar with but may not want or not order at all. Fortunately, many QSRs are getting on board with enhancing their drive-thru experience with new innovations like digital menu boards, dual lane drive-thrus, and overhead canopies to create high-quality ordering experiences.
Quick-service restaurants like Chick-fil-A and McDonald’s have enhanced their drive-thru designs with multi-lane accessibility and updated digital screens for optimized ordering. In fact, a recent USA Today report ranked Chick-fil-A as the top fast food chain with the highest quality drive-thru service compared to other popular QSRs, with further plans to enhance their quick ordering experience in the coming years with four-lane accommodations to improve efficiency and reduce traffic.
But achieving this level of excellence is no easy feat. Let’s explore the various considerations for digital signage drive thru installations.
Hardware Installation Considerations
When looking to implement digital menu boards in your drive-thru, it’s important to consider the space where you want to install your sign. Site specifications, screen compatibility, and networking equipment will all factor into the hardware installation. Let’s explore the considerations below.
Size and Configuration
Selecting the right size menu board for your drive-thru will depend on the space available as well as how much content you want to display for your customers. The average range for a menu board best for drive-thrus is 32″ to 85″ with either a 1×1, 1×2, or 1×3 screen configuration. Several types of audio equipment can be used with digital menu boards, including speakers, soundbars, and amplifiers. When selecting your hardware, be sure to account for the space for your speaker posts, sound system, and security cameras if your QSR allows.
One of the primary benefits of heading through a drive thru is avoiding stepping out into harsh weather conditions. When choosing the hardware for a drive thru installation project, it’s essential to choose hardware that can withstand various weather conditions like below zero temperatures, high heat, and rain. Many digital menu boards are equipped with cooling systems to prevent overheating in the Summer months.
Software and Networking
If you’ve found the right placement and hardware for your drive-thru, ensure your software solution can integrate with your sign. If you use a hardwired solution, consider burying the wires to cover them from harsh weather conditions and protect the integrity of your sign. Other drive-thru solutions offer Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity to CMS software, making integration simple and reliable for managers to control from indoors. Further, Ensuring you have a reliable power source is vital to maintaining a connection from the outside to the inside of the restaurant. Before installation, review if your location has base stations nearby for better connectivity. Digital menu boards can also connect to multiple communication systems, also known as triple media players. So if one fails, there are backups to safeguard your digital signage in uncertain times.
Selecting a media player that can handle digital menu board software is crucial so you can adapt your menu items as needed and make changes seamlessly. Content management systems allow users to edit, manage, and control the messaging of their digital sign. An advanced system also improves marketing efforts, allowing managers to display delicious menu items at optimal times throughout the day to appeal to a lunch or dinner rush. It’s also vital that your media player can display high-resolution image files. The more crisper the image, the more appealing it looks to the customer.
The importance of professional installation: Ensuring longevity and safety
Regarding the physical installation process of drive-thrus, there is no shortage of challenges that could arise in the process. Drive-thru installation can be incredibly dangerous for an unprofessional. While screens are weather-proof and durable, the installation process has plenty of room for error, which could cost your business far more if the product gets damaged. This is especially true for larger, more expensive signs or Panasonic screens that may be more difficult to install.
Digital menu boards can also be extremely heavy, requiring multiple workers to lift or use heavy machinery to raise the sign into position. Further, the technical specifications involved, such as connecting to a power source and properly handling and placing the screens, must be precise to ensure the power source is securely connected. Proper connectivity ensures sign functionality and helps the worker at the drive-thru window hear exactly what the customer is ordering through drive-thru headset systems, ensuring customer satisfaction.
Menu boards for drive-thrus also require thick bolts to hold the frame and mount in place, often equipped with tamper-proof screws. Ideally, hiring a team of professionals with structural engineering and IT skills is best to ensure every step in the installation process is completed correctly, guaranteeing your product is installed properly and will operate flawlessly for years to come.
Benefits of hiring a professional installation team
It’s clear drive thru installations are complicated and hazardous to complete alone, but with the right team, working with advanced experts can offer your business many benefits.
Here are the benefits of hiring a professional team with advanced expertise.
Work done right the first time
There’s nothing worse than a DIY project gone wrong, especially when there’s business to be lost in the process. Most QSRs schedule installation after hours or work while enabling customers to still order. However, a failed installation could be a recipe for lost business or closures, resulting in mass profit losses. With skilled professional experts, you get your digital signage installation done right the first time.
Scheduled maintenance and repairs
Professional companies typically offer well-rounded installation packages that may include maintenance, warranty options, and digital signage and headset repairs in some cases. Experts are also equipped with all the drive-thru equipment and drive-thru products necessary to ensure an efficient process with minimal delays. This benefit is crucial for businesses looking for a reliable long-term investment. It also leaves opportunity for new upgrades and enhancements over time like vehicle detectors, clearance bars, drive-thru timers, order confirmation systems, and other drive-thru accessories.
Professional experts also ensure regulatory compliance and understand site requirements and standards for installing large pieces of equipment on a QSR property. This precaution prevents job-site injuries and hazardous mishaps and mitigates risks for technical and drive-thru repairs.
Drive-thru installation services with Keyser
At Keyser, we offer digital outdoor menu boards that are easy to maintain and cost-effective. We specialize in various digital signage solutions and configurations and know the ins and outs of drive thru installations. Throughout our years of service, we’ve learned that every custom digital menu board system is unique – inspired by the existing design of the business and each with a custom selection of hardware to fit those needs. With that in mind, we help you choose the perfect screens, media player, mounting brackets, and support features necessary for a seamless digital menu experience.
Drive thru installations can be complex to complete alone. With the help of skilled installation experts with years of experience, you can achieve a modern look with advanced operations and optimal efficiency to improve your drive-thru visits and create a flawless, quick-service experience.
If you want to enhance the customer experience and reap the operational benefits of digital menu boards, contact us today! We’re happy to answer any questions regarding pricing, installation, or our other digital signage solutions.