The Truth of Why Restaurants Need Digital Signage

As an observer of marketing in the restaurant and bar industry over the past 30 years, I am always amazed by how little we understand iStore promotion.

For example, if we asked you to rank the most effective in-store marketing actions what would you put first? Most of you would point to your servers, rightfully so; from there you would likely discuss your tabletop marketing or in-store merchandising (banners, posters, etc). Unfortunately, you would be wrong. The most effective method of in-store promotion is, simply put, the one that no one seems to embrace in our industry -- digital signage.

The folks in the Digital Out of Home (DooH) space have been trying for years to break into the restaurant industry. It’s such a natural fit. Most restaurants have TVs or at least room for them, and the content on those TVs is typically only for ambient purposes. Consequently, those TVs are wasted as an opportunity to inform guests about your restaurant, promote the programs/events you are featuring, and entertain your guests while they visit with direct content.

So, why doesn’t the restaurant industry embrace the world of digital signage?

Let’s be frank, our industry is littered with the laziest hard working people in the world. I have heard for years how difficult it is to break into our industry and all the rumors are true. The correct word to describe it is inertia.

“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” is a pervasive approach in an industry that despises change, even though we can’t avoid it. This is especially true of a technology like digital signage that requires a significant time investment to keep it relevant.

Use restaurant digital signage to up-sell guests, inform them of new events, and entertain them!

The time you spend on updating and managing a digital signage system will pay off in droves -- if you just invest.

According to a recent Arbitron study, one in three consumers stated they made an unplanned purchase after seeing a product advertised on a dynamic digital display. What better way to expose your guests to calls to action than a visual enticement on an HD TV. Whether it’s pictures of a featured cocktail, a house specialty appetizer or the list of games your location has available to view, digital signage sells passively, constantly and without training.

Just enter your content and away it goes.

This recent piece on the DigitalSignageConnection provides 100 great ways you can leverage digital signage to drive business in your restaurant. Whether it is product highlights, event promotion, nutritional/allergy info, entertainment (think trivia or sports scores), social media expressions or even videos from your kitchen, there is an endless supply of content.

The key, of course, is to set the specific goals you seek and frame your content to achieve them. If your goal is to improve dessert sales, then having gorgeous images of your desserts periodically displayed on a TV monitor in view of diners just makes sense.

We appreciate that digital signage is a complicated technology that might be difficult for operators to embrace. However, imagine improving sales, driving repeat traffic and entertaining your guests all through your TVs, and you can appreciate some of the value that digital signage can deliver.

There are plenty of providers that have advanced programs that are easy to implement, have stock content you can incorporate and are fully managed.

So, stop sitting on the sidelines and at least check out how you can transform your in-store marketing from just “there” to WOW!