Drive-thru digital menu boards are now a necessity in the quick-service restaurant (QSR) industry — nearly 75% of QSR businesses have them. According to the NDP Group, drive-thru orders represent 42% of all restaurant traffic and this trend is still on a rise. It is important for restaurant owners to ensure that they optimize their drive-thru operation to attract and retain customers.
How to deliver efficient and quality service while promoting high-margin items is the key question in strategic planning for your QSR business. Drive-thru digital menu boards are one of the best tools to help you achieve these business goals. Read about the 7 ways these outdoor digital menu boards in the drive-thru lane can improve your QSR business and increase sales.
7 Ways Drive-Thru Digital Menu Boards Can Improve Your QSR
1. Easy-to-Read Menu
According to studies, 74% of QSR customers agree that an easy-to-read menu is a top priority. It is certain that making menus easy to read can help customers make faster decisions and ensure the line at your drive-thru moves through effortlessly.
With drive-thru digital menu boards, you can ensure that your menus are always presented in a captivating and organized way so that customers have no difficulty reading them. On top of that, you can include high-quality photos of your menu items to catch your customers’ eyes and encourage them to make a purchase.
Most importantly, unlike traditional outdoor menu boards, drive-thru digital menu boards feature high-brightness screens that ensure menus are always visible and appealing, even under direct sunlight or any kind of weather conditions. This way, you can ensure that your drive-thru experience is consistent in rain or shine, leaving customers satisfied after every visit.
2. Ease of Content Update
Different from traditional static bards, digital menu boards offer the flexibility to update menu content via a cloud-based content management software at any time. From pricing to item names, descriptions, and images, you can edit them easily in just a few clicks, and the changes will show up on your menu board in real time.
Imagine the process you need to go through when replacing your static menu board. You need to redesign, reprint, and ship the final product to your stores. With digital menu boards, you can update menu content and apply the changes across multiple screens whenever and wherever you are.
This also gives you opportunities to test out marketing strategies. For example, you can highlight your most popular items based on customers’ purchasing or adjust menus consistently to put high-margin items in the spotlight. This way, you can also keep up with customers and boost revenue.
Display your most popular items during rush hours, making it simple for customers to decide what to order and speeding up your drive-thru service. During off-time, you can show discounted menu items or happy hour deals to stimulate your sales.
3. Speed Up Ordering Process
Since most major fast food restaurants have reported about 70% of their sales taking place at the drive-thru window, the speed and efficiency of drive-thru service have become the key to increasing sales and overall revenue.
According to a drive-thru study in 2020, digital menu boards have proven to reduce service time by 12.3 seconds on average. Digital menu boards display menus in a clean and easy-to-read manner. They also allow you to display menus with captivating animations and visuals to capture customers’ attention. With digital menu boards, customers can read menus easily and make ordering decisions more quickly with confidence.
Drive-thru digital menu boards can also help you reduce the chances of errors during order taking. For instance, integrating an order confirmation zone on your menu board screen that shows the customer’s order items and give your customers the chance to review their order details again before proceeding to the payment window. This way, you can ensure a smooth drive-thru operation with minimal confusion between your staff and the customers.
4. Trigger Impulsive Purchases
Restaurants offer many point-of-sale impulse-buying opportunities, such as daily specials, limited-time offers, or seasonal-only items. Impulse buying almost always happens at the point of sale. However, how to encourage impulse buying has always been one of the strategic questions for business owners to answer.
With digital drive-thru menu displays, you can introduce promotional or high-margin menu items with captivating images and animations to spark customers’ interests. You can also leverage weather-based data for your advantage and influence customers’ buying decisions at the right time—for instance, by allowing digital menu boards to automatically push ice cream and cold drinks during the hottest days.
Additionally, as suggested by a study, keep in mind that customers sometimes use food consumption to satisfy higher-order needs, such as maintaining a happy mood or mitigating sadness. It is beneficial to include some “emotional appeal” with delightful animations, such as “you deserve it” alongside your menus, to foster impulse buying.
5. Cross-sell & Upsell Strategies Without Delay
Digital menu boards are highly flexible, as they allow users to make changes to content whenever they want. You no longer need to waste time waiting for campaign materials to be printed. Drive-thru digital menu boards allow you to implement up-to-date cross-sell and upsell strategies based on sales data to keep up with your customers. For example, you can position your top-selling menu items strategically near each other on your digital menu board to subtly influence customers’ purchasing decisions.
You can also add eye-catching promotions to show sides, desserts, and combo meal deals to motivate customers to buy more. On top of that, you can modify your strategies based on real-time customers’ buying behaviors and rule out campaigns that do not work right away.
6. Streamline Restaurant Operations
Research has revealed that quick-service restaurants can save up to $30,000 annually in printing costs by implementing drive-thru digital menu boards. Additionally, drive-thru digital menu boards help smooth operations:
- Help your staff process orders more quickly with fewer mistakes
- Help your customers make decisions more quickly and keep the line moving
- Cut down on the hassle of waiting for campaigns to go live
- Automatically display and remove promotions and campaigns at the right time
- Automatically switch between menus based on the time of day
- Make changes to the menu content whenever and wherever you are.
These factors enable you to manage your restaurants with ease, allow your staff to focus on food preparation, and make your customers happy as they exit the line.
7. Reduce Perceived Wait Time
Customers often feel that they spent a long time in line at a restaurant drive-thru. A study found that in 2021, customers waited an average of 382.39 seconds at the drive-thru. We all know it’s not ideal to keep the customers waiting; however, it is inevitable sometimes. Therefore, the key question becomes how business owners can help make the wait more tolerable.
With drive-thru menu boards, you can give your customers a chance to review menus while they wait in line. This means customers can make up their minds before it’s their turn to place orders, which will help speed up the actual ordering process. On top of that, you can include captivating visuals and animations to attract your customers’ attention and keep them entertained.
You can use this time to let customers know about reward programs, mobile order information, and ongoing campaigns to keep them busy while waiting for their orders. This can help reduce perceived wait time and enhance customer experience.
In conclusion, implementing drive-thru digital menu boards is an excellent way to improve your QSR service and generate more sales. Drive-thru digital menu boards can help customers decide what to order more quickly, promote campaigns more effectively, and streamline drive-thru service. Moreover, they can cut down operating and marketing costs, enabling your QSR business to improve its overall profitability. If you are interested in learning more about our drive-thru digital menu boards, book a free consultation with our digital signage experts today!