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6 steps to take to ensure digital signage wins attention

Photograph: Shutterstock

Digital signage isn’t just for QSRs and fast casual dining anymore. In fact, many full-service restaurants are also using this technology to enhance the dining experience and increase revenue. However, just because a restaurant has screens and content up on the walls, doesn’t mean those signs are going to grab your guests’ attention. The restaurants that are having the most success with digital signage live by this golden rule:

Play the right content, in the right place, at the right time. TIME

Keep reading to learn the six most important steps to take to do just that.

Step 1: Know the goals. The primary goals of restaurant signage are to drive sales and enhance the dining experience, but there are several smaller objectives that will help restaurants achieve these larger goals. To truly maximize the investment in this technology, define a content strategy that accounts for these smaller objectives:

  • Highlighting menu items and daily specials
  • Drawing foot traffic
  • Promoting special events and sister restaurants
  • Highlighting staff, frequent guests and community involvement
  • Supplementing interior decor and ambiance, creating a “wow” factor
  • Supplementing live TV/entertainment

Take the time to identify which objectives will best help drive sales and enhance the dining experience. Go in with a plan and balance the strategy accordingly.

Step 2: Know where it goes. Screen placement is essential to maximizing success, and restaurant goals should dictate where the screens go–not the other way around. For example, if a restaurant is looking to draw foot traffic, the screens need to be external-facing. If a restaurant wants to promote specific menu items, the screens should be in places that most guests can see—think the front entrance, near the bar and on the way to the restrooms.

Step 3: Set a realistic budget. There isn’t a typical budget for restaurant digital signage, so operators will need to do some additional research and get quotes, as well as factor in the costs of:

  • The visual media player
  • The digital signage software
  • Content development and management services (if needed)
  • Commercial-grade screens*

*Some quick notes on screens: Even though the types of screens used  in homes can work with digital signage, they’re not ideal for use in a restaurant. HD screens meant for home-use are only designed to work about four to six hours a day, while commercial-grade screens are made to run continuously.

Step 4: Start small, then scale. If there are multiple locations where screens can be useful, implement digital signage at one or two restaurants before rolling out to the rest. If there’s just one location, try a few screens at first and measure their effectiveness. Experiment and get a good feel for what works and what doesn’t, then scale. The testing done in the beginning will pay dividends down the line.

Step 5: Plan on dayparting.  Employ different content strategies for different times of day in order to ensure that the content is relevant. Make sure that breakfast specials are promoted in the morning, the lunch menu in the afternoon, etc. That’s not to say that restaurants shouldn’t promote their dinner menu at lunch or breakfast time at all, however. The key is to be strategic in who the signage is reaching,

Step 6: Update content frequently.  Again, the content needs to be as relevant as possible, with respect to both time and audience. For example, promoting the “Summer Special – Surf N’ Turf” in November is missing the mark. As a rule of thumb, aim to update digital signage content at least once every four weeks, with major changes applied every season.

Planning digital signage strategy can be complicated. Click HERE to view and download more information on how to best plan for digital signage in restaurants.

This post is sponsored by Mood Media

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