Enhancing the dining experience by going digital

Digital menus enable food and beverage outlets to tailor content to local customers, while ensuring they provide a consistent dining experience across multiple locations, says Tom Nix at Scala

By Guest on 07 September 2015
Enhancing the dining experience by going digital

This article was first published in the Summer 2015 issue of OnWindows

Fast-casual and quick-service restaurants appeal to customers because they offer quality food in a short timeframe. However, sometimes this speed makes it difficult for these outlets to create an engaging dining experience for customers.

According to Networld Media Group’s 2014 report Digital Menu Boards and ROI: Finding the break-even point for digital signage in foodservice, around 29.5% of customers are influenced by digital menus when purchasing a product, while one in five make unplanned purchases after viewing items on digital screens. Clearly, digital menus have the potential to help drive revenue. The question is, how creative can restaurants be with the content they share?

Combining Microsoft’s embedded technologies with the Scala Enterprise platform allows restaurants to easily manage complicated behind-the-scenes content, while sharing creative messaging with customers. They can quickly update menus at multiple restaurants with new dishes and beverages, or advertise new promotional offers to ensure that their branding and the customer experience remains consistent regardless of location.

Alternatively, digital menus can be used to localise content and provide customers with information that is relevant to them. For instance, a US company may promote a frozen lemonade beverage in its California restaurants on a hot day, but simultaneously advertise a hot chocolate beverage in New York where the temperature is much lower.

Restaurants can also link their inventory to digital menus to ensure they are automatically updated whenever the kitchen runs out of a particular ingredient. If the restaurant has no bacon left, for example, the bacon cheeseburger will be removed from the menu to prevent customers from becoming dissatisfied when they are unable to order it.

Many restaurants have invested in new mobile and online channels to attract younger consumers. Customers can place online orders and when they are within a certain distance of the restaurant, proximity beacons notify the chef to prepare the food, reducing in-store waiting times and ensuring food is delivered at its optimum temperature and quality. Upon arrival, customers can then see that their order is ready via graphical displays that are connected to the ordering system.

Digital menus, online and mobile ordering all help food and beverage outlets to provide a seamless customer experience from start to finish, and are an integral part of their ultimate goal – to boost sales and drive customer loyalty.

Tom Nix is CEO of Scala

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