McDonald's is one of the world's most recognizable fast food chains, and the company is constantly looking for ways to innovate and improve its customer experience. One area where McDonald's has made significant investments in recent years is in digital menu boards and self-service kiosks. These technologies have become an industry standard for the fast food industry, and for a good reason: they offer several benefits that can help restaurants save money and increase efficiency. This piece will cover some of the reasons why every QSR should be looking to invest in digital menu boards.
Digital menu boards are electronic displays used to broadcast menu items and prices. These displays are typically located at the point of sale, such as the drive-thru or the front counter, and they can be easily updated to reflect changes in prices, promotions, or menu items. On the other hand, self-service kiosks are interactive touchscreens that allow customers to place their orders and make payments without needing a cashier.
Reducing labor costs
One of the biggest advantages of digital menu boards and self-service kiosks is that they can help to reduce labor costs. Traditional menu boards must be updated manually, which can be time-consuming and error-prone. However, with digital menu boards, updates can be made remotely, saving significant amounts of time and money. Similarly, self-service kiosks can help reduce the need for cashiers, saving money on labor costs.
They can help to enhance the overall customer experience
Digital menu boards are more visually appealing than traditional ones and can be designed to draw attention to special deals or promotions. Self-service kiosks also help reduce wait times by allowing customers to place their orders. They can be integrated with mobile payment systems, making the ordering process faster and more convenient.
Digital menu boards and self-service kiosks also offer an important data point for the restaurant. With analytics and tracking, these technologies can help the restaurant understand customer behavior better, such as most bought items at certain times and most commonly used languages. This information can be used to make better business decisions such as product development, pricing, and promotions.
One additional benefit of digital menu boards is that, in comparison to traditional menu boards, they often have a more appealing appearance to the eye.
Customers will have an easier time locating the items they are looking for if the promotions and special deals currently being offered are highlighted on the digital displays. Additionally, digital menu boards can be programmed to display different menus or prices depending on the time of day or the day of the week, which can help increase sales and improve customer experience.
In terms of functionality, McDonald's menu boards are known for their flexibility. The company regularly updates its menu offerings and promotions, and the menu boards can be easily updated to reflect these changes. It allows McDonald's to respond quickly to changes in customer demand and remain competitive in the fast food market. For example, the board can be updated easily when Mcdonald's introduces new products or limited-time-only promotions. QSRs can easily adapt to new menus and marketing strategies without investing in new menu boards.
Reducing perceived wait times
Digital menu boards and self-service kiosks reduce perceived wait times for QSRs by giving customers more control over their ordering experience. With digital menu boards, customers can quickly view all available menu items, eliminating the need to wait in line to read a paper menu. Additionally, self-service kiosks allow customers to place and pay for orders without interacting with a cashier, further reducing wait times. It helps to create a faster, more efficient ordering process, which can help to reduce perceived wait times and improve customer satisfaction.
For example, one study published in the International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management found that implementing digital menu boards at a QSR decreased customer-perceived wait times. The study found that customers who used the digital menu board reported waiting an average of 5.5 minutes, while customers who did not use the digital menu board reported waiting an average of 7 minutes.
Another study published in the Journal of Foodservice Business Research found that customers who used self-service kiosks reported waiting an average of 2.5 minutes, while customers who did not use the self-service kiosks reported waiting an average of 4.5 minutes.
McDonald's self-service kiosks also customize the order more specifically and personalize it to the customer's preferences. For example, customers can choose extra cheese or add more sauce or toppings. The added personalization can lead to increased sales and better customer satisfaction.
Despite the clear benefits of digital menu boards and self-service kiosks, some restaurant owners may be hesitant to invest in these technologies due to their initial costs. While it is true that digital menu boards and self-service kiosks can be expensive to install and maintain, it's important to remember that they can ultimately save money in the long run by reducing labor costs and improving the customer experience. Furthermore, research shows that consumers prefer using digital menu boards and self-service kiosks in their fast food experience.
According to a report by NPD Group, nearly 60% of fast-food customers prefer ordering at self-service kiosks to ordering at a counter. This percentage has also been increasing in recent years and is expected to continue in the coming years.
So, are McDonald's menu boards truly an industry standard or an unpredictable investment? Answer: It depends on how you look at it. On the one hand, McDonald's menu boards are designed to be easy to read and up-to-date, making them an attractive option for franchisees. On the other hand, the cost of investing in and maintaining these menu boards can be a significant concern. Ultimately, whether McDonald's menu boards are an industry standard or an unpredictable investment will depend on the specific circumstances of each franchisee or owner.
Still, digital menu boards and self-service kiosks are quickly becoming the must-have thing for fast food chains. These technologies offer several benefits, including reduced labor costs, improved customer experience, and more accurate data tracking. While an initial cost is associated with digital menu boards and self-service kiosks, research suggests that long-term savings and improved customer experience make them worthwhile for any quick-service restaurant (QSR).