Implementing Digital Menu Boards: Should Cost be a Factor for QSRs?
Last week, we covered some of the basics of digital menu boards in quick service restaurants (QSRs), in particular how they serve to drive sales via content (specials, store events and company news) and a better overall customer experience (easier, clearer ordering and the potential for more effective engagement). This week, we’ll talk about one of biggest barriers to adoption, and that’s cost.
Anyone involved in the QSR industry is aware that investments in equipment upgrades or other costly updates have to made extremely wisely. Unfortunately, as the market continues to expand far beyond ubiquitous burger chains and into more upscale, fast-casual experiences, competition will only continue to increase, resulting in shrinking margins and additional “belt tightening” measures. Therefore, putting large sums of money into digital menu boards may not at first seem like the best place to make a change. However, that thinking is often incorrect. In fact:
- Costs have dropped precipitously over the last few years, and continue to drop. As demand for commercial-grade screens has grown, costs to purchase them have moved in an equal and opposite direction.
- Previously prohibitively-expensive content templates have dropped in concert with the cost of digital displays. The cost of generating this type of content has therefore fallen as well, as it requires less technical knowledge and skill to develop, write and edit this type of content than it has in the past.
- Installation costs have fallen dramatically. Once, these expenses could easily add up to $8000+ or more for a single location and take multiple days, requiring store closures that cost locations in both dollars and levels of customer satisfaction. Now, installation of digital displays is generally less than $1000 and can be completed in a single day.
- Many QSRs have seen rapid increases in ROIs of 4-5% from the implementation of digital menu boards, quickly negating the costs of initial adoption. In fact, using an average annual per-unit sales number of 1M, it could take fewer than six months to recapture the entire per-unit investment, leading to a net profit over the course of one year of close to $29K, and an almost 3% increase in total sales, year over year -- exactly what stockholders and investors want to see.
When taking into consideration the above, it stands to reason that it is often much more cost effective for operators to choose digital screens over traditional displays, especially when taking the long-term effects into consideration.
While the decision to implement digital menu boards is not a small investment, careful planning and a complete understanding of your QSR’s objectives will go a long way toward making the investment a smart one. Come back next week when we’ll talk more about digital menu boards in QSR environments. And if you’ve already decided that digital menu boards are right for your business, simply request a quote online or call (800) 628-3603 today and RedyRef will be there every step of the way to ensure your company’s unique signage needs and goals are met.