How to Increase Drive Thru Traffic with a Digital Menu Board Network

Drive thru digital menu board

If you’re in the fast food restaurant game, you will know that drive thru digital menu boards are trending right now. Nevertheless, you’ve resisted the urge to spend on a digital menu board network, unconvinced by the hype and thinking that digital signage can’t really add value to your drive thru lane. You’re wrong...

Call it a hunch, but your biggest objection to installing a drive thru digital menu board network is cost, right? In truth, digital signage isn’t cheap. However, it’s also true that 60 – 70 percent of fast food sales take place at the drive-thru window. You’re probably thinking, ‘so what?’

The fact of the matter is that without a digital menu board network at the drive thru, you have absolutely no influence on the buying decisions of more than two-thirds of your customer base. If you have been pondering how to increase fast food sales, then going digital at the drive thru is your golden ticket to boosting profits.

Examining customer habits even closer, around 57 percent of customers at hamburger joints use the drive thru window. Meanwhile, 40 percent of patrons at quick service Mexican restaurants opt to use the drive thru and 38 percent of customers at chicken fast food restaurants head for the drive thru lane.

What does all this mean for you? In the face of overwhelming evidence that the drive thru lane is a hotspot for fast food lovers, it’s not a question of whether you can afford to invest in a digital menu board network, it’s a question of whether you can afford not to.

How Can a Digital Menu Board Network Add Value To Your Drive Thru Lane?

Digital menu board network

'Digital Drive Thru Menu Boards Can Form Part of a Wider Strategy, i.e. Promoting Loyalty Cards.'

Looking at this from a business perspective, you’re probably not thinking about the benefits that a drive thru digital menu display network can bring to your fast food joint. Right now, you’re no doubt calculating the risks involved and whether you will see a return on investment, if you decide to deploy digital menus at the drive thru.

However, drive thru digital signage gives you so much more than enhanced profitability, it makes a statement and improves operational efficiency.

More importantly, it improves the customer experience, which in an industry where the stakes are high in terms of engaging fast food patrons, digital menus at the drive thru could be the difference between gaining a loyal customer and losing them to a competitor.

As a longer term strategy, digital signage at the drive thru gives you stable and consistent results in terms of increasing fast food sales. Equally, going digital at the drive thru will attract more customers, while adding value to your QSR in the following ways:

#1 - Customer Engagement

Poorly maintained drive thru menu boards

'Tired Looking, Poorly Maintained Drive Thru Menu Boards Do Little for Customer Engagement.'

For a moment, imagine that you’re visiting a fast food joint and you opt to use the drive thru. On your approach, you have a choice of two lanes… lane 1 has tired, tatty looking menu boards that are difficult to read and it takes you ages to order what you want. Lane 2 on the other hand has bright, bold and vibrant interactive displays, with high quality images of menu items that look appetizing. Selecting what you want is straight forward and you breeze through the ordering process quicker than you expected.

Which sounds more engaging? The point we’re making is that presentation is power when it comes to customer engagement. Eye-catching, easy to read menus help customers select their meals faster. Hypothetically, this should speed up the ordering process and enable your fast food joint to process more orders per hour.

#2 – Menu Changes Made Easier

Triple-Screen, Printed Menu Boards

'Gone Are the Days of Having to Change Triple-Screen, Printed Menu Boards Just to Add a Menu Item.'

If your QSR wants to change prices, add or remove menu items then digital menu boards make it easy. Not only do you save money, you save time and you’re able to present updated menus to customers in real time. Equally, you can switch between, breakfast, lunch and dinner menus remotely across your entire chain, improving operational efficiency.

#3 – Pre-Sell, Cross-Sell and Up-Sell

Digital Signage drive thru

'Digital Signage Makes Menu Items Look More Appetizing, Persuading Customers to Potentially Spend More.'

Digital drive thru menu boards give you the power to influence fast food patrons in ways printed displays can’t compete with. You can capitalise on customer buying impulses with digital menu displays that direct customers towards high ticket menu items, seasonal specials or limited time offers.

The value of digital menu boards at the drive thru is that they allow you to display multiple menu items interactively, without looking too cluttered. This gives you the freedom and flexibility to come up with more creative menu displays, while making it easier for fast food patrons to select what they want, rather than having to squint to view your menu.

#4 - Brand Image

Drive thru Digital Signage Menu Boards

'Drive Thru Digital Menu Boards Are a Powerful Tool for Boosting Your QSR Brand.'

Drive thru digital menu boards will boost your brand image, driving more traffic to your drive thru lane(s), attracting new customers and retaining loyal ones. There’s no better way to communicate to your customers that you’re a forward-thinking, fast food joint than by deploying outdoor digital menu boards at the drive thru.

Customers love digital, in fact, 29.5 percent of QSR patrons say that digital menu displays have directly influenced a menu purchase, according to SignStix. Meanwhile, a National Restaurant Association survey uncovered that 41 percent of 18 – 34 years olds choose a QSR joint based on the availability of digital tech.

If that’s not evidence enough that digital is worthy of your drive thru lane then we don’t know what is. Digital is clearly a draw for fast food patrons, so if you give them the incentive they will come. More drive thru traffic equals… increased revenue, a swift return on investment, greater brand recognition and enhanced customer loyalty.

Need more proof that digital drive thru menu boards can add value to your fast food joint? Download this meta-research infographic, which reveals the hottest fast food formula for boosting sales at QSR drive thru windows.

*To give you an idea of what drive thru design involves, the City of Markham council in California has done a very good job of outlining the policies and procedures that apply to drive-thru restaurant facilities in their ‘Design Guidelines’ published in 2010.