Enhancing the Dining Experience with Digital Signage
The restaurant industry is in the midst of a strong comeback, driven in part by pent-up consumer demand for in-person dining and social experiences. Savvy restaurant operators are leveraging digital signage technology to enhance those experiences.
The number of people dining out is finally back to pre-pandemic levels, according to the National Restaurant Association, because “consumers are hungry to connect over shared meals.” Eighty-four percent of consumers surveyed for the trade association’s 2023 State of the Restaurant Industry report said going out to a restaurant with family and friends is a better use of their leisure time than cooking and cleaning up.
Digital signage provides new ways for restaurant operators to engage and entertain customers. In addition to using digital menu boards, more restaurants are using wall-sized displays and interactive touchscreens to interact with diners in fun and creative ways. Here are four specific ways restaurants use digital signage to enhance the dining experience:
The entry area where diners wait for a table creates a critical first impression and can influence the entire dining experience. Placing displays in waiting areas can provide customers with a welcome distraction that reduces perceived wait times. In addition to displaying menu items and nutritional information, you can promote upcoming events, daily specials, happy hour discounts and limited-time offers. News, weather and sports updates, viral videos, and music videos can also provide a welcome distraction for those waiting.
Restaurants and bars commonly use wall-mounted displays to show live sporting events. That’s a big drawing card for many establishments, but there are many other entertainment options for places that want to set a different kind of mood. Digital displays can be used as leaderboards for a range of multiplayer games that guests can play against other diners or online communities. Regularly scheduled trivia nights are very popular options that some restaurants use to increase customer loyalty.
Branding and ambiance
Digital signage can reinforce a restaurant’s branding and create a specific atmosphere for your target audience. It can be used to play relaxing music, activate mood lighting and display theme-appropriate imagery. For example, an Italian restaurant might display images of Tuscan landscapes or Roman architecture, while an upscale contemporary restaurant might use video walls to display abstract art or geometric patterns.
Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, New Year’s Eve and Easter are the busiest days of the year for most restaurants, according to the National Restaurant Association. Because digital signage is so easy to update, it’s a snap to display content about special holiday menus, seasonal items, gift cards and holiday hours. You can also use signage to drive specialty sales on more unofficial holidays such as National Ice Cream Day, National Small Business Day, National Cookie Day or National Employee Appreciation Day. You can even quickly create personalized messaging to celebrate guests’ birthdays.
What makes a great dining experience? Good food tops the list for most of us, but that’s only one component. Hospitality, service, atmosphere and social interaction are also key elements. With people eager to return to their pre-pandemic dining patterns, restaurant operators can use digital signage to create a fun, entertaining and satisfying dining experience.
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