Restaurant drive thru lanes have the potential to increase sales in fast food up to 8 percent. That’s on top of the estimated 70 percent of sales that take place at drive thru windows. What’s the secret? Digital signage holds the key to boosting sales for fast food chains.

As profit margins are squeezed, competition increases and operational costs rise, fast food joints are looking for a new angle to boost revenue. There are many voices offering ideas on how to increase sales in fast food. Many have tried some of those suggestions, without success.

The problem is that many of the suggestions put forward are based on the experiences of fast food chains that have seen success as a result of following such advice. However, tactics used to boost fast food sales by one restaurant won’t necessarily work for the next fast food chain.

Drive thru digital signage gives you the edge

Drive thru digital signage on the other hand is proven to deliver a consistent sales boost on a weekly basis for small and large fast food chains alike.

How? It all stems from the use of digital menu boards indoors. Fast food chains upgrading from static, illuminated poster menus to digital menu boards with moving images experienced a shift in customer spend.

Using Prime Burger – a UK-based hamburger chain – as an example, a press release issued by the company described how ‘like-for-like sales across their chain’ increased by 50 percent as a result of installing digital menu boards in mid-2016.

It was early success stories like this that led to the next evolution of digital menu boards used by the fast food industry, as the focus switched from indoors to reaching customers outdoors.

With upwards of 70 percent of QSR sales occurring at the drive thru, going digital outdoors represents a logical step when the goal is to boost sales of fast food. What makes drive thru digital signage so effective is the versatility it gives fast food chains, stripping away the limitations of static posters and panels.

How to leverage digital menu boards at the drive thru

A digital signage network at the drive thru can serve multiple functions at once, for instance:

  • Presales… Promote a brand new menu item at the drive thru entrance and sow the seed for a potential unplanned purchase
  • To upsell… Displays can feature high ticket items to tempt customers into additional purchases
  • To run promotions… Drive thru digital signage can be used to present eye-catching meal deal promotions
  • Segmenting menu items… Point customers to your bestselling menu items rather than having them trawl through your entire menu. This also speeds up the number of orders processed in an hour.

Fast food joints are cashing in on drive thru digital signage because of its ability to attract customers, speed up the drive thru lane and improve the customer experience.

Improving the customer experience is where the money is at

However, digital signage isn’t a guarantee of more sales. What really drives sales is the way in which your menu is presented at the drive thru. An easy to read menu prompts quicker buying decisions, speeding up the drive thru lane, which ultimately leads to a positive customer experience.

Used correctly, digital signage enables fast food chains to present easily digestible content and, with 74 percent of QSR customers putting an easy to read menu at the top of their list for making a purchase – according to a study conducted by Panasonic – a simple menu layout not only attracts customers, it keeps them coming back for more.

Digital Signage is convenient too

Aside from the sales boosting benefits that drive thru digital signage brings to the table, outdoor digital menu boards offer convenience too. Updating menus with new items or price changes can be done almost instantly, whereas a print run to replace static menu boards can take up to two weeks, plus you have to pay for the privilege.

Dayparting is made easier too, fast food chains can switch between breakfast, lunch and main menus, seamlessly. Better still, this can be done across multiple sites so that menus change in sync.

As a means of increasing sales across the fast food industry, digital signage at the drive thru offers the complete package and represents an excellent return on investment. In fact, Eclipse Digital Media estimates that QSRs will recoup the cost of their digital menu board investment anywhere between 9 and 18 months.