Covid-19 has severely impacted the quick service restaurant industry but many QSR chains that thrived during this period had heavily invested in outdoor digital signage and AI-driven computer vision technologies. These technologies have become increasingly important to the foodservice industry and we predict they will continue to play an even greater role as QSR chains adapt to the new normal.
Be prepared for smaller dining areas
Restaurant space planning will be very important as more guests embrace off-site dining. Many QSR brands are planning for smaller dining areas as they expand their drive-through capacity to deal with more off-site dining, and with food delivery services becoming more popular, dedicated delivery pick-up areas are also being planned. These are great opportunities for digital menu boards and outdoor digital signage.
For example, digital screens can inform visitors of current health and safety protocols or announce when take-out orders are ready for pick-up. In a post-Covid world, expect to see digital signage deployed in a much more targeted way.
Innovation will be key
Many QSR locations are expanding their take-out capacity by doubling and even tripling the number of drive-through lanes and pick-up windows. To reduce wait times, restaurant chains are starting to invest heavily in mobile apps so they can have orders ready by the time guests show up. These solutions rely on GPS-enabled apps that send location data to each store. As guests get closer to their designated restaurant, orders are processed, and electronic payments are collected for a contactless experience. By linking mobile app data to outdoor digital signage displays, QSR operators can offer personalized greetings and provide designated parking information.
AI-enhanced computer vision software products are also being adapted to optimize the drive-through experience. Navori’s AQUAJI Marketing Analytics software that can scan and recognize vehicles as they enter a restaurant’s parking lot, and once recognized, cars are redirected to specific drive-through lanes or pick-up windows where orders are waiting.
Computer vision software can monitor the length of drive-through queues, track each vehicle’s dwell time, and send alerts to management so they can assign more resources to speed up order processing. Efficient drive-through order processing is fast becoming essential to every restaurant’s success.
Expanding the restaurant outdoor
Outdoor digital signage screens are already a mainstay for many QSR chains, and we expect their use will continue to grow post-pandemic. Outdoor digital signage and computer vision analytics can help in many areas of the business:
⦁ Monitor and manage parking and drive-thru slots.
⦁ Reduce wait times.
⦁ Direct guests and delivery services to the correct pick-up area.
⦁ Confirm order items.
⦁ Propose sides and drink options based on order composition.
⦁ Promote higher-margin items on drive-through menu boards.
⦁ Display order numbers for pick-up.
⦁ Announce health and safety protocols for each location.
⦁ Improve the customer experience.
Understanding the guest’s journey is more important than ever
With smaller indoor dining areas and rapidly changing guest behavior, it pays to understand your customers, and this is where technology can have the greatest impact.
Digital menu boards paired with computer vision technology can play an important role in identifying trends and responding to changes effectively. Strategically placed cameras can capture information used to identify repeat customers or read automobile license plates and adapt menu offerings based on each guest’s profile.
Digital menu boards and outdoor signage are no longer exclusive to multinational restaurant chains. Today, independent chains and even individual restaurants can afford to invest in digital signage and computer vision technologies such as Navori Labs’ mature and affordable software solutions.