[Editor's note: An expanded version of this article, and additional coverage of the QSR market, can be accessed by clicking here.]
Premier Mounts co-CEO Rich Pierro recently shared his insights with NewBay’s Digital Signage magazine on the developments in the industry, addressing the perspective of restaurant owners looking to take advantage of new digital signage solutions technology.
Premier Mounts co-CEO Rich Pierro
Where is digital signage for QSR’s heading, in the near term?
On the technology side of things, we see the expanding migration to 4K displays and 4K capable media players. This provides more picture information, more color, and better contrast for the viewers for an improved experience. We see a significant growth and expanding applications of fine pitch direct-view LED displays. Videowalls overall are growing at nearly 25% per year.
On the mount side, we see a realization of the need for dedicated mounts for the QSR industry that are sturdy and attractive but non-intrusive and be efficient (lower cost of labor) to install for lower TCO. On the software side, CMS providers are working ever more closely with the QSR industry to better meet their needs, in terms of proving ROI. Analytics, and providing metrics on the efficacy of signs and content, are taking center stage.
Where is digital signage technology heading in the future?
We like to say when technology, applications, and prices converge, opportunities arise. From a technology point of view, we will see brighter and higher resolution flat panels including LCD, OLED, and direct view LED. They will have media players built in with what is called systems on a chip (SoC). There will be advances in beacon technologies to pair displays with smartphones. Interactivity will become the norm. Analytics will be built into many displays, giving the QSR an idea of who views what, what they are looking at, and for how long. In terms of applications, the trend will be to “control and influence” the entire customer visit from outside the QSR, from they drive by to when they enter the venue, place their orders, wait for their orders, eat their food, and then leave the establishment. And the good news overall is that prices will continue to decline as volume increases.
What are common misconceptions that restaurant leaders have about digital signage?
The biggest misconception is that digital signage is only a two-dimensional way to look at a one-dimensional static sign. It is so much more, and there is a real lack of understanding of all that digital signage can do as a tool to improve the experience, expand customer loyalty, and ensure repeat business. The second largest misconception is that digital signage is expensive. If properly designed, it does not cost, it pays in increased ROI. Last but not least, there is a disconnect on what content does, the need to refresh it regularly, and what constitutes good and effective content.
How can a restaurant or QSR franchise owner best choose digital signage?
First of all, start out with an articulation of specific objectives and gain consensus from the stakeholders. Digital signage is a tool and a tool that does work. What work do you want that tool to accomplish? After that, look at the kinds of content you want on the signs. Content is critical since it is the “vehicle” that delivers on the objectives. Next, comes design. Where do the screens go to be most effective, and how large should they be? And, of course, where and how will they be mounted for use and for service after the sale? The software comes next and is the backbone of the system. You need to select a content management system (CMS) that provides the management and flexibility you need. Now for the sometimes not-so-easy part: select your hardware, connectivity to the network, and understand how it will be installed.
An expert partner in digital signage keeps an eye on ROI by meeting your objectives, controlling total cost of ownership, and running an effective digital signage network from a single display to company-wide. Premier Mounts experts can help connect the dots – a good example of their recent work is the tailored digital solution designed for Pizza Hut.