Quick service restaurants (QSRs) across the country are dedicated to providing valuable, timely, and cost-effective food delivery options for their customers, and Smoothie King is no different. But this QSR chain also prioritizes offering health-centric and tailored smoothie options for their clientele, which can often change based on the time of year, promotions from corporate headquarters, and the latest healthy trends.
Local owner-operators of Smoothie King franchises have historically relied on using printed menus in lightbox displays—both inside and outside—to present ordering options and deals to customers. But this has become an outdated and ineffective process as updating physical menus can often take weeks as franchise operators must send menu revisions over to corporate so they can make the graphic design changes, and then the menus need to be printed and shipped by a third-party supplier.
Smoothie King was looking for a digitized business solution that at the core would allow the operators to make menu changes without the wait time of going to the franchisor and offer in real-time changes to localize their promotions and menu items, as well as upsell high-margin add-ons. This need was expedited by the COVID-19 pandemic as one-on-one sales interactions between employees & customers were largely interrupted, making effective drive-thru menu boards an essential component for revenue.
Smoothie King franchisees turned to Samsung display technology to innovate their operations by integrating an updated indoor and outdoor digital signage with remote management capabilities. The Samsung collaboration encompasses the development, delivery, and management of a turnkey technology solution, including indoor digital menu display boards, an outdoor-ready multiscreen setup for drive-thru lanes, and promotional displays in store windows.
Several Smoothie King locations across Florida, Texas, Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri deployed Samsung displays in their stores to make menu changes in real-time to influence consumers’ buying decisions, optimize visual presentations as a marketing tool, and maintain a new, successful drive-thru business that jumped up from 70 percent to 90 percent of sales during the pandemic.
The Samsung display technology, managed by Washington State-based digital signage solutions provider C3MS for immediate content changes, includes:
- 49-inch narrow-bezel LCD displays behind the ordering counters in tiled ribbon arrays, delivering UHD 4K visuals, and uses a combination of upscaling, color optimization and anti-glare technologies to optimize menus as customers place their orders.
- A set of three 46-inch outdoor-rated, high-brightness displays are stationed at the ordering position of the drive-thru. The screens are weatherproof, self-cooling, filter-free, and they're designed to be visible in even the brightest, sunniest operating conditions.
- A separate 46-inch "pre-sell" display is positioned earlier in the drive-thru lane to promote new products and special offers.
- Samsung's dual-sided, super-bright LCD OMN-D display is set up in a window, running promotions aimed at motorists and pedestrian traffic. On the other side of the window, a second screen faces the inside of the store, visible to customers as they weigh their ordering decisions.
- All of the displays are commercial-grade, rated for uninterrupted 24/7 duty and include a three-year warranty.
The Smoothie King chain has seen immediate benefits to the integration of Samsung display technology. Yonas Hagos, an operator of seven Smoothie King locations, has seen the advantages of a digitized system and having increased autonomy over solutions and programs that impact his business. "If I want to do certain things, or do certain specials, it's just easy when you have digital," he said.
Hagos also highlighted the aesthetics of Samsung’s bright digital screens and the ability to run changeable, full-motion messaging. "It's more attractive to the consumer," he added. "It looks cleaner, and we're in the 21st century, you know; we've got to move with the times and not become a tired old brand."
With the success seen across the select locations that have deployed Samsung signage, Smoothie King’s chief development officer, Kevin King, commented on the future of a larger roll-out saying, "We are strong believers in consistency in our stores, so widespread adoption is a long-term goal. Samsung has also been a great partner. We love the quality of their products and the innovation they bring to having full digital capability in our stores."