Digital signage continues to see strong growth, with global revenue reaching $14 billion in 2013 and predictions from IHS to reach $17 billion by 2017. For retail and restaurants, making the move into digital signage is often a big move accompanied by a steep learning curve.
For the Dairy Queen® system, the entry into digital signage began as a grassroots push. Franchisees were seeing competition move into the digital arena, and wanted a way to modernize menus and displays for their stores.
They began the upgrade by adding digital feature panels in select locations, usually near the register to make the most impact. Soon they moved into testing full menu boards. The testing was successful and led to widespread approval of new menu boards for all new and remodeled stores. Feature panels are required at all new locations.
“Besides the additional merchandising opportunity, our customers who are walking by are stopping to see what is going on because we have a moving message,” said Kurt Schauermann, DQ® franchisee. “It is the future for our business.”
About 400 locations have at least a digital feature panel so far. The Dairy Queen® system expects to add 100 screens a year as new stores come on board.
The content for these displays is pushed from corporate to the screens on the network; however, local franchises can also use a web portal to edit some of the content with prices and store hours. A library of content to select from is available to cover just about every product.
“It’s a great system,” said Janna Rider, American Dairy Queen Corporation Director of Digital Marketing. “Our franchisees seem pretty happy with it.”
One such franchisee is Justin J. Kraus, Vice President of Fourteen Foods in Bloomington, Minnesota.
“We are excited about the modern feel that the digital panels bring to the restaurant, enhancing the guest experience,” he said. “After testing the full digital menu boards at one location, we will be continuing on with this project with six new restaurants that will be incorporating full digital menu boards.”
As Rider tests messaging and content to see what works best for improving sales, she values placement of the message to get the best results.
“If you don’t have the screen placed in the right spot, it doesn’t matter what your content is; it isn’t going to be successful,” Rider said. “Placement is more important than content.”
Chief brand mounts have been an integral part in the move to digital signage. With 3,000 different Dairy Queen® location layouts, Chief’s variety of solutions are helpful in getting the signage placed precisely where it will be the most effective.
Chief’s Fusion Series has wall and ceiling mount versions, so no matter the location, menu boards and signage can be placed where they will have the most impact. For swing arm needs, Thinstall Series mounts include options for 10-58” screens and a full line of supporting accessories. Across all Chief product lines, industry-first features keep installations on schedule and ready to order.
“We have buildings that have been around for almost 75 years. Others are brand new,” Rider said. “Chief has been able to help us in almost every possible avenue.”