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The Wendy’s Company, well-known in the hamburger segment, entered the game of digital menu boards on drive-thru back in 2009. It is also said that Wendy’s introduced the concept of drive thru.
I personally am a huge fan of Wendy’s and predictably, it’s the Baconator on their menu that steels my heart even to this day. Baconator with spicy nuggets to the side are a match made in heaven!
According to a report on Digital Signage Today , Wendy’s set out on a mission to improve customer engagement in 2010. Despite 70% of the chain’s business being conducted via drive-thru, the company aimed to boost dine-in traffic. Digital signage was the first step Wendy’s took to achieve this goal.
Being an established brand itself, Wendy’s has been applying several innovations to their digital menu boards content to stay connected with crowds of every age over.
I am in my late 20’s and remember the expansive menu of Wendy’s so much that if I am in jitters about deciding what to order, I will go to Wendy’s.
When Wendy’s started employing digital signages, it created their own content that revolved around Limited Time Offers (LTOs) and even went on to feature Twitter streams. Their primary goal was to have screens showing content that is not boring but more relevant.
They wanted to lure more customers inside the outlet and not just drive thrus. With this kind of content, they saw a positive change in their customers wanting to dine inside the outlet.
Being a foodie, I always take benefit of several LTOs that could include BOGOs, Happy Hours, or offers on seasonal menu specials.
The takeaway: Learn more about what your customers want and come up with offers that prompt them to give your fast food joint a try. What worked for others might not work for you, so you must test and try out different things and see what works out for you.
The very first instinct while using digital menu boards is to make sure that the content on the screens is moving with some animation or has some sort of effect. This comes more as an appeal since it eliminates the stagnancy of paper menus.
But creating a balance to have the right kind of menu design is the art that leads to more orders via digital menu boards. Wendy’s excels in it.
The templates of Wendy’s strike a perfect balance on the kind of content being displayed on menu boards.
The Takeaway: Make sure your restaurant doesn’t sidetrack the digital menu board content with too many animations or none at all. Time them well enough so your customers have sufficient time to read the menu items.
Animations if too quick annoy the viewers and this will not work out in your favor.
Wendy’s has been a crowd favorite and people of every age group can go dine there but that didn’t stop them from leveraging its largest audience to get more sales. They introduced healthier options to target Millennials and connect with them on the health front.
Wendy’s accepted the trend of fast casual, and this naturally drew more crowd to it especially the millennials who form a major part of their target audience.
Their focus was to enrich their menu by introducing premium items, particularly emphasizing healthier options. In addition, they revamped some of their classic favorites by incorporating new enhancements, such as serving a bacon cheeseburger on a Ciabatta roll.
With the right presentation on digital menu boards, they managed to get ahead of the competition and relate with the millennials to a deeper level.
The Takeaway: Try to establish a niche in your target audience and make sure you are fulfilling all their needs. The only difference between you and your biggest competitor out there could be that you could be addressing specific needs which they are yet to work on. This gives you a competitive edge.
Wendy’s understood the importance of good quality photography a very long time ago and made sure that they tempted the customers with good photos of their food items.
They displayed large images that tend to have some effect on the viewer. They also took time to get an appealing shot and then used them on menu boards to get customers ordering more.
No wonder, even I cannot resist ordering more looking at those savoring images and this strategy clearly worked.
The Takeaway: Photographs could do 50% of the selling for you. Invest in good quality photographs and use them as a prompt for your customers to grab impulse orders.
The ‘feel-good factor’ can be generated by using words that your customers will tend to pay more attention to – like ‘Fresh’. Wendy’s used words that tend to create more impact on their customers and resonate more due to the giant-sized fonts being used on the digital menu boards to bring home the message.
This not only prompted the customers to order but also connected with them on an emotional level.
Another added benefit of this strategy is that your customers will be willing to pay more for food items that gel in with their lifestyle.
A good example of this could be a healthier option for bread. You could be serving gluten free bread or 100% whole wheat bread. Make sure this is highlighted on your digital menu board.
It’s been a couple of years since I have switched to gluten free bread, and I can safely say it doesn’t add to my guilt of eating out.
The Takeaway: Guilt-free food is a preference for most customers. Make sure you refine your food options and highlight them on the menu well enough to be noticed and restore the feel-good factor every time anyone orders at your outlet.
This is a game that many top QSR chains have been following. Wendy’s entered this game back in 2009 and even to this day offers a wide range of options that play on healthy ingredients.
Introducing salads with fresh strawberries and almonds, French fries with seasoned sea salt to now having Apple Bites to Parmesan Caeser Salad, they have so many healthy options based on ingredients that you could enjoy each every day.
Make sure to use the menu item names with specific ingredients on the digital menu boards to catch more interest.
I have observed a lot of my friends entering many food joints simply because they noticed their favorite ingredients on the menu boards. Some of these have even turned out to be regular hangouts for them.
The Takeaway: Customers are getting more and more specific about the kind of ingredients they want to include in their food so make sure your digital menu boards have ingredients for each menu item listed and bought to your customers attention with the right placement on the digital menu boards.
The game of digital menu boards has evolved over the period of several decades and well-known QSR chains have tried and implemented what has worked out the best for them.
With these strategies, you will start noticing significant changes in the way your food joint is looked at.
If you are looking for digital menu board software that makes it easy for you to design any kind of menu board of your choice, Dot Signage can be a perfect fit for you. We offer 500+ in-built templates that you can pick up and start editing as you need.
* The menu templates and images used in the blog are created by DotSignage and are a reference to the key highlighted points.
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