As the world enters 2021 with a pandemic still undefeated, it is time to rethink how people interact with each other. This is especially relevant for the restaurant industry that suffered a large hit by coronavirus-related restrictions. So here are the restaurant digital signage trends for 2021 to keep things that will matter this year in focus.
State of the restaurant industry
2020 saw restaurants on a brink of catastrophe. The crisis was universal, hitting both the big chains and independent restaurants. Numbers don’t bring any positivity to the picture. One in four restaurants is at risk for closure per Forbes. According to the National Restaurant Association the industry has already lost $120 billion. And the pit just keeps getting bigger.
While many turned to delivery as a lifeline, it is still unclear how the industry can survive another year of restrictions. The main risk for the restaurants as a whole is more of an existential nature too. As social distancing becomes a new norm, the social character of going out can change over the years. And this inevitably brings change to the ways restaurants operate and tests their ability to stay afloat and be competitive.
Restaurant digital signage can help survive these turbulent times
Fortunately, not all is lost. There are ways to save the industry and with proper analysis and flawless execution, the industry players can adapt to the pandemic world. Technology is one of the solutions. But not technology for technology’s sake. It is important to adopt features that work specifically for your restaurant and adopt them with an understanding of the outcomes.
Restaurant digital signage is one such solution. Before the pandemic, it was a game changer. Now with COVID-19, it seems more relevant than ever.
Digital screen technology gives restaurants flexibility, speed and visual power. Customers may have changed the ways they interact with your restaurant but we still live in capitalism and competition is a strong part of the day-to-day life of a restaurant. To stand out and amaze you have to turn to proven marketing solutions.
Let’s review the TOP-6 restaurant digital signage trends of 2021.
1. Digital menus go outdoors
The change from the regular paper-based menu to a digital one was already a great trend that shaped the ways how restaurants interact with customers before the pandemic. In 2021 digital menus became a necessity. And outdoor became in large part the only way to interact with a customer.
It is not enough to just implement it, it is vital to have your outdoor digital menu as enticing as possible to your potential customer. We are talking about the content here, the presentation of various propositions, and highlighting of the special offers. Your menu has to be interesting to look at.
2. Brighter, flashier displays
When outdoors becomes the main competition arena for restaurants the brighter and flashier it is in many ways defines your success with a customer.
High-quality content shown on a bright screen that is seen from various angles will have a much better effect than a bleak presentation on a low-quality screen. So when choosing the right technology for your restaurant keep in mind how exactly the customer will see it.
3. Queue management
Takeaway and delivery are currently the only options restaurants have to stay afloat where the lockdown restrictions are in place. Delivery means dealing with different services that make sure that your food comes to the customer. That’s when time management becomes crucial to bringing your customer the best experience possible in present circumstances. While you can’t control the delivery services, you can make their work more organized with digital signage queue management.
Deploy screens at your restaurant that will show the orders and waiting times. This will make the delivery process more organized and disciplined. Also, as digital screens are versatile, once the things are back to normal, you will be able to use them for other purposes like showing promotions, interacting with customers or as digital menu boards. So it’s always a win-win for you.
4. Self-service kiosks
Social distancing has been heralded as one of the most effective ways to contain the spread of COVID-19. For the restaurant industry that means less human-to-human interaction. Self-service kiosks were already a big thing for the industry but in the pandemic era they are more than relevant.
Deploying a self-service screen means not only limiting the interaction between your customers and staff but it also gives you a powerful marketing tool. The kiosk serves as both the digital menu and as a content machine that you can use to present promotion deals, add social media elements, inform and amaze. And again, it is very versatile too. With proper software you can adapt the self-service kiosk to your marketing needs.
5. Playing an active part in a coronavirus fight
Restaurants are social establishments. One of the reasons for lockdowns around the world is to limit the interactions between persons. That’s why when everything reopens the main challenge will be to make sure that people are following the social distancing rules. Screen technology is one of the best ways to make this communication effective. Digital signage is quick and visual and it helps to get the message through.
If you already implement the screen technology at your restaurant, the coronavirus information can be easily combined with the marketing content. Not only are you making sure that the social distancing measures are being followed, you’re also sending a clear message to your customers that you care about their wellbeing.
6. Social media integration
Social media is omnipresent in our lives. Restaurants heavily rely on it to spread the word about their proposition, put themselves on the map, promote new stuff, communicate with present and potential customers. Being social is absolutely vital for a restaurant in 2021. Digital signage helps drastically with that.
When you have indoor or outdoor screens you can easily use them for social media promotion. Display your handles on networks, craft eye-popping call-to-action asking to subscribe, make social media competitions, interact with your customers in real-time, gather feedback and display it. Get creative with your promotion and make screens work for you.