The Importance of AV in the Restaurant Business
If you are what you eat, as the saying goes, it follows that you are what you watch and hear before and during a restaurant meal. Creating experiences in hospitality, particularly in the high-pressure realm of restaurant operations, is salient to attracting and retaining a customer base.
And in order to be successful in this highly competitive restaurant landscape, owners must consider customer-based innovations to increase the attraction level of their restaurant experience, said Brian McClimans, vice president of global business development, Peerless-AV.
“This is being done through the use of digital entertainment, digital experiential offers, in addition to loyalty programs and special offers,” he said. “Such things as interactive trivia games, to VR devices, to special text-based offers have proven to help improve the experience and overall value.”
See the Sign
Digital signage displays give customers something more interesting to look at than the head of the person in front of them, noted Garry Wicka, head of marketing, LG Electronics Business Solutions.
“The more interesting, relevant, and engaging your content, the more effectively it works. This is one reason that we hear that restaurateurs often prefer digital signage that is engaging from every angle. Digital signage can also provide a new way to interact with the restaurants themselves—ordering kiosks, entertainment content, and, of course, a better way to highlight the products themselves.”
And what are hospitality clients asking for? The biggest movement in the hospitality industry is the need for higher quality, better resolution, and of course, larger sizes, Wicka said.
“A larger screen with a higher resolution is going to capture guests’ attention a lot more than the older, smaller models.”
With restaurants consistently looking for new ways of engaging clients, Peerless-AV has been noticing a rise in entertainment venues expanding their focus on food, to create both an interactive experience as well as a restaurant experience. Examples can be seen with Lucky Strike, Level257 (local IL location), and Top Golf, McClimans said. “These venues have created numerous opportunities for digital signage in the food space such as digital menu boards and self ordering kiosks, etc., as well as entertainment such as TVs showing sports, interactive kiosks, and wayfinding, etc. These models have been proving to be quite successful.”
The huge uptick in digital menu boards over the past few years is now extending to the outdoor space, specifically in drive-throughs, Wicka noted.
He also anticipates that more and more, displays are going to be seen as a part of the design of the facilities, rather than an afterthought. “This means you will see more types of displays that can potentially be placed throughout a restaurant.”
Now Hear This
QSC has seen opportunities in chain restaurants and restaurants that are part of larger venues, said David Fuller, senior director, product development, loudspeakers, QSC.
“The more QSC becomes involved in the facility-wide audio solution, (messaging, paging, touchscreen controllers, amplifiers, and distributed loudspeakers, etc.) the more likely it is that ancillary zones such as bars and restaurants are integrated into the wider system, with the added benefit of centralized control and monitoring.” Restaurants, cafes, and especially bars demand high-quality amplifier and loudspeaker products more than corporate and education markets, where amplifiers and loudspeaker are of much lower dollar value than the audio DSP and video control products”, he added.
More Food, Please
As the restaurant market, including dedicated eateries, grows, so do the opportunities. Many companies has been very focused on helping their customers provide a better customer experience through digital signage.
Many restaurants are incorporating digital menu boards and digital entertainment, like Buffalo Wild Wings, which has trivia playing on TVs throughout the restaurant, or Chili’s, which outfits each table with a desktop tablet setup that offers games for its patrons along with the standard restaurant services.