Digital Menus Grab Attention

By Robert Lopez, Co-Owner/Operator, JMJ-LLC | February 14, 2011

In the fast-moving McCarran International Airport, JMJ-LLC Wendy’s (www.wendys.com) decided it was necessary to increase their visibility against other food court eateries. Already intrigued by digital menu board (DMB) technology, JMJ-LLC Wendy’s management decided a digital adaptation of specific food choices would be an ideal way to draw attention particularly given Las Vegas’ dynamic atmosphere.

The company was familiar with WAND Corporation’s (www.wandcorp.com) Digital Restaurant and considered it a cutting-edge solution. JMJ-LLC also preferred having one cohesive solution where all technology components, including point-of-sale (POS) and digital menu boards, were integrated together.

The installation was orderly and timely, taking place before the scheduled opening. Four horizontal DMBs were installed along with two digital point-of-purchase (POP) boards mounted on either side of the ordering counter. The customized solution was designed to fit behind the security gate that closes up access to the counter after hours.

Influencing orders
JMJ-LLC‘s Wendy’s Digital Restaurant has been a success since opening day. Management at JMJ-LLC is pleased with the attention and interaction their digital boards get from customers; they report that the “initial excitement, gawking of competitors, and photos taken by customers made it a wild opening.” Customers, for the most part, were ordering exactly what they saw on the screens, and within a week JMJ-LLC was seeing a correlation between the product mix and sales.

Within ten days, JMJ-LLC realized the changes they were making on the DMBs and POPs were definitively impacting their customers’ orders. For example, their content rotation of dessert drinks saw a sizeable increase in the specific products shown, and (similarly) after a few weeks of playing with combo content, they found that the combos shown on-screen were chosen nearly half the time in the product mix. JMJ-LLC is able to track these changes due to the integration between their Digital Menu Board system and POS system, also provided by WAND.

The Digital Menu Board system has allowed JMJ-LLC the creativity and flexibility to control what products are shown, and when. Managers favor the simplicity in making price changes; updates happen within 24 hours. They are able to promote local events with customizable content, which draws even more attention. For example, during a recent NASCAR event in Las Vegas, JMJ-LLC added a message welcoming NASCAR fans. Passers-by took video of the imagery and posed for photos in front of the boards.

JMJ-LLC also credits the display boards for the sales increase of Chicken Strips. Originally a test product and selling slowly in traditional stores, JMJ-LLC’s Chicken Strip sales more than tripled after being shown on the DMBs. The McCarran site is the highest volume store in the Wendy’s system, grossing more than $3 million in its first year, and is also the highest selling breakfast store. Every afternoon they roll breakfast content for a few hours with the intention of drawing traffic from airport employees the following morning.

Order consistency breeds satisfaction
JMJ-LLC reports steady, or above average sales consistency. Despite a period of construction on the McCarran Airport’s C-Gate, Wendy’s sales base has remained uncompromised. Employees maintain a high level of pride and commitment to their store and customers, and customers are able to better understand food choices.

The company is seriously considering installing a DMB system as part of the remodeling plan in their Phoenix Airport location, and at other locations. Furthering their scope of digital menu board use, JMJ-LLC will be deploying a total digital drive-thru in a non-airport Wendy’s site in 2011. They’re looking to specifically impact drive-thru percent with digital.
 
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