QSR's with AI Activated Digital Displays: A Walkthrough

The global fast food industry in 2022 is estimated to be worth a staggering 570 billion with convenience being listed as one of the top drivers for why consumers are flocking to quick service restaurants (QSR’s).

In a survey by Statista, out of 1,573 respondents, 73% listed convenience as their number one reason for choosing to eat at a fast food restaurant, among other influencing factors such as accessibility and affordability. Therefore if QSR owners want to stand out in a market that is not short of competition and maximize their bottom line, they must ensure that their on-premise ordering experiences are streamlined and user-oriented.  

One method to ensure smooth in-location dining experiences is by incorporating AI technology into restaurant digital signage and kiosks. This can be done by simply adding a camera to any digital display and by also integrating audience analytics technology. The benefits of this include; 

  • Offering real-time menu personalization 

  • Up-selling menu items based on customer personas 

  • Creating engaging digital experiences 

  • Improving ordering processes and flows

  • Increasing revenue

In order to get a better sense of how this type of technology works in a real-world scenario and to see the benefits come to life, we will walk you through a customer’s ordering journey in a QSR. Demonstrating how our audience analytics product, DeepSight, works in conjunction with various on-premise digital displays to encourage customer engagement, streamline the ordering process and drive up ticket sizes. 

The Customer Journey Begins

Scenario: A family of three (two adults and a child) walks into a local fast food restaurant. At the entrance, they see a digital screen which informs them that the restaurant is at a safe occupancy level for them to enter. One member of the family is not wearing a face mask. A kind message is shown to remind them to wear their mask until they are seated. The family member puts on their mask and enters the restaurant.

How does the AI work?

Using cameras embedded in the digital screen, audience analytics technology works to count the number of people entering the restaurant using face detection. This information is then used to update occupancy levels in real-time. At the same time, face mask detection is also in operation, detecting anyone who is not wearing a mask or who is failing to wear one correctly. This then flags a reminder message which has been predetermined and set using the restaurant’s CMS. The QSR owner uses a rules based system, which is set to show the message to anyone who is detected as not wearing a mask. The function can easily be turned on and off when needed, according to changing policies.

Value for the customer: The customer is reminded of the safety policies in place to protect them and staff members. Automatically they feel at ease and are reassured that they can dine in a safe space. This builds more confidence and trust in the franchise. 

Value for the QSR owner: Having an automated and accurate way of keeping track of occupancy is a great way to streamline on-premise operations. It frees up staff from having to manually count people entering and exiting the restaurant and affords them more time to work on creating excellent in-location experiences. More time invested in the customer means higher revenue generated as customer happiness and sales go hand in hand.  

Fast Food Ordering Using AI Activated Kiosks


Scenario: The family opts to order food at the self-service kiosk where they can browse the options without feeling pressured at the till, where there may have people waiting behind them. When within close proximity to the self-service kiosk they see a digital ad displayed on the screen which is showing family value meal deals. The family is delighted as it is a perfect option for them. As they get closer (within a touchable distance) the screen changes again with a message prompting the customer to begin their order. They select the meal deal that they just saw advertised and add it to their basket.

How does the AI work?

Prior to the family coming to the restaurant, the restaurant owner will have a planned weekly or monthly marketing strategy, with specific promotional content that they wish to run on their digital displays. The retail owner will create content for multiple digital displays at the restaurant, setting different rules in the cms such as (show value meal deals to families) or (when a customer is within three feet of the screen show ‘start order’ message). Each of the in-store displays will be equipped with cameras, embedded, or attached to them that can anonymously tell when an individual, or a group of people are coming within close proximity to the screen while also determining their demographic breakdown. By detecting the presence of (two adults and a child in this case), the content changes from playing non personalized content to a hyper-targeted family designated ad and then also to a customized ‘start order’ menu screen.  

Value for the customer: By showing targeted ads to the family it can help them to decide on what they would like to order much quicker which speeds up the ordering process and makes it more convenient for them.

Value for the QSR owner:  Self-service kiosks provide great opportunities to deliver one-to-one targeting and personalization to consumers. Through ad personalization, QSR owners can help customers see more relevant products and order their food more quickly, reducing queues and taking up less staff time. The faster orders can go through, the more revenue there is to be made.  

Unplanned Purchasing with AI Suggestive Selling


Scenario: After selecting their meal, the family continues through the ordering process to reach the checkout. As they reach this screen a pop-up appears showing variations of ice-cream with a prompt asking the family if they would like dessert. The child in the family notices an ice cream that has his favourite smarties topping. While, the mother of the family sees a brownie ice-cream that she and her partner would like to try. The mother adds three ice-creams to their order and pays at the kiosk. 

How does the AI work?

Using real-time analysis of demographics, combined with historical purchase data per persona group, tailored product suggestions can be shown to customers throughout the ordering journey to increase ticket sizes. By using age and gender analysis in real-time, the AI technology can determine which persona group is using the kiosk and will show products that have been proven to be popular with customers in the past in the same demographic group. The products that are displayed will be determined by the restaurant owner beforehand, by setting rules in the CMS, based on the different types of customer persona present in-store and the content that should be shown to each group.

Value for the customer: By displaying personalized products as upsells, it can make customers aware of products that they didn’t know existed and also prompt them to order items that they may have forgotten about, especially if they are ordering on behalf of a large group. By seeing products suited to them it narrows down unwanted menu items and allows the customer to have a decluttered ordering experience. 

Value for the QSR owner: By showing upsells to the customer in a subtle way, at opportune moments throughout their ordering journey it can increase ticket sizes significantly without coming across as annoying to the customer. Data can be aggregated over time about the products shown and matched with POS data to see which products are the most successful and look in more granular detail about which persona groups are buying them. This then can influence future menu decisions.   

Viewing Dynamic Menu Boards At The Food Collection Point


Scenario: The husband in the family then walks to the fast food counter to collect the family’s meal. While he is waiting for a short period of time he notices dynamic menu boards above his head. The one he is looking at is showing hot beverages which he looks at for five seconds. After he has finished his meal with his family he goes back up to the counter and purchases two coffees to go. The family then leaves the restaurant satisfied with their dining experience. 

How does the AI work?

Using attention time insights of past customers in location, content can be dynamically curated to show items popular with visitors in that specific store. The QSR owner will receive audience insights such as how long they looked at a menu board, how many people looked and what their age and gender was and this can then be combined with POS data in one data visualization dashboard to create optimized menu boards using the most viewed and sold food items.  

Value for the customer: Customers can see targeted items throughout their entire restaurant journey from the entrance to self-service kiosks to the tills. By having personalized menus it avoids overcrowding and removes the indecisiveness of what to order. Offering personalized menus at a local level is what can entice a customer in as they will associate the restaurant with convenience and familiarity. 

Value for the QSR owner: By understanding the most popular products at their location, rather than looking at the most purchased products across all franchises, QSR owners can make optimization strategies based on local insights, that are on a more granular level. Restaurant owners can get to know their customers’ wants and needs and use this invaluable data to boost restaurant profit.    

The QSR customer expects convenience, value and customization all in one visit. In order to keep up, restaurant owners must look at building solid digital ecosystems on-premise in order to stay ahead of competition. Our audience analytics product, DeepSight, is the perfect solution to integrate into your restaurant digital displays, transforming them into intelligent, data-rich tools that can enhance customer experiences and streamline restaurant operations.

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