Why Did McDonald’s Spend $6 Billion on Their Menus?

Last year, McDonald’s announced a $6 billion dollar redesign plan for most of their restaurants in the U.S., to be completed by 2020.

Dubbed the “Experience of the Future redesign,” this makeover includes several upgrades like self-order kiosks, mobile order and pay for curbside pickup, and vibrant digital menu boards. Well under way, this redesign plan has already implemented digital menu boards and other changes in over 7,000 restaurants nationwide.

But why did the largest restaurant company in the world decide to switch to digital menu boards? How can that help smaller restaurant owners gain an edge in the competitive restaurant business, and see an increase in revenue? And how can Raydiant’s interactive screen signage help you to increase your ROI, attract more customers, and simplify the ordering process for both you and your customers? We will answer these questions, and more, in the following blog post.

What Made McDonald’s Change to Digital Menus?

McDonald’s new digital menu boards—added both in restaurants and at drive-thrus—can be automated to change menus based on the time of day and upsell promotional and trending items based on the season, local weather, and even traffic patterns. In an interview with Nation’s Restaurant News, McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook explains the reasons for the shift from conventional menu boards to digital: “We’re leveraging technology to improve and modernize the way we connect with customers.”

With over half of McDonald’s restaurants in the nation already using these enhanced digital menu boards, the positive customer feedback has been noticeable. Easterbrook told the Los Angeles Times, “[Customers are] telling us they like the new McDonald’s better. They’re rewarding us with more frequent visits and they’re spending more on average when they do.” That’s a significant uptick, considering that the titan restaurant chain serves 68 million customers a day (close to 1% of the global population)!

But at the end of the day, it’s the cold hard numbers that count. This year, McDonald’s third quarter (the same timeframe that saw half of their U.S. stores implement digital menu boards and other advancements) saw a 4.8% increase in U.S. same-store sales.

What are the Benefits of Digital Menu Boards?

You don’t have to be a powerhouse brand like McDonald’s to experience the immediate benefits of digital menu boards. In fact, it has been forecasted that digital signage can increase drive-thru sales by up to 8%.  Restaurants that have switched to digital menu boards have seen a 3-5% sales increase. And if these figures aren’t enough, here are some other benefits of using digital menu boards:

Turns menus into gorgeous advertising tools. The colorful, vibrant graphics and dynamic animations on your digital menu boards will catch and hold your customers’ attention the second they walk in your door.

Saves money on menu printing costs. Adding an item? Changing a price? Fixing a typo? No need to spend a ton of money on printing costs to re-print your menus. You can update your digital menu board instantly from any internet-connected device.

Takes the headache out of scheduling different menus. From brunch to happy hour to seasonal events, your menus can change drastically throughout the span of a day. Easily schedule your digital menu to change menus based on the time of day, year, or season.

Streamlines the ordering process for faster service. With the ability to change menus automatically, your customers can only see and order what is available, making the ordering process straightforward (instead of “Why have eggs on the menu if you don’t serve them for lunch?”).

More economical than static menus. Many people are surprised to learn that a reported 30% of restaurants recoup the cost of digital menu boards within the first year. But when you consider the cost of hiring a designer to design your menu, printing it in high-resolution color, and paying re-printing costs every time the menu changes, it adds up.

Digital menu boards allow you to create (if you choose) and edit high-resolution graphics and media files instantly—and with one upfront cost. And at the end of the day, what’s going to catch customers’ eyes: paper or high-res colors and images?

What is Raydiant Technology?

Raydiant is a cloud-based digital signage technology that turns TVs into dynamic displays. We help restaurants, retailers, corporations, and other companies bring their products and services to life with interactive content. Our plug-and-play hardware installs in minutes (simply plug our ScreenRay into the back of your TV), and after following a few onscreen instructions you’re ready to go.

Digital signage, menu boards, event calendars, music, and more—access and display all of it on one or multiple screens with Raydiant. Upload digital files (graphics, animations, videos, and more), sync with your Google calendar to create a live event calendar, and make and play custom playlists. Schedule digital menu boards to change with the time of day, the season, and promotional events. Make changes in seconds with our intuitive user interface, which can be accessed via the internet through any and all your devices. Try it today!

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How Can Raydiant Work for Your Restaurant?

Whether you’re an eco-conscious eatery wanting to share your brand story through a looping video, or a restaurant chain looking to keep in-store visuals on-brand at every location, Raydiant can help. Simply plug in Raydiant’s ScreenRay device into one of your TVs, and you can control one or multiple TV screens in one or more restaurant locations with our interface. Schedule promotions in advance, create gorgeous displays for holiday promotions, special events, and limited time offers, and display logos and brand-centric media all in one interface.

What are Raydiant Customers Saying?

“We are reaching our customers in a way we haven’t been able to before. Even if I get staff to engage with customers, it’s usually on one thing. Now, as they are in the store, they are seeing our promotions, specials, new flavors, and products as well as learning about our loyalty program, fundraisers and birthday parties without having to be told.”

John I., Restaurant Owner

“Once you’ve got your hardware assigned to a screen, which takes all of a minute, you are presented with a simple, clean, easy way to manage multiple screens and tons of content. The built-in tools for quick slideshows and things of the likes leave time on my plate to do other work. Finally, it’s easy enough to use that I have my clients managing their content and not a single support call yet.”

David M., CEO of Marketing and Advertising

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We’ll even give you a 30-day money back guarantee, but in our experience, you won’t need it.

Photo courtesy of Behavioral Economics