Dayton, Ohio-based digital signage solutions company STRATACACHE has bagged and closed a massive deal that sees it providing software, hardware and services to three of the larger QSR chains in North America,
The deal involves more than 40,000 screens at Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes locations in Canada and the U.S.
The focus is on modernizing and expanding the existing fleet of drive-thru displays at 10,000-plus locations – adding AI-driven “predictive technology” that optimizes ordering menu presentations and suggestions, vehicle by vehicle.
The three chains are all part of Restaurant Brands International, which has some 27,000 restaurants globally.
“Our guests have sought out our drive-thru lanes for our iconic food and beverages throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – even in the face of mandated dining room closures around the world,” says Jose Cil, CEO of RBI. “We believe strongly that it is time to modernize our drive-thru lanes throughout the US and Canada to provide even better, quicker and contactless service for our guests. This includes presenting menu options on digital screens that are tailored for each guest, as well as integrating our loyalty program at the moment of ordering and providing remote, contactless payment to speed up our drive-thru lanes in the near future.”
“We have been on an exciting digital journey to become a leader in our industry,” adds Josh Kobza, RBI’s Chief Operating Officer. “We have attracted exceptional digital and technology talent to join our global team and our digital drive-thru menu board initiative is just one in a series of strategic projects that we are rolling out over the next year to strengthen our business model and improve the level of service we provide to our guests.”
The PR announcement continues by describing key features:
Predictive Selling: The digital drive-thru menu boards are designed with powerful ‘predictive selling’ technology designed by RBI’s in-house Guest Intelligence team, allowing for special promotions to be tailored based on previous orders, regional weather patterns, the time of day and many other factors. This home-grown technology can dynamically learn preferred ordering habits and also show the latest and trending menu items most-ordered in your location. The RBI Guest Intelligence team will continue to refine our technology to further enhance our guests’ ordering experience as we move forward.
Editor – Not sure if this fully RBI’s code and platform here (kinda doubt it) or a tweaked adaptation of what STRATACACHE developed and markets via its Finnish subsidiary Walkbase).
Integrated Loyalty Programs: The menu boards have been designed with the ability to integrate loyalty programs, allowing for customized menu options to be displayed that are based on your favorite purchases and redemption history. This functionality is currently live and being tested at 30 locations in Canada with the Tims Rewards loyalty program. All digital drive-thru menu boards in the US and Canada have been designed to accommodate loyalty integration via scanning, Bluetooth or near-field communication.
Remote, Contactless Payment: The digital drive-thru menu boards also have the flexibility to add immediate, remote contactless payment to allow guests to order and pay simultaneously and speed up drive-thru lanes. RBI has partnered with renowned payment solutions provider, Verifone, to develop a new global remote contactless payment device for a drive-thru lane. The first prototype is currently installed at a Tim Hortons restaurant in Canada, with 15 more locations to test this functionality by January 2021.
The deal is a massive rollout, with 40,000 or so 46-inch IP56-rated displays and STRATACACHE Spectra NG-2HT media engines. The players are designed in such a way that they do failover for other players, if they konk out or hang. I THINK the displays are from both LG and Samsung.
The deployed network will be monitored out of National Operation Centers in Ohio and Montreal and the CMS is STRATACACHE’S ActiVia AMP.
As of September, Tim Hortons has installed digital drive-thru menu boards at approximately 800 locations in the U.S. and Canada; Burger King has installed digital drive-thru menu boards at more than 1,500 locations in the U.S.; and Popeyes is starting installation at new locations later this year. A typical drive-thru lane includes 4 digital screens, while double drive-thru lanes typically include a total of 7 digital screens.
RBI is assessing drive-thru locations and, where possible, is installing double drive-thru lanes to increase capacity and efficiency at our restaurants.
Drive-thru has been incredibly important – a business-saver, really – to many QSR chains through this ongoing pandemic. With dine-in areas closed, operating at reduced capacities or just plain intimidating to consumers, operators that had drive-thru lanes were still able to serve a lot of customers.
QSRs and fast casuals that are not set-up for drive-thru have struggled, adding drive-thru if that was possible, or relying on pick-up windows and delivery.
This has to be one of the larger deals ever done in digital signage. STRATACACHE already has McDonald’s business. Very few companies dominate a major vertical market in digital signage, but STRATACACHE clearly does in QSR.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.