Smoothie King Franchisees Shifting From Analog Posters To Digital Menu Displays, In And Out

Here’s a real-world example of why QSR restaurant franchise owners would make what can be substantial capital investments to convert from analog to digital menus at their stores.

Operators of Smoothie King franchises in several U.S. states have been converting menu displays inside and outside to digital to speed turnarounds on changes and have a degree of local control.

Says a case study:

Local owner-operators of Smoothie King franchises have historically relied on using printed menus in lightbox displays — both inside and outside — to present ordering options and deals to customers. But this has become a proven outdated and ineffective process as updating physical menus can often take weeks as franchise operators must send menu revisions over to corporate so they can make the graphic design changes, and then the menus need to be printed and shipped by a third-party supplier. 

Smoothie King was looking for a digitized business solution that at the core would allow the operators to make menu changes without the wait time of going to the franchisor and offer in real-time changes to localize their promotions and menu items, as well as upsell high-margin add-ons. This need was expedited by the COVID-19 pandemic as one-on-one sales interactions between employees & customers were largely interrupted, making effective drive-thru menu boards an essential component for revenue.

Locations across Florida, Texas, Chicago, Indiana, and Missouri deployed Samsung displays in their stores, with content managed by the West Coast solutions firm C3MS. The set-up involves:

  • 49-inch narrow-bezel LCD displays behind the ordering counters in tiled ribbon arrays;
  • Three 46-inch outdoor-rated, high-brightness displays at the ordering position;
  • A separate 46-inch “pre-sell” display positioned earlier in the drive-thru lane;
  • Samsung’s interesting dual-sided OMN-D display – which is a sunlight-readable screen facing out and a bright, but not super-bright, facing into the store and customers.

Yonas Hagos, an operator of seven Smoothie King locations, likes the quickened pace of changes and the increased autonomy he has over solutions and programs that impact his business. “If I want to do certain things, or do certain specials, it’s just easy when you have digital.”

Smoothie King’s Chief Development Officer, Kevin King, says the company is increasingly moving to digital. “We are strong believers in consistency in our stores, so widespread adoption is a long-term goal.”

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