Store In QSR Giant Chain Uses Printed Labels To Hide Out Of Stock Items On Digital Menu Screens
July 11, 2023 by Dave Haynes
This is just sad – a major QSR chain using printed labels that staff evidently use to indicate out-of-stock menu items on the digital menu display boards behind the order counter.
We have all seen this sort of thing in places like food court malls – but the operators of those tend to be one-offs or part of very small, regional chains. This is in Dunkin’ Donuts, which has more than 13,000 locations globally. It was sent by an industry contact, and I don’t know the location.
It is undoubtedly hard to run businesses that large, and herd all the local store cats, making them use specific technologies and adhere to well-defined workflows. But someone in the decision chain decided to address a digital display problem with an analog solution, and bought stickers.
The particularly funny/sad part of this is the right hand display, which evidently cycles between menu listings and full screen promos, so the cluster of “Oh Snap We’re Out” labels looks particularly weird. The state of the art for menu displays is having data handshakes with a restaurant’s management systems, so that the menus are dynamic and just “disappear” items that aren’t available or in short supply.
Failing that, there is some sort of local control or updating available, even it is just a cloud-based spreadsheet the CMS can query.l
I have direct experience advising a big chain that didn’t trust local managers to use the CMS software (fearing screw-ups or all kinds or dumb notions or butt-ugly creative efforts), but software platforms tend to have workflows and approvals that resolve those sorts of issues. In this case, the store evidently just slaps up labels.
I am assuming this is not a head office-driven solution, and that the CMS used would support APIs and dynamic menus. You don’t win a job that big, I wouldn’t think, without some ability to deal with this sort of fundamental, baseline functionality.
I’m no electrical engineer, but I can’t imagine adhesive labels on a flat panel displays is all that wise.