How Drive Thru Digital Menu Boards Can Encourage Healthy Eating...Huh?!

Drive thru digital menu board

A recent YouGov poll indicates that '45 percent of Americans find it difficult to make healthy eating choices'. Part of the problem is a lack of proper nutritional labelling featured on restaurant menus. Here's how Drive Thru Digital Menu Boards can guide fast food patrons toward healthier options...

The idea that a quick service restaurant (QSR) could encourage healthy eating would have been an alien concept five years ago. However, YouGov asserts that fast food joints have 'done well to improve their public image.'

In America, the fast food capital of the world, 40 percent of the country's general population think that QSR joints have become healthier, according to the YouGov poll. Meanwhile, 16 percent of respondents disagree with the claim.

Interestingly, 46 percent of Americans aged 55+ think that the fast food industry has become healthier. Perhaps surprisingly, younger people are less convinced, with 37 percent agreeing that QSRs have encouraged healthy eating.

Salads the Most Popular 'Healthy' Menu Item

choosing a 'healthy' option from a fast food menu
'When choosing a 'healthy' option from a fast food menu, most patrons select a salad'

When asked to choose the 'healthiest' item from a number of fast food menus, unsurprisingly, most respondents opted for a salad (52 percent). However, not every generation agrees that a salad is the healthiest option on a QSR menu.

In fact, 41 percent of millennials don't rate salads served by fast food joints as 'healthy.' Meanwhile, 61 percent of people aged 55+ think the same.

Based on this data, YouGov asserts that with more than a quarter of the US population consisting of millennials, and with close to 50 percent of Americans finding it hard to select healthy eating options, 'improving the perception of salads and other menu items could hold the key to increased revenue across the fast food industry.'

The Importance of Nutritional Information to Customers

nutritional information plays a key role in fast food buying decisions
'The presence of nutritional information plays a key role in fast food buying decisions'

Data released by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) highlights that one-third of the calorie intake among Americans takes place outside the home. Those surveyed by YouGov, say that a lack of proper nutritional labelling on menus makes it hard to track calorie consumption.

Here's where drive thru digital menu boards come in. 70 percent of fast food sales take place at the drive thru window. What's absent on most drive thru menus is clear nutritional information. According to the YouGov poll, '57 percent of US adults think that a menu clearly displaying nutritional information would impact their purchase decision.'

While most QSR joints have moved to display specific nutritional information on their menus, this has taken time and a great deal of expense. Why? Most drive thru menu boards are printed. As a result, the cost and time to reproduce drive thru menus - across an entire chain in most cases - is not practical for fast food operators.

The Difference Drive Thru Digital Menu Boards Make

Digital Menu Boards can better display nutritional information
'Drive Thru Digital Menu Boards can better display nutritional information.'

In the US, fast food menus are required to feature easy to understand nutritional information, by law - as of May 5th, 2017. The UK and other European nations have similar statutes in place.

However, given that 45 percent of fast food patrons still struggle to make healthy eating decisions, there's clearly a 'dead zone' where customers are not getting the information.

Drive thru digital menu boards represent an opportunity for QSRs to guide customers towards healthier options, at low-cost to them and without the hassle of having to reprint entire menus.

To avoid bias, digital menu boards at the drive thru are not the only solution for meeting nutritional information regulations. Nevertheless, they are the most efficient and effective. Equally, going digital at the drive thru adds a new dynamic to the operational side of the business.

It's not just the clear display of nutritional information where digital menus make a difference… Here are some of the operational perks of digital drive thru menu boards:

  • You can up-sell new menu items with an eye-catching display. Competition for customer attention is rife & the best way to 'get eyes on your menu' is to showcase your food with digital video displays. What better way to whet appetites than with a full HD video presenting steaming hot food from your menu. Mmm…hungry anyone?
  • Digital menu boards are convenient. Tired of endlessly faffing with printed posters, putting them up & taking them down? Save your business, and staff, time. Digital gives you complete control from a central point, which is particularly beneficial if you have multiple restaurants. You can update all menu boards, all at once.
  • You can adapt your menu. Do you serve breakfast, lunch & dinner? Make menu changeovers a thing of the past. Control everything digitally and switch your menus to suit the time of day - not just at one outlet, but across your entire chain.
  • Improve the customer experience. Digital reduces perceived waiting times, provided you're displaying engaging content. Satisfy your customers, potentially sell more.
  • Create consistency. From a visual perspective, digital signage displays give you consistency. Displays are timely and up-to-date, whereas static posters take time to erect or simply remain in the storage room.
  • When is a menu not a menu? During an emergency. Turn your menus into an exit guidance system or information board in emergency situations, it could save lives.
  • Entertain. Use digital menus to entertain customers and reduce perceived waiting times. Throw in a few promotions and tasty looking menu items to drive sales and encourage fast food patrons to return.
  • An additional 'member of staff.' Let your drive thru digital menu boards do the selling for you. They're a silent ally for any fast food joint looking to boost sales.
  • Save the planet & save money. Compared to posters, digital is greener and more cost-effective. See the savings you make when you cut printing, delivery, installation and disposal costs, out of the equation.

You get all this and potentially make your money back within 7 - 12 months (on average). The fact is, drive thru digital menu boards:

  1. Make life easier from an operational perspective.
  2. Improve the customer experience.
  3. Help QSRs easily comply with nutritional information regulations.

Find out exactly what you need to set up your digital drive thru menu boards for your fast food joint. Request the guide...

digital drive thru menu boards ebook