The menu board project began in 2005 when San Francisco-based Tesser, Inc. was selected to research, design and test the new menuboards. Based on the research, photos would become the focal point of the new design. “The old type-only menuboard did little to promote or explain the food menu,” said Gary Peare, director of creative and account services for Tesser. “DQ’s food was a mystery to consumers. Now we have photos of every item on the menu, and a major visual focus on combos. Pictures sell, and they’re selling a lot more food.”
One of the challenges in designing the new menuboards was accommodating the variations in menus at the different locations. “We needed a menuboard design that would work with all of our concepts, products and sizes, as well as one that would be flexible enough to adapt local promotions and future new product introductions and additions,” explained Culver. Dairy Queen selected Vancouver-based online research firm Vision Critical to survey public opinion. Key findings from the online survey found that the new menuboard design was superior to current boards in terms of ease of ordering and in the organization of food and treats by sales and popularity. Gone are the menu strips that were prominent on each board, now replaced by picture-based panels which allows Dairy Queen operators the ability to customize product pricing with static clings. There also is a separate display panel for a local menu, which allows operators to display regional food or treats.
Dairy Queen contracted with LSI Graphics Solutions Plus, a subsidiary of LSI Industries Inc., to manage, produce and install 5,200 indoor and drive-thru menuboard systems. The new menu board program also includes new preview boards, cake menuboards and Kids Meal displays.
“It is rare that a quick-service restaurant changes and installs both indoor and outdoor menu boards at the same time,” said Culver. “This was an enormous project to which many people have devoted significant time, but our new menuboards are now something each Dairy Queen restaurant can proudly display.”