Special Report

2010 Applied Tech Award Winners

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Menuboard Technology

The Criteria: New to the 2010 Applied Tech Awards, menuboards must bring a novel innovation into the marketplace and claim a distinguishing feature.

ION's LED Light EngineION's LED Light Engine
Supplier: ION Light Engines Inc. and LED Concepts Inc.
At Work: Indoor and outdoor menuboards with an LED light engine and environmentally friendly features.

ION’s LED-arrays for Menu Boards can withstand greater temperature ranges, last up to 100,000 hours, and boast a lifespan of 8.2 years, four times that of the fluorescent lamps found in most quick-serve applications. The LED-arrays also contain no mercury, heavy metals, toxic gases, or hazardous materials, and produce no harmful UV or Infrared radiation, which greatly reduces the fading of graphics.

Japanese eatery Yoshinoya began using menuboards from LED Concepts with ION light engines last August at its new restaurants and is retrofitting existing locations.

“The new menuboards help reduce building heat load and decrease air conditioning costs. At the same time, it lowers energy consumption and reduces service maintenance cost,” Yoshinoya America vice president Scot Hobert says.

EverServ Digital Menu Board
Supplier: ParTech
At Work: A high-definition digital billboard with in-store advertising, suggestive selling, and menu-control capabilities.

ParTech’s digital menuboard, which allows for horizontal or vertical orientation, pulls menu info from an existing POS database in near real-time to display updated price and specials. Wooed by the potential and frustrated with the limiting, costly nature of static menuboards, Cereal Bowl began using ParTech’s digital menuboard at its Washington, D.C., and New Jersey outlets in 2010.

“The signage allows us to daypart our messaging as well as the convenience and flexibility to make changes on the spot,” Cereal Bowl COO Michael Glassman says. “Individual store operators, who better have their fingers on the pulse of local consumers, can then push the messaging they need to produce higher sales.”

KFC Digital Menuboard Network
Supplier: Wireless Ronin Technologies
At Work: KFC powers its digital menuboards with RoninCast, a platform that provides secure Web-based control over the brand’s entire signage network.

The KFC Digital Menuboard Network provides a dynamic, centrally controlled format for communicating product information, featured items, and pricing. A Wireless Ronin control center monitors every menuboard, which ensures accurate execution and limits human error. The network also decreased the costs and time associated with new product launches, improved messaging compliance, and enhanced the customer experience.

“With this system, you can sell what you want, when you want, for what you want,” KFC director Chris Fuller says.

KFC continues to roll out additional locations on a city-by-city basis. Some 176 restaurants are already on the network.

Swiss Farm Stores’ Video Wall
Supplier: Advanced Audio Visual
At Work: Two video walls consisting of 46-inch LCD screens join with Swiss Farms’ POS system to pull product information, entice additional purchases, and communicate daypart and promotional messaging.

As a drive-thru outlet, Swiss Farms, which operates 13 corporate stores in Delaware and Pennsylvania, faces the challenge of conveying its full array of offerings to consumers. Digital signage solves the problem in a vibrant, visually appealing manner.

It is the system’s future potential, however, that truly excites. Swiss Farms’ rep Chris Gray says the company is working to integrate weather data that will trigger promotional content based on temperature (hot weather will advertise cases of water, for instance) as well as implementing an RFID loyalty system to identify customers and target personalized content to them based on shopping habits.

LG Electronics’ HD-capable LCD Monitor
Supplier: LG Electronics
At Work: An HD-capable LCD Monitor that can be used in portrait or landscape mode while displaying high-resolution content.

In addition to displaying content in HD on menuboards, POP boards, and order confirmation displays, LG Electronics’ LCD monitor allows users to update content remotely in real time, a benefit Minnesota-based Wendy’s franchisee FourCrown was eager to utilize.

FourCrown teamed with LG and longtime partner WAND, which works with operators to develop digital signage content, to overhaul its menuboards. With remotely controlled monitors, store owners present customers updated content in dynamic, colorful, and convenient clarity.

“The inclusion of digital menuboards not only improved overall customer satisfaction but reduced perceived wait times and increased sales across WAND’s restaurant network,” LG Electronics vice president Jeff Dowell says.

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