Data shows that digital menuboards are still slow to take hold in the quick-serve industry. Only 19.3 percent of all visits in the Drive-Thru Study included a digital menuboard. But the major brands are paying close attention to the technology and how it can best fit into their ecosystems. Cooper, for example, says Chick-fil-A is "evaluating how to best leverage digital capabilities to provide real-time information and allow for personalization."
Taco Bell, meanwhile, is rolling out digital boards that give customers more power over their drive-thru experience. "Our early-stage implementation of drive-thru digital menuboards has proven to help customers engage with the menu in a new way that is easy to navigate and gives them more control in their ordering experience," Grams says.
This goes to show just how significant McDonald's Dynamic Yield acquisition really was. The move was a big bet that menuboard technology will unlock major potential moving into the future, and the company is moving quickly to roll it out, planning to have the predictive technology in all U.S. and Australia locations by the end of the year.
"I've got to say, three months in, I couldn't be more pleased with the integration of Dynamic Yield, both as a company and as a culture," Easterbrook said during the company's Q2 report. "But also, frankly, [with] getting the capabilities into our restaurants." He added that average checks were up at the 700 restaurants that had Dynamic Yield capabilities at that time, and that customers were adding french fries, drinks, Chicken McNuggets, and other favorites to their orders when prompted.
Easterbrook also noted earlier this year that McDonald's was installing "zoom boards," or small, digital screens in the drive thru that provide real-time service times within the restaurant. These identify where the bottlenecks are and oversees cash handling, payment, or perhaps when guests are asked to park and wait because their food isn't ready.