When the executive team at Nashville-based Back Yard Burgers set out to redesign the brand’s menuboards, they didn’t expect the changes to have such an impact on sales. But the burger franchise has seen just that.

“Even without a price increase, we’re getting about a 20–30 cent increase per check,” says Monte Jump, Back Yard Burgers’ CMO and COO. “It was an unexpected outcome. Certainly the goal was to make more money through this, but we thought it would be not so much through increased check averages.”

Jump says the brand undertook an architecture study a year and a half ago to understand how Back Yard Burgers’ consumer interact and understand the brand. The executive team found consumers don’t really considered Back Yard Burgers fast food, “but we’re not all the way up to fast casual—we’re in an in-between zone,” Jump says. “Consumers said our décor and interior doesn’t do out food justice.”

With that feedback in mind, the team went to the drawing board to plan a redesign, starting with the centerpiece of the restaurant, the menuboard.

The new design features a more modern color palate in place of classic fast-food colors like red and yellow, and detailed descriptions of each item. Jump says consumers often asked a lot of questions about what was on food, and adding descriptions has helped move guests quicker through the line and also increased order accuracy. While the price and picture of each item were prominent in the old menuboard, the descriptions take center stage on the new menuboard. The redesign also offered an opportunity to better understand how consumers read menuboards, which in turn informed the team how to reorganize menu items.

“People look at menuboards first starting at the middle, and then they move to the left, then they move back to the center bottom, then to the right top, followed by the right bottom,” Jump says. “The most popular items would be found at their first glance.”

On the new menuboard, all sandwiches are combined and presented in the center panel, unlike the previous design that separated burgers from specialty sandwiches and other proteins. At the drive thru, the menu panels are arranged in a different order to accommodate how guests read menuboards differently.

“We used the same sort of approach, so the consumer looks at the larger panel that reflects that center panel on the inside,” Jump says. “The biggest difference is that we did not put the create-your-own section at the drive thru … because that would be a little tough and might slow us down, giving some people a poor experience.”

Back Yard Burgers’ company-owned units and half of its franchise system already have the new menuboards in place, Jump says, and the rest should be in place by the end of the year. The next step will be undertaking an interior redesign, Jump says, and the colors and feel of the new menuboards will inform the new décor. 

By Tamara Omazic

Burgers, Drive Thru, News, Back Yard Burgers