Headquartered in Alabama, Jack’s Family Restaurants prides itself on great food and customer service, and those virtues make it a regional favorite across its 199 units. About five years ago, in order to better serve its loyal following, the brand set out to revamp its menuboards.
“We have a really large menu,” says Autumn Jones, development coordinator with Jack’s Family Restaurants. “And part of the reason is because we have a huge expanse of breakfast offerings that center around our made-from-scratch biscuits, and on top of that, we have a ton of options for lunch and dinner as well. We knew we needed to be able to daypart with our menuboards because our customers were starting to not know where to look, and that confusion was slowing everything down.”
Jones met with representatives from a company called National Sign Systems and liked what they had to offer—they seemed to immediately understand Jack’s operational needs. For one, rolling out menuboards across its then-134-unit footprint would be a cost- and time-intensive process for a brand that hadn’t ever undertaken a project like that. Secondly, though digital menuboards had some appeal to the Jack’s team, they were not a real possibility at the time because of both the cost and the stifling sun and summer heat in the deep south, where Jack’s locations reside.
So Jack’s teamed up with National Sign Systems and over the course of a year they went from planning the menuboards to testing them, to having them completely rolled out system-wide. Since implementing the boards, Jack’s has been able to create a “120-Car Club” gamification and team-building exercise wherein teams are rewarded for getting 120 cars through the drive thru in a single hour.
“The new menuboards are more clear and concise and they help make the guest’s decision that much easier,” Jones says. “There was no way we were even able to do even 100 cars before. This has helped expedite our drive-thru times exponentially.”
One of the main reasons restaurant people like Jones enjoy working with National Sign Systems is that the company is agile and capable of creating menuboard solutions that consider the operator’s needs. Rather than selling a suite of digital options only, or static menuboards only, National Sign Systems is happy to equip restaurants with either. They’ve even developed a hybrid model where the customer orders three screens—one is digital while the other two are static, or vice versa.
“A lot of operators are liking that hybrid option,” says Paul Falkenbach, vice president of sales and marketing with National Sign Systems. “Because they can start out by ordering that and if they want to progress down the road, it’s very simple to add one or two more digital screens.”
The customization offered by National Sign Systems is something Jones and her team really appreciated. For example, when her team compiled a wishlist of what a perfect menuboard rollout would look like, one unique inclusion was having front-lit interior menuboards, or opaque menuboards with LED lighting shining on them as opposed to backlit transparent menuboards. This achieved a sleeker look but also ensured that if a light eventually went out it wouldn’t be quite as obvious in the interim period before it got fixed. While National Sign Systems had installed front-lit menuboards before, it was a unique temperature and style that Jack’s wanted. No matter, says Jones.
“One of the things I will always remember about working with the team at National Sign Systems was the innovative work they did with those interior menuboards,” Jones says. “We were extremely happy with the way it turned out. Honestly, every time I walk into our stores, those front-lit menuboards are the first thing that I see. They look great, and it reminds me of how hard their team worked on our behalf to make that happen.”
Along with its portfolio of interior and exterior menuboards, both digital and static, National Sign Systems carries all of the accompanying accessories, including canopies, awnings, clearance bars, order confirmation systems, communications systems—anything that will help complete a brand’s drive thrus. They even have printing capabilities for brands using static menuboards.
“We’ve changed out all of Wendy’s interior menuboards in less than a year,” Falkenbach says. “We also work with operators with a single location—so we are comfortable working with brands of any size. But the key is, like with Jack’s Family Restaurants, we are going to make sure the solution works for you.”
For more information on the menuboard program that’s right for you, visit the National Sign Systems website.