Personalized marketing helps restaurants engage diners and employees.

Early adopters of digital signage enjoyed its benefits during the pandemic. It became much more than a way to showcase menus or LTOs; operators used easily-updatable digital signage to keep customers informed about safety protocols, hours, staffing shortages, and more. 

Digital signage is more affordable and user friendly than ever, and in quick-serve restaurants, it’s moving beyond menus and simple messages to vivid, branded content. Research shows that the average American is exposed to between 4,000–10,000 ads each day—but to survive, our brains have filters that let only about 100 ads penetrate our attention wall. To capture diners’ attention, more operators are implementing private television networks that show customized, commercial-free content. 

“With static signage, which most of the quick-service world has, franchisers send promotional posters that change each quarter,” says David Vance, vice president of outside local sales at Mood Media. “Right now, however, nothing is more important than having a creative and impactful digital display.” 

With branded TV content, restaurant operators have their own private network that shows exactly the content they want, effectively making each restaurant its own television broadcast station. Say goodbye to divisive political ads, competitor commercials, and other unwanted images, and serve guests content they actually want to see. 

Branded TV content can consist of video, still photography, music, computer-generated imagery (CGI), animation, and more. In addition to commercial-free, business-appropriate content, operators can supplement their network with logos, RSS feeds (like the weather), product placements, and brand banners. If it seems like a lot to consider, it is: Branded content is an increasingly important part of a successful marketing plan. Vance and the Mood team help restaurant leaders determine the best branded TV content approach for their specific store. 

“Everyone knows the expression ‘content is king’, but there is also a queen: strategy,” Vance says. “Operators need to ask, ‘Am I trying to inform, educate, entertain, or inspire?’ Any combination of those changes how people view the screen—but also how they view the restaurant.”  

Branded TV content offers an opportunity to engage with the community in meaningful ways. For example, quick serves might congratulate the local football team on the big win, promote sustainability practices, or advertise that they are donating a portion of sales to a certain charity during the holidays. 

Additionally, dayparting is standard practice, but with branded TV content, operators can go even further in elevating the customer experience. That’s why, Vance says, the queen—strategy—is even more important than the content king right now. 

“There is a different buyer in the morning than in the afternoon: In most areas, commuters come in the morning, blue collar workers at lunchtime, and around 3 p.m., high schools let out,” Vance says. “When your strategy is on point and you know exactly who is looking at that screen when, you can manufacture customer loyalty while alleviating the fear of returning to dining rooms.” 

For example, content with animation and CGI tends to capture the attention of younger audiences, while videos and RSS feeds of the weather are of interest to everyone. 

Digital signage in the back-of-house—a rapidly-growing practice—also helps improve the customer experience. Operators can inspire and inform staff with content such as videos or tips on handwashing or a personal message from the CEO. 

Mood TV offers an affordable entry point to the world of digital signage and branded content for restaurants of all sizes. The company conducts an intimate imaging process to identify each customer’s brand energy and content plan. “Mom and pop deserve to brand as much as a big franchise,” Vance says. “We go through the same process with every client, not just franchises.” 

For operators who already have digital signage programs and want to delve further, Mood TV can help take content marketing plans to the next level. And for operators just getting in on the digital signage game, it’s a perfect time to start. Branded TV content entertains guests with family-friendly programming while also promoting the business and the community—a win-win for all. 

“It’s not just about the product anymore,” Vance says. “The only thing that limits digital signage content is one’s imagination.” 

To learn more about how branded TV can help your business, visit the Mood Media website.

By Davina van Buren

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