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Why Pro AV VARs Should Be Focusing on the Restaurant Industry

February 23, 2017

Why Pro AV VARs Should Be Focusing on the Restaurant Industry

If you've been to a good restaurant lately, you probably noticed that many are skilled at pairing fine wines with entrees and desserts. But did you know that restaurants are increasingly becoming more skillful at pairing digital signage in ways that enhance brand identity and entertain customers while they are eating or ordering food?

Restaurants in the U.S. alone generated more than $709 billion in sales in 2015, as opposed to $587 billion in 2010, according to the National Restaurant Association. And as economic conditions improve, dining out is becoming more common as discretionary incomes improve.

With competition for diners’ dollars building momentum, restaurants are looking to digital signage as one way to differentiate themselves from the competition, and value-added resellers (VARs) will want to focus more attention on this fast-growing market vertical.

Here are a few reasons for VARs to keep a keen eye on the restaurant industry:

The immediate future is looking very rosy

The restaurant industry pulls in $1.9 billion in sales on a typical day and employs nearly 14 million employees?roughly 10% of the overall U.S. workforce.

With that kind of clout, restaurants are spending more money on building brand awareness by providing information and, in some cases, entertainment for diners tired of the same old throwback business models.

Digital signage is everywhere and growing

The days of static signage are quickly moving to the rear window, with digital signage out in front providing the best way to stand out in an increasingly competitive world. For years, digital signage, in the form of menu boards, has been fairly ubiquitous in the quick-serve restaurant (QSR) sector.

And the ways in which digital signage can be used in order to create a unique and more interactive customer experience while delivering cost-savings benefits to the brand is limited only by the restaurant's imagination.

Take the current trend at one leading U.S. airport for example. The days of guzzling down a beverage and inhaling fast food are becoming completely reinvented, thanks in part to the use of digital signage as a branding and operational strategy.

At Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, a $120 million redesign of 55 dining venues will bring Las Vegas–style dining glitz to a previously uninspired facility sometime in 2016.

One notable standout will be the deployment of iPads at every seat to the tune of 6,000 tablets in the 100,000-square-foot Terminal C. The selection of food items has been kicked up a notch—ranging from the typical offerings of QSRs to high-end ramen noodle bars.

Customers will order on tablets and can even pay their bill using frequent-flier miles. They will be able to charge their personal devices while waiting for food to arrive. The takeaway is more fun for passengers waiting to board their next flight.

Restaurants owners are realizing that digital signage is a necessity

Digital signage has gone from a luxury to a necessity, and restaurant owners know it. For VARs, this presents an excellent opportunity to deliver your customers a product that they already eagerly want.

Restaurant owners likely already know the benefits of digital signage to increase their sales, but it can't hurt to reiterate them:

  • Quick content updates – Quickly change content in order to reflect menu changes and nutritional info (especially for restaurants that move from breakfast to lunch to dinner menus).
  • Remote management – Less time and fewer resources required to maintain and update your menu boards with software that allows you to manage from anywhere that has an Internet connection.
  • Reduced costs – The integration of digital menu boards into a restaurant can immediately reduce the cost of producing printed menus and dramatically simplify making price changes and updating food items for all restaurants from a single remote location.

As the restaurant industry continues to rely more on digital signage in order to reduce operating costs, increase brand awareness, and grow business, VARs will want to focus more on delivering quality pro AV and digital signage to this important market vertical.

(Image from Bloomberg.com)