Fast food chains order 40,000 digital screens

More than 40,000 digital screens are to be installed at three fast-food restaurant chains in North America, in a major modernisation of the drive-through experience at Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes.

The 46″ outdoor-rated screens, powered by STRATACACHE Media Engine technology, are part of an upgrade that includes predictive selling, integration with restaurant loyalty programmes and remote, contactless payment.

As of September, Burger King has installed digital drive-through menu boards at more than 1,500 locations in the US, Tim Hortons has installed digital drive-through menu boards at approximately 800 locations in the US and Canada, and Popeyes will being its roll-out later this year. A typical drive-through lane at these chains will have four digital screens, while double drive-through lanes typically have seven digital screens. Where possible, the chains’ owner Restaurant Brands International (RBI) is installing double drive-through lanes to increase capacity and efficiency.

To ensure content is always displayed correctly, STRATACACHE Media Engines are clustered together, redundantly, for high-availability – meaning that if any of the four digital screens in a standard drive-through loses communication with its primary media player, a secondary media player will take over. STRATACACHE already provides proactive 24/7 network monitoring to RBI’s thousands of restaurant sites from national operation centres in Ohio and Montreal, and it has the capability to manage any digital screen and to update or modify menu board content across remaining digital screens in the event of a hard screen failure.

New installations are using enclosures that have been designed to withstand the heat of the southern United States, the cold of Canada’s north and the corrosive, salty air from cities along North America’s oceans. The enclosures are IP56 certified – meaning they are fully waterproof and can sustain continuous water pressure, even from powerful waterjets. Existing installations will be retrofitted to this level of protection.

Jose Cil, CEO of the chains’ owner RBI, said: “Our guests have sought out our drive-through lanes for our iconic food and beverages throughout the Covid-19 pandemic – even in the face of mandated dining room closures around the world. We believe strongly that it is time to modernise our drive-through lanes throughout the US and Canada to provide even better, quicker and contactless service for our guests. This includes presenting menu options on digital screens that are tailored for each guest, as well as integrating our loyalty programme at the moment of ordering and providing remote, contactless payment to speed up our drive-through lanes in the near future.”

Josh Kobza, RBI’s chief operating officer, said: “We have been on an exciting digital journey to become a leader in our industry. We have attracted exceptional digital and technology talent to join our global team and our digital drive-through menu board initiative is just one in a series of strategic projects that we are rolling out over the next year to strengthen our business model and improve the level of service we provide to our guests.”

Predictive Selling
Predictive selling technology designed by RBI’s in-house Guest Intelligence team allows the digital menu boards to show special promotions based on previous orders, regional weather patterns, the time of day and many other factors. This technology can dynamically learn preferred ordering habits and also show the latest and trending menu items most-ordered in a location. The RBI Guest Intelligence team will continue to refine this technology.

Integrated Loyalty Programmes
The menu boards have been designed with the ability to integrate loyalty programmes, allowing for customised menu options to be displayed that are based on favourite purchases and redemption history. This functionality is currently live and being tested at 30 locations in Canada with the Tims Rewards loyalty programme. All digital drive-through menu boards in the US and Canada have been designed to accommodate loyalty integration via scanning, Bluetooth or near-field communication.

Remote, Contactless Payment
The digital drive-through menu boards also have the flexibility to add immediate, remote contactless payment to allow guests to order and pay simultaneously and speed up drive-through lanes. RBI has partnered with payment solutions provider Verifone to develop a new global remote contactless payment device for a drive-through lane. The first prototype is currently installed at a Tim Hortons restaurant in Canada, with 15 more locations to test this functionality by January 2021.

Reference : Avinteractive