McDonald’s is no slacker when it comes to innovation. The QSR giant has been at the front lines of technology as it has deployed digital menu boards and self-ordering kiosks to improve the dine-in experience for customers. Now, the QSR is looking to deliver digital signage outdoors as well through digital drive-thru displays.
McDonald’s Sweden’s drive thrus, which are known as McDrive, account for more than 50% of all of its business. In order to boost these McDrives further, McDonald’s Sweden recently partnered with digital signage provider Visual Art to install outdoor drive-thru displays at its locations, according to a press release.
The QSR selected Samsung OH55-inch displays with Samsung’s built-in media player Tizen. Visual Art provided its VA DRIVE Smart Signage software with the displays to deliver dynamic menu updates
“The VA DRIVE Smart Signage is prepared to be fully integrated with the POS to capture price updates, product outages, multiple dayparts and other external sources that effects sales, such as weather conditions,” Pontus Meijer, business unit director at Visual Art, said in an interview.
Visual Art has been working with McDonald’s locations across Europe since 2006, according to Meijer. The companies have trialed the drive-thru menu at two locations in Akersberga and Linvreten, Sweden so far, with plans to digitize all the drive-thrus in the country by 2020.
“We have been working with Visual Art for a long time and they understand our business and our customers and can challenge us in a good way,” Rickard Berthold, digital lead, McDonald’s Sweden, said in an interview. “Their solutions can help us to create better experiences for our customers and create real business value.”
The overall goal of this technology is to improve the customer experience and boost employee productivity, according to Berthold.
“The goal with digitizing Drive Thru is to offer a simple, fast and accurate ordering process in combination with really good burgers. This is the best way to make our McDrive-guests happy, and our new digital signs will become an important part of this work forward,” Berthold said. “Digitizing the Drive Thru gives our employees more time for other tasks as we can make news and promotional updates faster and easier.”
Since the displays are highly visible, customers can get a clear view of the menu while waiting in line, which can improve wait times.
“The goal is to increase the cars served per hour by increasing readability from different distances to start the decision process earlier,” Meijer said.
The biggest challenge with this deployment is the weather. Sweden often has severe weather, especially during the winter, so Visual Art had to carefully plan both how to protect the displays and when to deploy them.
“The challenging Swedish weather is something we have to take into consideration during the roll-out. Fall, winter, spring and summer each have their own unique personalities and the seasons vary a lot from north to south,” Meijer said. “During winter, no installations will be made in the North of Sweden due to uncertainty of cold and snow.”
In order to accommodate these weather conditions, Visual Art and McDonald’s Sweden selected displays that are IP56 certified to handle both cold and hot temperatures as well as dust, rain and snow.
“They are optimized for a demanding outdoor environment and can handle temperatures from -30°C to +50°C throughout the year through a self-cooling system with no need for filter or maintenance,” Meijer said. “For better readability, the screens are high brightness and have reflection prevention, making the visuals richer and clearer under direct sunlight.”
By delivering these highly visible displays, Meijer believes that McDonald’s guests will be more satisfied with their overall experience.
“There is a huge potential in streamlining and customizing the buying process with digital signs,” Meijer said in a press release. “At Visual Art we are at the forefront in this area, therefore it feels fantastic to collaborate with a major player where we get the opportunity to develop new, exciting projects together.”