March 5, 2019

Smart Cities Will Keep Customers Happy

According to Digital Signage Today, "As of 2018, 55 percent of the world’s population live in urban areas. This is set to rise to 68 percent by 2050. That's an extra 2.5 billion people looking for homes, services and jobs in our already crowded urban centers."

Imagine your favorite, local restaurant will now be flooded with more people, stores will have more traffic and your commute will likely increase.  In order to maintain a high level of customer service, the stores are going to have to make modifications to improve their work efficiency. How can they achieve these demanding goals?


According to wikipedia, a smart city is "an urban area that uses different types of electronic data collection sensors to supply information which is used to manage assets and resources efficiently."

Within the smart cities, more and more businesses will utilize self-service digital signage with touchscreen kiosks to improve customer service and promote an efficiently run organization.  These include: interactive wayfinding, self-service ticket machines, self-ordering displays and retail touch screens.

What steps does your business need to take to prepare for the rise in traffic? Contact BLR.



September 5, 2017

Digital Menu Board

When making the move to digital menu boards, one area that provides companies a challenge is the logistics of setting them up. 

First, companies need to communicate the changes throughout the organization to ensure every department, and person, is on the same page as to the intentions of the menu boards.  Communication is vital to keeping errors to a minimum while producing targeted, and branded, content for the digital menu boards.  Once content is produced, the organization can begin the stages of implementation.

Large organizations should run pilot tests to identify areas of concern during the initial phases of implementation to ensure perfect execution when the digital menu boards are set to go live.


Having a dedicated, and experienced company to walk you through the process is vital to creating a targeted campaign with seamless implementation - BLR Sign Systems can help.  Contact BLR today.


August 29, 2017

Taco John’s Reports Sales increase after Menu-board Test

Taco John's has been adding new menu boards in-store and at the drive-thru and testing new designs since January, 2014. They have announced a 12% increase in EZ Combo Meals since converting to digital menu boards. The new menus have two panels and have simplified the ordering process for guests.

“Our guests love the new visuals on our drive-thru and interior menu boards,” Renée Middleton, vice president of marketing, said in the release. “It really simplifies the menu, catches their eye and brings more attention to the Taco John’s EZ Combos.”

Contact BLR to find out how we can help you convert your drive-thru menu displays.

August 8, 2017

Weather-Proof Your Outside Digital Menu Displays

The weather can be damaging to outdoor digital menu displays - so why not dress it up?!

Based on your business' location, you can dress up your outdoor digital menu display in a variety of ways.  For locations where it gets extremely hot outside, housing the equipment with an air conditioning unit can help regulate the temperature based on the outside temperature.  However, in areas where it is only warm - a fan can accommodate your needs.

Some businesses choose to use 'plenum chambers' to ventilate the outdoor digital menu display.  A plenum chamber is a type of ventilation system that uses air pressure to forces the air to move out - and then is replaced with fresh air from outside the chamber.  These systems allow displays to cool and provide extra protection from water.

June 13, 2017

​Taco Bell takes on Millenials with the new Taco Bell Cantina!

Taco Bell takes on Millenials with the new Taco Bell Cantina, which offers alcoholic slushies, beer, mixed drinks, tapas-style menus and flashy digital menu boards.  They are foot-traffic only so no more late night drive-thrus!

Taco Bell Cantina first debuted Chicago, Illinois in 2015 and now has 11 locations including San Francisco, Las Vegas and Austin.  The goal is to create 300 of these city-style restaurants to urban areas throughout the U.S. by 2022, according to NASDAQ.  Taco Bell is also looking to expand into China, Brazil, Canada and India over the next five years.

More information is available at



May 30, 2017

Michigan grocers add calorie labeling on prepared foods

SpartanNash, the Michigan-based grocer that operates 83 Family Fare stores in five states, decided to add digital menu boards at the deli that specify calorie counts for their prepared foods.  While this was supposed to be a provision of the Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, the FDA has been slow to implement the menu labeling guidelines.  SpartanNash decided to take the extra steps to comply and noted: "We want our store guests to make informed, better-for-you decisions when it comes to their meal options and portion sizes, and we believe the steps we have taken equip them to do just that," said Larry Pierce, SpartanNash executive vice president of merchandising and marketing, in a statement.


Other grocery chains are taking notice and are also working on adding the information to their signage


  • Walker-based grocer Meijer will have the nutrition labeling and signage for prepared foods in place at all of its 230 Midwest stores by June, a spokesman told MLive and The Grand Rapids Press.
  • Kroger is also currently working on adding caloric information to product labels to its prepared foods. In the meantime, customers can request nutrition information for food in the deli, soup and salad bar, sushi kiosks, and bakery.
Want to know more about the Family Fare initiatives taken place in conjunction with the FDA rulings?  Check out the full article at Michigan grocers add calorie labeling on prepared foods despite FDA rule delay

May 24, 2017

Sneak peek of Bojangles’ new restaurant prototype

The Charlotte-based chicken-and-biscuits chain has revealed a sneak peek into their new restaurant prototype to the Charlotte Business Journal.


The space looks to capture Bojangles’ 40-year heritage, while taking the brand into the future. Bojangles’ worked with brand strategy, retail and guest experience.


Some steps they took into the future included:

  • Accessible Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Charging stations for multiple devices
  • Digital menu boards highlight options such as sweet tea — which pours in a glass as customers peruse the menu.


For more news and pictures of the prototype store, visit the Charlotte Business Journal
April 12, 2017

McDonalds Faces Challenges Head On With Menu Boards

McDonalds has come a long way since their flagship store.  The menu has drastically changed and morphed into the set of foods we love today and the design has upgraded from a drive-up to a full blown restaurant.  The menu boards have gone from a static sign to traditional print and now to digital menu boards.  Many McDonalds are an array of technology when you go into the store now, which often leads you wondering "where do I start?".

Rick Cook, senior manager of U.S. IT restaurant solutions at McDonald's explained that they ran into a few challenges when they switched from traditional print to digital menu boards, while speaking at the Digital Signage Expo. 

The goal for switching to a digital menu board was to improve the customer service experience throughout their U.S. locations.  This would include deploying 40,000 screens and working with 45 agencies in an effort to localize the design, content and comply with FDA regulations.

The complications didn't end there.  After analyzing the implemented digital menu boards, there were 3 key issues that were identified:

  1. Regional owners have  difficulty with nationally deployed demos

Traditionally, McDonald's would contact regional managers with information on how to set up a national campaign.  The challenge came in with a disconnect in the communications - managers missed the emails or the menu boards did not get changed properly.  In an effort to end this challenge, McDonald's utilized the digital boards to push the content to the stores so that regional managers did not have worry about setting the promotion up properly.

  1. Outdated GUIs

After the new digital menus were deployed, thy found that there were issues with the WYSIWYG GUI that complicated the real-time changes that were being implemented.  As a result, they realized they should have upgraded the GUI before deploying the digital menu boards.

  1. Communication

Change is scary and for a large organization, getting everybody on board with change can be a challenge.  Cook noted that rather than force change, it would be best to 'make sure senior leadership is championing the technology'.  And that begins with communication.


The big takeaways for companies looking to upgrade to digital menus: communicate with the organization about the upcoming changes, updated GUI first and determine the best way to control the message moving forward.

January 3, 2017

Digital Menuboards: Return Your Investment

So, you're ready to do some remodeling and you've decided to include an update to your menu boards.  But is this the best time to do it? Measuring ROI on menu boards is difficult enough, so here's some tips to make it easier!

  1. Update Menu Boards In Isolation.  If all factors in your building have changed at one time, then it is impossible to determine which factor contributed to a rise or fall in revenue.  Rather than doing menu board updates during a renovation of the building, try only updating the menu board.s  This allows all factors to remain the same and then you can see how the new boards have affected ROI.
  2. Determine Costs of Print vs. Digital Boards.  Printing new menu boards can be costly; there's a sunk cost in graphic design, printing the boards, shipping and installing.  On average, stores update their boards 6-8 times per year which means high costs per year.  However, digital menu boards are installed once and can be changed at a much lower cost.  How much money could you be saving with a digital board?  Contact BLR to talk savings.
  3. Attract More Customers.  Let's say you're standing in a food court.  The restaurant on the left has a static menu board and the restaurant on the right has a digital menu board.  Which one is going to catch your eye?  Which one are you more likely to eat at?  Digital menu boards are more likely to bring customers and enhance purchasing.  Attracting more customers from your competitors is always great for your ROI!