2012 Best Food Service Deployment: Digital Signage 


Project: American Museum of Natural History
Client: Compass Group/Restaurant Associates
Submitted by: ComQi

Brief overview of the project/technology: 

ComQi is the digital signage provider of record for the Compass Group. We have been installing and managing digital signage for Compass since 2010. This installation for the Compass Group sector, Restaurant Associates (RA) at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) utilizes all aspects of the ComQi solution. 

A custom built wall was installed to house two 1x3 46” LCD media walls. These screens are driven by a ComQi media player. What’s unique is that RA marketing people and AMNH marketing people independently control each side. RA controls the incoming visitor traffic media wall, and AMNH controls the media wall facing visitors at the checkout queue.

Utilizing our On Site Manager (OSM), each wall can be instantly updated with a variety of media. OSM is a browser-based software, so a user simply logs in, updates a template, or uploads pictures, video etc, and schedules to play. The interface is designed as a web 2.0 application and utilizes drag and drop simplicity. Flash templates, pictures, videos can all be used. Each 1x3 media wall is also synchronized so that content is displayed across all three screens. This allows for large and unique media that is extremely well suited for the museum environment.

Objectives of the deployment or the technology:

This location was recently remodeled, RA and AMNH wanted to deliver a big and impactful media installation to improve the visitors experience, draw in more visitors, enhance the locations profile, bring a modern look and feel, and have control of a unique messaging platform. Since each company controls its own media wall, there are unique messages that they can deliver. 

RA predominately displays content that is food related, informing and entertaining thru animated templates. As visitors start their journey thru the café, the RA side allows them to drive content to help effect purchasing as well as healthy choices. 

AMNH typically displays content related to current or upcoming exhibits and events. Since the café can have long wait times at the queue depending on the time of day, the AMNH content is entertaining and at the same time promotional. This is key to dropping the visitors perceived wait times and improving their café experience.

Results achieved relative to the objectives:

Our first level of success was to exceed the expectations of the RA and the AMNH marketing teams. As can be expected at a high-profile location, quality and deliverables were key. This was achieved well beyond their set expectations. 

Second, reliability and ease of use. The systems have been 100% operational with no errors since their go live. Due to the thoroughness and attention to detail of the hardware design and installation we expect this trend to continue. Both the RA and AMNH marketing staff are pleased with the easy-to-use OSM program. They manage their content entirely without ComQi intervention. 

Third, RA staff has reported that the museum visitors enjoy different aspects of the screen. In the front, the RA content is clever, informative and engaging. At the queue, the AMNH content is entertaining, informative and often educational. They have reported that it has impacted the visitors perceived wait times at the queue and made for a much more pleasurable experience. Sales increases of products was not an objective for this install so that has not been measured. On all other counts the installation to date has been a great success.

Size and geographic location(s) of the deployment:

One single site deployment.

Stu Armstrong of ComQi accepts the award from Janet Webster, DSA EVP - Self-Service Kiosk (left) and Jennifer Nye, DSA EVP - Digital Signage (right).

Selected judges’ comments:
  • A simple and very elegant solution, both visually and in terms of resolving the inherent conflict between the two venue "owners" - the museum and the catering provider. Screens like this require top-quality design skills in the marketing department(s) and it looks like those are available. It’s difficult to assess what the ROI might be but I can’t imagine a visit to the museum cafeteria not being enhanced at least slightly by this installation.
  • Offers consumers interesting information about what they can experience; also promotes the Café's appearance and products. The 1x3 is impressive.
  • Extending the visit experience from display and exhibit areas into on-site food services better integrates this refreshment and meeting area into the entire facility and visit experience. This is a beautiful deployment with well-thought content strategy and media execution.
  • A well executed display installation and pretty slick content.
  • Signage does a good job of promoting good nutrition, menu items and museum events. The design is bright, clean and to the point. The location is perfect for wait time and allows the museum to provide additional information while visitors are waiting.
  • It looked like a nice single execution. Content looked sharp. Loved the dramatic music on the video. Made it feel like it was the second coming, not a menu board at a museum.

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