Best Restaurant/Food Service Deployment - Digital Signage 

Project: Zippy's Digital Menu Boards
Client: Pacific Digital Signs
Submitted by: NEC Display Solutions

Brief overview of the project/technology:
Zippy’s is a quick-service take out and dine-in restaurant located in Hawaii. The company also operates an in-store retail bakery operation, Napoleon's Bakery, in every Zippy's operation. Zippy's opened its first restaurant in 1966 and now has 25 locations throughout the state of Hawaii, with a team of more than 2,300 people. Many locations are open 24-hours and are a local favorite from breakfast to late-night dining. In 2010, Zippy's partnered with Pacific Digital Signs and NEC Display Solutions of America to complete a pilot program installing digital menu boards at select locations. The initial pilot consisted of 10 locations with one to four displays per store, featuring daily specials, promotions and more as a complement to the traditional static pricing menu boards. The 11th location was a full menu board deployment consisting of 11 displays, 10 at the take-out counter and one at the restaurant’s entry. Zippy's projects to continue the roll-out to their remaining 16 locations, resulting in a dynamic menu board solution that can be remotely controlled from both the corporate offices and onsite by each store manager. The full menu board solution is comprised of (11) NEC 32” V321-2 displays and is powered by three digital signage player PCs with four HDMI video outputs per player. This optimized configuration allowed Zippy's to maximize their hardware and software budget without sacrificing the desired number of displays. The software solution is a hybrid of several digital signage software packages customized for the client's exact needs. This provides both management and location store managers the ability to quickly update menu items, pricing and remove sold-out items from any Internet PC or smartphone. Zippy's is now revising the feasibility of installing similar full menu board rollouts (10 displays) to all 25 restaurants.

Objectives of the deployment or the technology:
Zippy’s wanted to change its static menu boards into digital signage for several reasons: • Evolve from dated print menu boards to a digital menu solution that will allow for easy addition/updates to menu items including various nutritional information as soon-to-be required by the FDA. • Eliminate costly expenses involved with printing monthly promotional posters and delivering to 27 stores state-wide. • Eliminate daily specials chalkboard by instituting an automated system that can be easily updated. • Reduce printed sign clutter at counter windows. • Create a dynamic way to promote specials, new menu items, social media and other promotional content. • Ability to remotely monitor the menu boards in all locations. • Upgrade customer's brand perception of quality and value.

Results achieved:
• Zippy’s IT staff is now able to make changes on-the-go at a moment’s notice, whether it’s automated switching from breakfast to lunch, or adding a new menu item. • Zippy's can now easily add nutritional information at any time without costly reprinting, delivery and labor to replace the menu boards. • Customers are able to more easily read menu items and find what they’re looking to order due to the crisp picture and bright content. • Menu items have shown sales lift when promoted on the digital displays. • Counter space has been significantly reduced of clutter resulting in a cleaner appearance and positive feedback from customers. • Zippy's is now able to quickly test new promotions and menu items at a control group of stores before rolling out to the entire chain.

Size and geographic location(s) of the deployment:
Zippy's has 25 locations throughout Hawaii. The pilot project featured 10 locations with one to four displays per store. The first post-pilot location featured 11 displays (10 at take-out counter and one at restaurant entry). Installations continue through 2011 for the remaining 16 locations. Each location is open 24/7, so usage is very high.

Selected judges comments:

  • The easy interface for menu update will enable the success of this installation.
  • Great use of technology to solve a key problem in food services. Good example for other restaurant industry players.
  • Nice installation ... Systems infrastruce is nice, real time change is fantastic.
  • I think what really makes this stand out is the ability to edit and manage the menu at the local level. Technically, it appears to be a very stable and reliable solution.
  • Quick and easy to use - at site or from corp. Looks nice and gives lots of options.

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