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Throughout its 50-year history, the Pacific Northwest quick serve restaurant company, Burgerville, has considered itself an innovator. Though modest in size and scope – with 39 locations in Oregon and Southwest Washington – the chain has long been committed to sustainability, fresh food, breakfast-to-late-night store hours, and has had a loyal base of customers. It is this same spirit of innovation that led Burgerville to begin transforming its restaurants by implementing digital signage — technology it believes will add to its customer appeal and fuel long-term growth.

Providing flexibility in presenting content to customers

While digital signage technology appealed to Burgerville for many of the same reasons it has taken hold in other industries, the restaurant chain saw that its greatest benefit lay in the flexibility it provides. The company implemented digital menu boards using Planar® PS-Series™ displays that allow Burgerville to adapt its menu offerings and prices very quickly based on the time of day, season of the year, or any other factor.

"With conventional menu boards, it would take us three to six weeks to implement a price or product change across all of our restaurants," says Kyle Dean, Burgerville's chief financial officer. "Now, it is possible for us to do it within 24 hours, which means we can quickly respond to changing circumstances, in support of our guests and team, and that further builds traffic and brand loyalty."

Supporting strategies for new store experiences

Working with Entouch Solutions of Happy Valley, Oregon, Burgerville has deployed digital menu boards at its new store in Tigard, just south of Portland, in June 2012. In an entirely new store environment for the chain – featuring a bright, open look and feel – the Planar digital menu boards "present customers with product imagery that is fresh, informative and highly visible," according to Entouch's Eric Hern. "We immediately heard from people how amazing they look, and the store staff is crediting them with strong customer sales." He added that the Planar displays were less expensive than competitive products that were considered, and they best matched the space that was available for them.

Burgerville's Kyle Dean says the Tigard location is the pilot project for future restaurants and remodels, and that digital menu boards factor strongly into that plan. "They provide a way for us to more cohesively present our product offerings, and to more easily make any time-of-day or seasonal changes that will engage our guests."

Meeting key business objectives

Several features of the Planar displays figure into that business strategy. Image quality is one. Dean says the company sought a digital solution that would display its products in almost true-life form. The menu information currently presented is still imagery—a combination of food photography and text. The three 55-inch Planar PS-Series menu board displays – installed side-by-side above the order counter - are bright, crisp and easily readable. They are professional-grade LCD displays with edge-lit LED backlighting, full HD 1080p resolution, 4000:1 contrast ratio, and 400 cd/m2 brightness. "These are attributes that really show off our products," Dean adds.

Return on investment was important as well. Dean says they wanted a commercial-grade solution that was affordable and would be up to the demands of operation in the quick serve environment . Planar PS-Series is an industry leader in price-performance for a solution of this type, and with design features such as a commercial-grade glass screen and metal bezel, it readily withstands the operational realities of quick serve retail, including humid environments, cooking oils, grill smoke, and the need to clean all surfaces with strong cleaning solutions, often several times each day. "It was readily apparent to us that replacing our static, back-lit panels with off-the-shelf televisions would not address these challenges in the new store, and that such a strategy would become more of an issue as we continue expand and upgrade our existing restaurants and build additional new ones," Dean says.

The menu board solution also had to be dependable and be easy to install and maintain. The Planar PS5550 displays are light-weight and are designed to mate with tilting mounts that enhance viewing and minimize glare. Hern added that with the mounts and the simple cabling of the Planar PS-Series, the installation "was essentially plug and play."

Partnering with Planar for the long run

Burgerville has long been committed to working with local vendors, so choosing technology from Oregon-based Planar Systems had an added benefit. However, Burgerville's Dean acknowledges that Planar would have been the vendor of choice anyway. "When you have a locally-based, best-in-class company with a track record of creativity working with you, that's the kind of company we want as a partner for the long haul," Dean adds.