With customers getting comfortable with interactive technology, there’s a bright future for digital displays. Restaurants, however, will need to adapt to the changing technology landscape, be more open to what consumers want, and learn to stay flexible. Remi Del Mar from Epson America shared these thoughts in an interview with DST.
For more than a decade, Remi Del Mar has worked to bring customers the best experiences through digital display technology.
Del Mar, senior product manager at Epson America, has a passion for continuing the company’s plan for formulating new, unique digital experiences that blend both the physical and digital world. Del Mar also specializes in augmented reality and commercial display solutions.
Remi Del Mar, provided
Epson America, formed in 1975 and based in Los Alamitos, California, is a computer and electronics manufacturer, specializing in professional imaging, projectors, printers, robot technology and more.
Del Mar has seen the influx of digital displays in restaurants in recent years. While the industry did pump the brakes on buying new technology after the COVID-19 recession hit in early 2020, restaurants have jumped back in — and have ventured into new digital experiences — since the sector started to rebound in 2021.
With customers getting more comfortable with interactive technology, Del Mar sees a bright future for digital displays. Restaurants, however, will need to adapt to the changing technology landscape, be more open to what consumers want, and learn to stay flexible. Del Mar shared these thoughts and more in a recent email interview with Digital Signage Today.
Q: Following the effects of the COVID-19 shutdowns in 2020, did restaurants spend less money on digital signage?
A: The restaurant industry was among many that were heavily impacted during COVID shutdowns. As restaurant sales decreased during early phases of the pandemic, so did their spending. As things started to re-open, we did notice an uptick in demand for projection technology as restaurants began to shift business plans to incorporate more digital and touchless tools and technologies.
Q: Did restaurants, in general, change their digital signage strategies as they rebounded from the pandemic? If so, how?
A:Digital signage was already breaking ground in the restaurant landscape. As consumers embraced more digital in their everyday lives, restaurant owners began shifting dining spaces to enhance the customer experience. With the need to alter business strategy at a moment’s notice, the pandemic kicked digital technology use in restaurants into fast gear.
Fast forward to today. Digital is critical for creating engaging and informative displays without the need for physical touch. Over the last couple of years, we have seen several industries, including the restaurant industry, shift their digital signage strategies to prioritize more unique and inspiring customer experiences. While new technology is being embraced, restaurant owners remain very cost conscience and are looking for the tools that will provide positive customer experiences but also promote efficiency and offer longevity as technology — and environments — continue to change.
Q: What do you see as the biggest trends to emerge in digital signage for restaurants?
A: We live in a world surrounded by digital — from the palm of our hand to digital menus to massive projection displays on the side of buildings. Today’s consumers crave simple transactions and experiences that offer instant results and/or action, while also deliver memorable moments.
With ever-evolving technologies hitting the market consistently, digital signage in restaurants is setting new standards and will continue to move the needle across the industry. With faster, easier and more efficient technology emerging every day, the following are a few restaurant technology trends, I believe will continue to take off from here:
- Experiential: Restaurants are evolving as they aim to offer unforgettable experiences that people want to talk about. Today is all about creating moments that exceed the traditional dining experience and enhance a meal beyond the food itself. Whether digitizing an interactive menu on the table or creating an immersive dining location, it’s all about creating something unique to encourage return visits and drive more attention to your location. Branching outside the traditional dining experience to create a completely new and exciting atmosphere is going to make restaurants stand out moving forward.
- Personalization: With dining room closures, consumers became dependent on delivery and pick-up, oftentimes never stepping foot into a dining location. As restaurants reopened and guests returned, delivering that emotional connection was more important than ever. Delivering a personal touch during dining experiences can be a powerful tool for encouraging repeat visits. Using technology to adjust menus for various consumers or offer an interactive display while waiting for a table may not seem like a huge difference, but it can make all the difference when engaging with consumers and enticing them to return.
- Cost-efficient and adaptable:From touchless technology to easy-to-use software and enhanced installation, restaurants are looking for the latest in digital signage technology to help drive more traction while focusing on the overall cost and ability to adjust to the restaurant needs now and in the future. Today’s projectors deliver beautiful, bright and big images combined with content creation tools and flexible installation options that are designed to grow with businesses. From projecting happy hour selections behind the bar to interactive floor cues or creating a completely new atmosphere with the switch of content, projection technology offers a convenient and installation-friendly display solution that is not bound by a frame and is available at a fraction of the cost of a massive flat panel display.
Q: More restaurants are using digital menu boards. Do you think that trend will continue to rise? Why?
A: During a time when efficiency and space optimization is more important than ever, companies are embracing digital signage technology to provide relevant and contextual information with the capability to adjust content seamlessly.
Consumer habits are changing and will only continue to do so as technology advances. As interactive technologies continue to emerge and become smarter, more efficient, and also more user-friendly, the digitizing of menu boards is only going to grow and expand from here. Consumers crave interactive and personal experiences that require little effort on their part with rapid results. Digitizing the menu also means more efficiency internally, resulting in lower overhead costs along with less wasted time and more control.
Q: In the next few years, in what ways do you see restaurants using digital signage?
A: Now is the time to pull consumers back in. Over the past few years, we’ve seen a massive shift in how consumers engage with content, resulting in businesses reevaluating how they design space to better inform, engage and personalize the customer journey. As digital signage continues to rapidly innovate, the key to thriving as a business owner is adapting to change. With a higher emphasis on eye-catching displays that are both efficient and engaging, immersive installations and experiential environments will drive the next frontier of digital signage.
Projection is a powerful digital signage tool that we will continue to see more of in restaurants as owners look towards creating one-of-a-kind experiences that merge digital and physical worlds together. Offering flexibility unlike any other display solution, projectors are getting smaller, lighter, brighter and more user-friendly. Enabling business owners to create dynamic displays without interrupting the atmosphere, projectors can transform virtually any surface, shape or material without being bound by a frame. Delivering a sense of magic with illumination from any direction, today’s projectors are even equipped with intuitive software and content creation tools for easier content management.