Using digital signage to navigate the new normal in UK pubs and restaurants
You could almost hear the sigh of relief radiating throughout the hospitality sector last month when it was announced that pubs, bars and restaurants could open their doors to the public again from July 4th onwards. Thus far, it’s been a pretty profound success and whilst many naysayers spoke of potential drunken riots and establishments ill-prepared to deal with social distancing rules, they have mostly been proven wrong, save for a few ‘Super Saturday’ bad apples.
For larger chain pubs and restaurants, the reopening has been a no-brainer, of course, but for smaller independent venues on tight budgets and with smaller physical spaces to allow for social distancing, it’s been far from an easy ride. Many, indeed, have refused to reopen yet as they simply wouldn’t be able to feasibly turn a profit with regulations the way they currently stand.
So, how can these establishments best alter their practices to adapt to post-lockdown regulations besides separating tables, installing plexiglass screens and educating their employees? If they are on particularly restrictive budgets, investing in some digital signage could be an attractive digital tool for the following reasons.
Health and Safety - If you’ve visited any supermarket in the last few months you’ll undoubtedly have noticed the floor stickers and signs asking patrons to stand 2 metres apart and the hand sanitiser stations scattered around most shop floors. This is the ‘new normal’ everyone keeps banging on about and it’s here to stay for the foreseeable future. Digital displays can be used to reinforce these messages to customers and can even be installed as part of a freestanding hand sanitiser station, imparting wisdom and even potential marketing. These kinds of installations will not only make your establishment safer but will also give customers the confidence that they are being taken care of.
Marketing - You might (understandably) assume that now is not the best time to be investing in marketing. But the great thing about digital displays is that they are so flexible. An LED video screen could, for example, display different images and videos on rotation; some containing health and safety advice and others containing details on specials, drinks offers, branded content and glimpses of the menu.
Organisation - If customers are being organised more efficiently, you’ll be able to get more sat down and spending money. There are many ways you can use digital signage to better organise your patrons. Consider, for example, a small scrolling LED display at each table that has a 90-minute countdown set when a party first sits down. When that timer reaches zero, they know that their allotted time is up and they have to leave to make room for the next diners. Even more simply, it could be used to let potential customers know how many diners or drinkers are currently in the pub and give a rough estimate when another table will be free. The options are almost endless.
Cost - Think about how much it would cost to fully deck out your drinking or dining space with signage that needs to be changed every few days as restrictions evolve. A digital display can be changed on the fly and once the world has ‘returned to normal’ and coronavirus is no longer a threat it also has a multitude of other potential uses - from being used to display menus and special offers to branding and paid advertisements from local businesses.
Ultimately, it’s an investment you truly won’t regret and will continue paying for itself long after COVID-19 has faded from our collective memories.