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Playbooks

How Digital Signage for QSRs Satisfy Customers ‘Mental Models’

"Mental models" describe a set of beliefs of the things customers know and anticipate about a digital product. For QSRs, these are digital menu boards.

December  2021

In user-experience design, digital experiences are deliberately shaped around what are known as ‘user mental models’. By borrowing from the playbook of UX design in this way, franchisors adopting digital signage for QSRs can create digital dining experiences that align with the proven science of effective customer engagement.

What are mental models, and what do they have to do with digital signage for QSRs?

In online user-experience design:

"
mental models describe a set of beliefs of the things users or customers know and anticipate about a digital product. Typically a website."

In other words, ‘mental models’ are gradually-acquired customer expectations of how the products and experiences they interact with should look, feel and work.

What influences QSR customer mental models?

There’s one single factor that influences and shapes QSR customers’ mental models—the competition. The impact of competition on customer expectation and mental models is well understood in user-experience design.

QSR customers spend most of their QSR time at other QSRs, not yours.

For example, Jakob’s Law of UX states that:

"Users spend most of their time on other websites. This means that users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know."

Replace ‘other websites’ with ‘other quick-service restaurants’ and it’s easy to see the parallels. When customers walk into your quick-service restaurant, they arrive with a set of expectations shaped by their cumulative experience of other QSRs.

If the competition is now digital, then so is the customer mental model

If most QSRs customers are used to are offering digital dining experiences assisted by food menu media, then customers will walk into your quick-service restaurant with fixed expectations

Quick-service restaurants with lackluster paper menus that don’t inform, entertain and captivate attention will aggravate those mental models.

Is it only other QSRs that are shaping customers’ mental models?

The answer is a resounding ‘no’.

Franchisors adopting digital signage for QSRs benchmark against big-name enterprise chains who set digital expectations for customers. Though it’s not just the digital drive-thru experience of the golden arches that shape customer mental models.

With app ordering now the norm for food-courier delivery or pickup, customers are today adept at interfacing with digital technology for sourcing a quick-and-tasty bite in countless ways.

How can food menu media help QSRs compete against on and offline options?

With app ordering now the norm for food-courier delivery or pickup, customers are today adept at interfacing with digital technology for sourcing a quick-and-tasty bite in countless ways.

All the more reason for digitally-aware QSRs to incentivize customers to look up from their screens and make the journey into physical QSR dining spaces.

If those QSR spaces are also kitted-out with food menu media that assist them in ways they’re used to, then the transition from app to physical ordering will feel all the more seamless and attractive.

Digital dining experience is the mental model for QSR customers

When deciding what to eat, customers navigate a range of online, offline and hybrid options. Delivery, pickup or eat-out. To feature highly on that menu of options, QSRs must compete alongside the alternatives with equally convenient and accessible experience.

Creating QSR digital dining experience to match customers’ mental models

The good news is that QSRs needn’t overcomplicate by launching smartphone apps, or invest in enterprise-grade infrastructure to create digital dining experiences.

All they need is feet-on-the-ground options for rolling out a cost-effective food menu media strategy that can be strategically scaled to align with customer mental models.

Playbooks

How Digital Signage for QSRs Satisfy Customers ‘Mental Models’

"Mental models" describe a set of beliefs of the things customers know and anticipate about a digital product. For QSRs, these are digital menu boards.

December  2021

In user-experience design, digital experiences are deliberately shaped around what are known as ‘user mental models’. By borrowing from the playbook of UX design in this way, franchisors adopting digital signage for QSRs can create digital dining experiences that align with the proven science of effective customer engagement.

What are mental models, and what do they have to do with digital signage for QSRs?

In online user-experience design:

"
mental models describe a set of beliefs of the things users or customers know and anticipate about a digital product. Typically a website."

In other words, ‘mental models’ are gradually-acquired customer expectations of how the products and experiences they interact with should look, feel and work.

What influences QSR customer mental models?

There’s one single factor that influences and shapes QSR customers’ mental models—the competition. The impact of competition on customer expectation and mental models is well understood in user-experience design.

QSR customers spend most of their QSR time at other QSRs, not yours.

For example, Jakob’s Law of UX states that:

"Users spend most of their time on other websites. This means that users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know."

Replace ‘other websites’ with ‘other quick-service restaurants’ and it’s easy to see the parallels. When customers walk into your quick-service restaurant, they arrive with a set of expectations shaped by their cumulative experience of other QSRs.

If the competition is now digital, then so is the customer mental model

If most QSRs customers are used to are offering digital dining experiences assisted by food menu media, then customers will walk into your quick-service restaurant with fixed expectations

Quick-service restaurants with lackluster paper menus that don’t inform, entertain and captivate attention will aggravate those mental models.

Is it only other QSRs that are shaping customers’ mental models?

The answer is a resounding ‘no’.

Franchisors adopting digital signage for QSRs benchmark against big-name enterprise chains who set digital expectations for customers. Though it’s not just the digital drive-thru experience of the golden arches that shape customer mental models.

With app ordering now the norm for food-courier delivery or pickup, customers are today adept at interfacing with digital technology for sourcing a quick-and-tasty bite in countless ways.

How can food menu media help QSRs compete against on and offline options?

With app ordering now the norm for food-courier delivery or pickup, customers are today adept at interfacing with digital technology for sourcing a quick-and-tasty bite in countless ways.

All the more reason for digitally-aware QSRs to incentivize customers to look up from their screens and make the journey into physical QSR dining spaces.

If those QSR spaces are also kitted-out with food menu media that assist them in ways they’re used to, then the transition from app to physical ordering will feel all the more seamless and attractive.

Digital dining experience is the mental model for QSR customers

When deciding what to eat, customers navigate a range of online, offline and hybrid options. Delivery, pickup or eat-out. To feature highly on that menu of options, QSRs must compete alongside the alternatives with equally convenient and accessible experience.

Creating QSR digital dining experience to match customers’ mental models

The good news is that QSRs needn’t overcomplicate by launching smartphone apps, or invest in enterprise-grade infrastructure to create digital dining experiences.

All they need is feet-on-the-ground options for rolling out a cost-effective food menu media strategy that can be strategically scaled to align with customer mental models.

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