Food trucks hitting the road with digital menu boards
Digital signage and digital menu boards are going mobile with food trucks.
Food trucks, basically pop-up restaurants on wheels, are one of the hip dining trends spreading to cities across the country, with delivery trucks, wagons and even old school buses re-purposed as foodie havens. And some of them are taking digital signage on the road with them to display their menus in a dynamic and fluid fashion, or even to help entertain diners.
The trend isn’t limited to gourmet entrepreneurs, though, as quick service chain Jack in the Box also has gotten on board the food truck bus — as have Fazoli’s, Taco Bell and many others in the casual dining, quick service and fast casual spaces.
Eat at Recess, a San Diego-based food truck founded in September 2011 by entrepreneur Jason Swinford,
uses a digital signage display from NEC Display Solutions for both branding, with logos and scannable QR codes, and for entertaining, with an Xbox Kinect and Blu-ray player connected to the NEC high-brightness display.
The Eat at Recess Facebook page features a picture of a young customer playing a video game with the gesture-controlled Kinect, and the screen also can display QR codes linking to promotional spots, incorporating the truck’s “Brand Ambassador” program for repeat customers.
“When I was a kid, recess was the best time of the day,” Swinford said in a white paper published by DST. “The emphasis of the truck is bringing back recess for others; getting them outside and giving them something healthful to eat rather than having them take their lunch back to their cubicles and eat in front of the computer.”
Jack in the Box first rolled out its “Jack’s Munchie Mobile” in San Diego last year, and this year added another vehicle to its two-truck fleet, with “The Jack Burger Truck” starting to make the rounds of the southeastern U.S. (The Jack Burger Truck made its first stop at the Country Music Association’s CMA Music Festival in Nashville earlier this month.)
Both trucks feature digital menu boards, and the displays are a key part of the concept, according to Seattle-based branding firm Beyond Traditional, which manages both vehicles.
Having the trucks’ menus on digital displays gives the trucks the flexibility to change the menus on the fly — if, for an example, a certain item sells out — said Jamie Hall, the account manager for Jack in the Box at Beyond Traditional. They can also quickly adapt the menu for different locations — say at a private party where only certain menu items will be offered — Hall said.
“We’re able to switch out different menus for different occasions,” she said. “Logistically a digital board made sense for that reason, but since the food truck is often stopping at different events, we also wanted to create something that was interactive for guests and relevant for the location.”
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