NEC displays show finger-lickin’ good food in Germany

 In Digital Signage, Technology

KFC Germany is using NEC displays with embedded Raspberry Pi computing for digital menu boards which promote a regularly changing offer and promotions to a younger audience.

In a highly competitive market, KFC relies on new technologies to stay ahead of the competition. Using NEC displays with embedded Raspberry Pi computing, digital menu boards at the fast food chicken outlet can react quickly to changing offers to satisfy customer appetites.

The chicken specialist opened 2018, its jubilee year, with record sales in Germany. During last year, 15 KFC restaurants have opened in Germany alongside several new branches in Austria and an entry programme planned for Switzerland. Fast food is a quickly growing market.

KFC changes its menu more than six times a year. In addition, there are special offers and promotions which change daily. Now established for 50 years in Germany, KFC plans to target a younger audience and to focus more on the individual needs of its customers.

Traditionally, product presentation has taken the form of rotating displays or interchangeable posters and menu cards. However, with more than 160 branches in Germany alone, changing posters and menu cards is time-consuming and expensive. Consequently, there is little room for manoeuvre when attracting attention to any short-term promotions.

KFC therefore decided to integrate digital menu boards in co-operation with advertising agency m&r Kreativ. “Unlike the analogue alternative, digital menu boards emphasise KFC‘s modern brand presence,” said Lisa Probst, head of IT at m&r Kreativ. “They enable a mix of flexible product presentation, infotainment and interaction with customers. KFC can provide its customers with better information and positively influence their purchasing patterns.”

After intensive consultation with marketing specialists, NEC Display Solutions was chosen to supply the technology. And in co-operation with system integrator IT-Haus, professional large format displays from NEC were installed in the sales area comprising 48in MultiSync P484 and 40in MultiSync P404 models, with integrated Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3.

Thanks to a brightness of 700 cd/sq m and the screens’ anti-reflective coating, the range of food on offer is superbly presented, readable even in bright ambient conditions with the modern and slim design fitting into the brand’s modern interior design. Brand recognition is also guaranteed as KFC’s iconic CI colours – white on bright red – are accurately reproduced.

High-quality components ensure that the displays can be used in continuous operation, a critical factor for fast food outlets. The user-friendly and intelligent management and maintenance function also ensures central control of the displays, saving the company resources and time.

Thanks to an OMi interface, the source of the screen content is already seamlessly integrated into the display thus simplifying the installation of devices. Reliability is assured since no cabling between the source and the display is required.

“A very special highlight is the innovative Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3. It is extremely robust and can withstand 24/7 usage without any problems,” said Probst. “The NEC Edition of the module impresses with its additional functionality which is especially designed for usage in digital signage. The menu board content at KFC can be updated accordingly via the network and centrally controlled via a playlist“.

Features include extended memory, a watchdog timer, a realtime clock and video codec support. Thanks to its modular functionality the computing power can be flexibly upgraded according to future needs which is a huge advantage.

Together, NEC Display Solutions, m&r Kreativ and IT-Haus delivered a full-service solution to the fast food giant. Hardware and logistics, along with the co-ordination of maintenance such as power supply and networking are comprehensively covered alongside the creation and delivery of content.

Customers are better informed and the entire range of meals can be displayed, adapted and appropriately highlighted in realtime. Whilst menus designed to meet hunger pangs are most prominent at midday, popular bucket or animated products will stimulate the appetite of evening visitors. Advertising is targeted and flexibly broadcast as needed – a cooling ice-cream in summer or a hot drink in winter for instance.

“We are more than satisfied with the result. Even at the age of 50, KFC is a young, modern brand and should be perceived as such,” said Dr Thorsk Westphal, chief marketing officer at Yum! Restaurants International, the parent company of KFC. “We now plan to replace all indoor posters gradually with digital options in order to become even more flexible.”

In addition, a refurbishment of outside installations is planned for the future. “In the long term, we are also striving for modernisation in this area and would happily use the same partners again.”

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