It seems as though touch screen technology has somewhat taken over. You find touch screens being used in your new automobile, phones, museums exhibits, medical equipment, and the list goes on and on.
Let’s face it, touch screens are not only here to stay, they are only going to get better and evolve from science fiction into real life applications.
With all of this said, touch screens are inevitably going to improve and be used in bars and restaurants, and like it or not they can create an impact on your customers that old school marketing cannot do.
And with how competitive the industry is this day and age, you have got to be thinking about and planning ways to make your site stand out and not just blend in with all the rest — a maverick that starts trends and stays several steps ahead of your competition.
Most of you should already know that touch screens are being used with tablets for menus and ordering, but with this article, I’m going to focus on the lesser-known uses.
I have only one exception to the rule with this information and that is if you are the local small bar that caters to a clientele that is not gung ho with technology of any kind and you know who I mean! In that case, I wouldn’t be too quick to make such moves as I will be discussing here.
The first example is a touch screen setup on a table. And yes, I did say table. Of course that also includes bar tops, coffee tables, and lounge tables. What’s even more interesting about this application is that you, the bar or restaurant owner, can generate money from it though advertising. This advertising can change or be added to for that matter, so the message doesn’t get old or lose its impact. You have a touch screen coffee table as an example, giving guests the opportunity to step through pages of cocktails, beer, wine, or food, and in the corners there can be graphics advertising another business for which you the owner can sell space for. That ad space can be changing and eye catching for guests who may be waiting on a table or visiting with others. Imagine your guests sitting at the table, stepping through pages, and then touching items that they want to see a better view and putting together their order in advance. This effect actually becomes a marketing tool for your site and others that will dazzle your customers and keep them talking.
Let’s take it a step further and have the ability to use Twitter, giving customers the ability to tell others about their experience, right from the site and reply to others. You can just imagine how far something like this can be taken!
Now let’s take this same concept or application and build it into the top of your bar. Let’s face it, casinos have been using built in slot machines into their bars for decades, so what’s keeping you from doing this same effect in the top of your bar?
The answer is nothing, because there is nothing but money keeping you from doing the same thing as previously described. In this case, while guests are gathered around the bar drinking and/or eating, they can step through a drink menu, a calorie list, other locations, and your menu. The same bar top can be used for marketing purposes for both your location and other sites, not to mention outside party advertising. This is a win-win situation for you and it only gets better.
Oh yes, one other thing about these speakers and the related sound equipment, they are so directional, someone just a few feet away can’t hear what the person under the speaker is hearing.
Beyond what I’ve already discussed that could be part of the displays, let's add something for the kids. We can include interactive games for the kids and adults for that matter, or we can include trivia games. The complexity of this concept can go well beyond what has been discussed here, in fact, we can set up a competitive game where players from tables all throughout the bar or restaurant can compete with each other. Again, the opportunities are endless.
Here’s another thought for a touch screen application in a bar or restaurant and that’s an interactive board that would remind guests of a sign at the entrance area of your location, where you can allow guests to check through your menu and other things, just as I’ve already discussed.
The previous touch screen application is really nice and one that can be very self-sufficient, but imagine an employee image being projected onto a glass surface. Imagine that glass surface is cut out in the shape of that person and that model is telling the guests about specials, what the chef is recommending, special events, or other topics. Think about what the guests would think when they first walk into your lobby and they are greeted by this virtual humanoid. It’s not for every venue, but for many operations this could be a gamechanger.
Again, the directional sound system can be used and that way; you are keeping the sound track narrowed into just the immediate area in front of the projected image.
One last item for this article is a totally different use of interactive technology. In this case, the screen is a wall or floor and instead of using your fingers to touch a screen, the guest simply either walks on an image or passes their hands through the image on the wall. One example of this technology is where an isle is covered in leaves or flowers on the floor and as a guest walks down the aisle, the leaves or flowers blow to the sides. It’s a great effect and the same thing can be done with different graphics and various forms of advertising. This form of interaction is great as a conversation piece and attention getter. What a nice form of marketing, to have your logo on cards or disks that are projected onto the wall or floor for guests to interact with. This is a great use of this type of projection technology and a way to make your facility stand out and be talked about, regardless of the age of the guests.
As we can see, the future use of touch screens is very exciting for the bar and restaurant industry. The market will belong not to the followers, but to the leaders who always stay one step ahead. Everyone knows that technology is becoming more and more important for success with apps such as Yelp and Untapped becoming increasingly popular with the smartphone generation. Bring that technology directly into your business and stay on top!