Digital Media Screens in Quick-Service Restaurants Get Attention

April 9, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Data-driven | Media & Entertainment | Out-of-Home | Personalization | Technology | Television

Millions of US adults visit quick-service restaurants each month, and they constitute a prime audience for in-store digital media, according to an Indoor Direct study conducted by Arbitron at Wendy’s, Denny’s, Hardee’s, Arby’s, and CiCi’s Pizza stores.

Nearly 100 million people – about 42% of the US adult population – visit at least one those restaurants in a typical month, according to Indoor Direct, which has a digital media network consisting of 42-inch LCD screens displaying a mix of entertainment content, brand advertising, and point-of-purchase campaigns.

Below, some highlights from the study:

  • On average, quick-service restaurant patrons spent 32 minutes in the dining areas with a screen:


  • 85% of diners noticed either the promotional digital board located at the order counter and/or the screen(s) in the dining area.
  • 9 out of 10 customers that noticed the dining area screens said they spent “some” or almost all of their time watching.
  • In-store ads can be more effective than TV spots:
    • Nearly two-thirds (65%) of those who noticed the screens could successfully recall at least one of the advertisers on an aided basis. For individual brands, average recall was 25%.
    • The majority of restaurant customers (57%) said they were more likely to purchase a product or service after seeing it featured on the screens:


  • Overall, customer feedback about the video screens was positive:
    • More than two-thirds (68%) gave a score of “4” (like) or “5” (really like) when rating reaction to the screens.
    • About half of teenagers (ages 14-17) gave a “5” rating.
    • Fully 72% of all surveyed agreed the screens promote a “cool” or “cutting edge” image for the restaurant.


CBS, BBC Worldwide, Style Network, Universal Pictures, Women’s Entertainment, and are a few of the Indoor Direct content providers, offering news, sports, animation, classic television shows, music videos and games.


  • 43% of dining-area viewers said they liked (a “4” or “5” rating) the programming.
  • News/human interest stories and TV shows/movie clips were the most popular forms of programming content – 51% and 50%, respectively, of restaurant customers said they “like” or “really like” them.

“We found that diners we studied often tend to be on site or en route to shopping destinations such as malls and department stores or going to a movie when they stop into a casual dining or quick-service restaurant,” said Diane Williams, product manager, custom research for Arbitron Inc.

“Brand messages in out-of home environments such as quick service and casual dining restaurants have the potential to influence consumers right before or after a shopping or entertainment event.”

Indoor Direct plans to roll out displays in some 1,000 locations among those restaurants and others by the end of this summer. Advertisers can choose to run traditional spots or create customized, integrated spots into the Indoor Direct content.

About the study: Arbitron Inc. conducted 2,582 in-person interviews with customers of five quick-service and casual dining restaurants that feature Indoor Direct: Arby’s, CiCi’s Pizza, Denny’s, Hardee’s and Wendy’s. Data were weighted in the “total sample” data set to balance the number of respondents per chain.

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