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What is video signage?

by Steve Rosstad

Video signage is made up of three ingredients:

A. Plasma, LCD, LED or DLP Displays
B. Server Computer, DVD or HDDVD
C. Content

The displays should be High Definition. The size of the display screen must fit the size and application of its use. In some cases multiple screens are used in conjunction with each other to from a pattern or a network. The displays are installed in areas where you would want your marketing message or infomercial to be viewed. The server is the best way to go because it allows you to schedule a signage event. The content can be a simple slide show or a video producer production, and it needs to be well developed to make it interesting, creative, informative, ambient and cool.

Video signage can be used in all types of restaurants. Even though you may have a four star restaurant, digital signage can be used without being obtrusive or abusive. You just have to be creative. Here are some examples:

If you have a window facing a public street, you can place a plasma screen in it that can display the interior views of your restaurant or a display of some of your best dishes. You can promote your chef or mention your other locations, or your web site, which can bring in traffic because people may not know what’s really going on in a restaurant without going in. This previews your restaurant and introduces it to passing traffic, and helps creates desire.

You can have a timed video projector system: when you are closed, a reverse video screen automatically drops down from the ceiling in your restaurant’s window and shows an interesting message or something artsy that can grab attention. You can show a cool ambient crowd of people enjoying your space as through your restaurant was open. Make it interesting and fun.

Some restaurants have a lounge where customers wait. These areas are great to get your messages across. As you know, cooking shows on TV are very big, and creating your own could be a great way to promote your signature dish or products as customers wait for their table.

Restrooms can be used in some locations as video signage hot spots. I remember a restaurant in Florida that used small LCD video screens in strategic restroom locations that ran short videos promoting rock concerts at a large music hall venue, showing clips of the musical acts performing and promoting a special brand of tequila. That tequila incidentally was the same one the restaurant was displaying at the bar. This was a cross-marketing effort to sell more liquor at the bar. And bar sales were up!

Promote a special event or time of year. One restaurant installed video screens in the dining area as artwork, which allowed the owner to display video portraits of his favorite art. Then, when Valentines Day was on the horizon, he flashed heart-shaped bubbles floating across the screens with an ambient message to book early. These hearts got turned on once a night for one minute, and everyone remembered them!

A major restaurant in NYC installed a very large video wall as a back drop to a stage and has booked the space out to customers who want to show merchandise in a cool way. One of the first events booked was by a major fashion designer to stage a fashion show. The restaurant is being promoted by the video wall usage, which can be used to create a very cool atmosphere. The next event was booked for the Super Bowl. Seeing the Super Bowl on a 9ft x 30ft High Definition Screen was almost like being there.

Video equipment prices have come down, so now may be the time to start thinking about how video signage applications can help your business.

Good Luck and Enjoy the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show Of New York 2007

Steven Rosstad

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