Texas McDonald's deploys digital signage nutrition info kiosk

Feb. 21, 2012

Iowa-based creative design company QA Graphics recently announced the completion of an interactive digital signage nutritional kiosk for Jonathan Chan, owner and operator of a McDonald's franchise in Richardson, Texas.

The nutritional kiosk allows customers to review the restaurant's menu items and nutritional information. As customers walk into the lobby of the re-opened Richardson McDonald's they can view the restaurant menu and nutritional information on a 42-inch LCD interactive display. When interacting with the kiosk, customers can browse the full menu to see images along with nutritional facts for the extensive menu. The nutrition breakdown provides information for calories, protein, fat, carbohydrates, sodium and other dietary requirements including fiber, cholesterol, sugars, calcium and iron.

To develop the solution, QA Graphics worked directly with Chan, who owns and operates three franchise locations. QA Graphics said this is the first McDonald's location to provide this interactive experience solution for customers.

"We opened such a beautiful, modern restaurant that I also wanted to implement an element of design to make the menu and nutritional details both informative and visually stunning," Chan said in an announcement. "I wanted to take the lead and be the first location to provide a nutritional kiosk like this that's upfront with consumers. It was important to me to take the initiative in providing nutritional information before it was law mandated."

Customers can also use a "Build Your Meal" tool to assemble their meal and see what the total nutrition information will be for the selections they have made. Users are guided through four steps to choose an entrée, snacks or sides, beverages, and dessert. With each item, users are able to customize their selection if they want to reduce calories, sodium, etc. For example, if ordering a salad the customer can select a low-fat dressing, or omit the cheese. Or if ordering a sandwich, they can select which condiments they want included. After building their meal, the user can review their final order along with the total nutrition information.

"The consumer's first reaction has been, 'Wow! What is this thing?'" Chan said. "At first, I was concerned about a negative response from consumers; that the information may turn them away from ordering certain menu items. But there hasn't been a negative effect at all. In fact, it's been 100-percent positive, and at times has served as an opportunity to start a conversation with our customers."

In addition to the nutritional breakdown, information is provided on how the McDonald's menu can be part of a balanced diet. Suggested meals are provided for customers that want to make healthy choices to reduce carbohydrates, fat, or calories, along with other simple tips on how to cut calories. For example, tips demonstrate how many calories can be saved if alternative choices are made like ordering water instead of soda, or requesting no sauce on a sandwich.

"Many food service establishments are providing menu labeling, but a solution like this nutritional kiosk takes the customer experience to another level, providing the customer with realistic visuals and allowing them to interact with the menu based on their personal preferences," said Dan McCarty, president and owner of QA Graphics.

This is the third privately-owned McDonald's franchise that QA Graphics has worked with. They also worked with two LEED-certified McDonald's franchises to help them inform customers about their sustainable initiatives. For these projects, QA Graphics provided its Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard, an educational kiosk that customers can interact with to learn why the restaurants are sustainable.

Read more about digital signage in restaurants.

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