Restaurant Rockstars Episode 395

Restaurant Signs that Drive Business

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Restaurant Signs are vital to your business.

They create excitement, draw attention and engage your guests. A great restaurant sign is an investment in your restaurant’s future success.

In this episode of the Restaurant Rockstars Podcast, I’m speaking with David Rycyna, the CEO of Cirrus, which is the leader in Digital LED signage specializing in restaurant signs.

Listen as David tells us:

  • The benefits of LED restaurant signs as a competitive advantage
  • How your restaurant can present, pre-program and change any graphics, video, text and colors remotely and on the fly from your phone or device
  • The ways AI can elevate the power of Cirrus signs
  • That Cirrus works with your municipality on the approval process, to installation to process and implementation of your new sign
  • If you can dream it, Cirrus can create a sign to uplevel your brand and match your concept and building
  • Cirrus provides low monthly payments and your first two months free

We discuss the critical role of visibility in setting your restaurant apart, driving guest engagement, and increasing traffic through changeable messaging.

David shares his journey from hospitality to founding Cirrus and how their customizable LED signs serve as a powerful marketing medium.

This episode delves into the benefits of digital restaurant signs, including ease of use, programmability, energy efficiency, and advanced features like AI and sensor integration. David also highlights the importance of branding and the convenience of their turnkey installation and maintenance services, all offered with an innovative pricing model.

Don’t miss the insights on how digital restaurant signs can significantly boost sales and create a unique customer experience.

Look, old school fixed signs are missing excitement, visibility, convenience and the flexibility to stay fresh and relevant. Digital signs are programmable, graphically eye-catching, energy efficient and brand enhancing.

Watch or Listen to this episode then, get in touch with Cirrus then Rock YOUR Restaurant!

Roger

Connect with our guest:

https://try.cirrusled.com/rockstar

https://www.facebook.com/cirrusled
https://www.instagram.com/cirrusled

https://www.linkedin.com/company/cirrusled

Welcome back, and thanks once again for joining me on the podcast. Today’s guest is David Rycyna, and he heads up a company called Cirrus that creates the most incredible digital signage. Now, we’re going to talk all about the importance of visibility and really setting your, , Restaurant apart from the competition.

We’re going to talk about driving guest engagement and increasing traffic to your restaurant and the power of changeable messages. Now, when I ran restaurants, this was super important, but you can pre program these signs And on the fly from any device, from your computer, from your phone, you can put amazing graphics in your logos and your colors.

These signs can be customized to mirror your beautiful building, your location, regardless of your concept, but it is a competitive advantage. But most importantly, it is an investment in increased sales, increased awareness, brand building, and setting yourself apart from the competition. So you’re not going to want to miss this episode.

Thanks so much to our audience for tuning in. Thanks to our sponsors. Now, on with the episode.

You’re tuned in to the Restaurant Rockstars Podcast. Powerful ideas to rock your restaurant. Here’s your host, Roger Beaudoin.

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Every restaurant needs signage that attracts attention and brings in the customers. Cirrus LED signs bring your business to life and increase customer traffic and sales. Cirrus high resolution LED technology is energy efficient and ensures maximum visibility for your operation. Cirrus signs are versatile and allow easy changing of content and displays.

Cirrus, you can subscribe to pay with low monthly payments and no upfront costs. And now my listeners get the first two months free. Go to try.cirrusLED.com/rockstar. That’s try dot C-I-R-R-U-S-L-E d.com/rockstar.

welcome back, everyone. This is the Restaurant Rockstars podcast. Thanks for being with us. David, welcome to the show today. How are you?

I’m doing great, Roger. Thanks for having me.

Now, this is awesome. We’re going to talk all about restaurant signage, because that is absolutely essential to driving guest traffic and building a brand and all those things.

But before we do, tell us about your hospitality story. Did you ever work in a restaurant?

My first job 8th grade, Oliver’s Restaurant in Buffalo, New York. They were at the time and last I checked, probably, still going strong but at the time, they were the premier fine dining experience in, in the small city of Buffalo.

And I started off working catering jobs on the weekends I was an eighth grader at the time worked up until I graduated high school, just nonstop, did, I think every job in the restaurant short of Bartending and waiting the tables. I wasn’t polished enough to wait the tables. But they stuck me in every other job there.

Parking cars, bussing, coat check. Coat check was where the money was. For a, for a 13 year old. That’s a lot of tips. Wow. In the coat room.

You were parking cars too at a young age?

Yeah, as soon as I had my driver’s license, I distinctly remember getting into a car that was stick shift and I had no experience driving a stick.

I, Got it into neutral as it rolled down almost into the street while, revving the engine. No idea what I was doing. And the owner anxiously ran over slamming on the windows. Oh, this is great. And then he politely parked the car himself. So yeah.

What a learning lesson that must’ve been.

Let me ask you if it was a fine dining place. As a young person, did Hospitality rub off on you. Did it shape your life in any way? Because that’s the foundation of our business. And I know in my own experience, that happened to me. And especially when you’re in a position where you’re getting gratuities, it should be a natural thing to provide great service to people as a point of pride.

But I think when you start getting tons of money thrown at you, it changes your perspective. But was there any special training in this restaurant for you on how to relate to the guest or any of that kind of stuff or how to treat people? do you remember?

I think for me, it was incredibly formative in that it was my first don’t know what work is until you go out and do it.

And you don’t you don’t know what service is and really great service until you see it. And in that restaurant in particular, there was a culture. Of and I’ll steal Will Godera’s phrase, unreasonable hospitality. It was every single detail needed to be perfect, and it actually plagues me to this day.

Because it was like a very traditional service. You, you did not clear from the left hand side, right? You clear from the right, serve from the left, right? Placement, on, on the table, like all of those basics that were that were, I learned at that time and were just a manifestation of that crew and their attention to detail and how.

How perfect they wanted the experience to be that rubbed off on me. And again, I’d say it, it plagues me to this day because it’s it’s hard to find those things in a restaurant today that certainly exists. And when you see it, when you see people who, follow that traditional and rigorous type of service.

It’s it just makes the experience all that, that much more special. But yeah, that was a, I was very lucky in that. It was my first job and I got to see that, up close and personal. And I was this little pipsqueak kid and, they were hospitality professionals. And so it was, they weren’t the kind of, in a restaurant, nobody has time to really hold your hand and, get you up to speed.

Yeah. There’s they’re not getting you up to speed. Slowly you’re getting cursed out in the kitchen because of something that you didn’t do right. But I loved it and I adapted to it and then I was clicking right along with them. And I think that was yeah, that was an incredible first, first job.

I think it’s shaped. My own expectations today of myself and others in my work.

How did you get into the signage industry?

That’s a long story. Goes back to college. I was a competitive athlete. I never went abroad. Like a lot of my classmates did. And I had a bug to travel. I had a bug to learn other languages and through a circuitous path, ended up in in Asia.

I was in China for for about six years living there. And over that time I always wanted to do something physical, not, either construction or manufacturing. I didn’t know much about manufacturing, so I didn’t know how to get into it. But being in China, and particularly from, 2007 forward there was just a lot of that’s the world’s factory, right?

Of course,

yeah, I can see the connection.

Yeah. And being in, in manufacturing, you learn, I started off as a generalist. I was providing a service for US companies that wanted to have components or products manufactured overseas. I had a little office and, I was their guy in China, is really how I got started.

And that evolved into me really becoming passionate about electronics. When you dig into electronics and if you’re a geek like me you realize that it’s the ultimate creative thing. Developing something where you’ve got software, firmware, Circuit boards they’re almost as nothing that you can’t build.

And so I became passionate about electronics and, caught the bug for big, bright incredible looking LED screens. And that was it. I created Cirrus while I was still over there, moved back to the U. S. To grow the company that was about 12 or 13 years ago. And then it’s just been a journey ever since.

So

12 years now, and the company has grown, obviously. Did you start out with restaurant signs? Obviously you’re in multiple industries, but is restaurants a big presence for your company? So

it certainly is today. It probably the single, Largest like cohort of customers that we service today.

But that wasn’t always the case. I think when you’re, people start companies for a lot of reasons, and I think the best reasons are there’s a need that they’re looking to fulfill. I came into it a little bit backwards, which I don’t recommend. But it was, I fell in love with with the Product with a system with, building something.

And then I went. to find a market for it. And I think that was a happy coincidence in that building electronics that go outdoors, it takes some time to get it right? So we had time on our side to find a market. And for the most part, we were selling wholesale. So it was fabricators and installers in local markets.

We’d be knocking on their door, selling them screens. And so it was whoever their customers were, we’d be fulfilling screens for. So certainly a lot of restaurants, actually the first. The first screen we ever sold was Red’s Tavern on Route 1 just north of Boston. That was the first one.

First one that, that ever went up. So I guess from the beginning we were doing restaurants, but it was more by accident as opposed to today where our business has shifted to a hardware as a service model. And we’re recording restaurants specifically because I think the the products, the model, it, it really lends itself to.

To the needs that, that restaurants have.

Let’s talk to what makes a really effective sign for our industry. If you’re a restaurant, what is the most important thing and what are the elements that go into creating a custom Cirrus sign for a particular restaurant?

Yeah, so I think first and foremost, and it’s not the, most astounding answer, but visibility is something that people.

Take for granted, at its core, what we are and what we provide is we’re a marketing medium. We are an extremely effective both in terms of cost and in terms of reach, marketing medium, and many particularly restaurateurs But, every business is guilty of this.

There’s that, if I build it, they will come type mentality. And then, the getting your name out there. is an afterthought. It’s like waiting for, that reviewer to show up and write about you and hope that everything goes well or it’s we’re just, the three people that came in last week will, go spread the word to their friends or we set up a Facebook page and away we go.

But if you think of what a restaurant has invested in their business, like one of the biggest investments is that lease. Or that, that physical location and predominantly the cost that they’re incurring is going to be proportional to the amount of traffic that’s going by, highly trafficked areas are going to command higher dollars.

So they’re already investing in that location and the idea and investing in that traffic. And so then. How do you maximize that investment? It’s time to attract some eyeballs. It’s time to draw that foot traffic in. It’s time to be, welcoming on the outside because, certainly everyone aspires through what they’re offering in terms of their hospitality to be welcoming on the inside.

The eyeballs are outside. Giving some thought to that and just being there just, having that digital sign, you’re inherently, grabbing more attention. And now where we go from there. Is the fine tuning, right? That’s what type of content is going up or, the messaging or an event, there’s a lunch, you get a lot of restaurants flipping back and forth between, are they doing a lunch service or they not?

Are they closed for lunch, right? Do you let people know with the flashing open sign in the window? Monetizing lunch is. And for some restaurants that’s a great opportunity. Are we going to let people know that it’s, Wednesday, Thursdays and Fridays and not Mondays and Tuesdays and not frustrate people with, showing up to the door, getting out of the car and oh their closed

so yeah, we, we could go into a lot of different components of it, but I think the first and most powerful one is is just to show up and have that screen that’s grabbing attention outside of the

I’m really glad you mentioned that, David, because I was, when I owned restaurants, I was obsessed with visibility.

It’s we had a big building and it sat up on a hill, but it had 1200 feet of frontage on a main road. But it’s I always wanted it to stand apart from the competition. And we had fixed signage, they weren’t digital signs, and I sold them back in 2014. And I know that had, if I was still in the business, I would be all over digital signage because of the convenience factor, because of the changeability and the ease of doing so, but I found that what was really important was having changeable, we used to have fixed signs that talked about who we were and the brand and the logo and all that kind of stuff, and that was fine, and But I also had a changeable, like those plastic channels and the plastic letters, which is ridiculous to say now, but again, that was 10 years ago.

And we had to have someone every single day, in all kinds of weather conditions, go down to the road and change the sign on a daily basis, because we were all about catchy messages that would catch the attention of the traffic driving by. And it worked for us just great. But what a hassle. And now there’s digital LED technology where you can change the message on the fly, you can have a graphic, you can have something that’s visual in addition to text and logos and colors.

How powerful is that? So I’m glad you brought that up because one, visibility is important. You should never take that for granted. But now we’re also talking about The importance of building a brand for your restaurant and not just running a restaurant, running a business and building a brand. And I’m seeing where signage can play such a part in brand building because it’s probably the biggest medium that you have.

Certainly your menu is important, but a menu is this big and a sign can be this big. Huge, right? So brand building is super important. What would the process be? Say I’m interested, I’m an audience listener right now to the podcast and I know I need a new sign and I’m interested in convenience and energy efficiency and all that kind of stuff.

Where do we begin? Do I have a dedicated sort of account person that I feed my ideas to and then you have a graphics department that comes up with all the ideas and based on budgets and all that? I don’t want to tell you, but. Please answer that question. What would the process look like and the timeline.

How long would this whole process take?

Yeah. To get it installed in the

first place. Yeah, exactly. From design, from concept conceptualization, with the idea to refining what it can do to the budget to final installation, like how much time is there a typical time involved?

It’s, it can go very quick, or it can go very slowly, and that really is dependent on your local your local government structure.

The way that we do things, because there’s signage is, can be very simple, it can be a little bit tricky, right? We’re physically installing something, everyone’s, aware that renovated their restaurant, renovated kitchen, right? You’re moving physical stuff that takes You know, supply chain and installers and whatnot.

Signage is just like that. We have the added wrinkle of there’s generally a permit that’s required as it’s, going outdoors and we have to meet all of the whatever the local requirements are.

Yeah, the sign ordinances, yeah.

Yeah, and so that completely changes from, I know Roger, you’re in Maine, Portland is going to have completely different rules than Falmouth.

You cross over that border into Falmouth. And, it’s night and day difference. And so we try to make all of that as simple as possible because that’s our gig, we’re the experts in, in, in smoothing that out and being around as long as we have. We also have a great network of, Permitting companies and fabricators and installers and whatnot.

So the way that it happens with us is all turnkey. So you talk to a salesperson from Cirrus. We do five year terms. You pay up, the first and last month down. And now we go to work. We go file your permits for you. We create all the construction documents to go into that.

We ship everything out, we coordinate the install and, it’s off and running. In the meantime, to get to the question of how you manage it and what can be done with it in the meantime, our team does a software training gets you up to speed. Our platform is called Screenhub and Thank you.

Screenhubs is. built for managing and scheduling the content within that screen. All sorts of ways of streaming data. And, but, like going back to what you said about the movable copy, I think having even that is phenomenal compared to a typical static sign because It is about branding and you’re able to express who you are through those words.

Maybe it’s you get those little on the sidewalk, like the chalkboards and everybody writes like witty things on them. And, it’s like an arms race of wit out there to draw people in. Exactly. It shows that warmth. It shows that there’s personality in, in this establishment.

And how can you get more of that? It’s you can go a long way with the movable text. You can go further with a digital screen because, it’s like multimodal, right? Where it’s not just, simple lines of text, but you can do video, you can do images, you can do.

You can do the product, right? The food can be on there. Your people can be on there. This is also restaurants obviously, the challenges aren’t always just driving in, more customers, but it’s like, how can you honor your team and, make them feel special about where they go to work at, because, we all know that The labor challenges that restaurants face and and, employee retention is important.

And, but again, like now that you’re also projecting that, that personality and that like care for your team. out to the customers that are driving by. So it’s a blank canvas that you’re able to, project your brand onto. Our job is to give you the simplest tools to be able to do that and then get out of the way.

This is, you can log in from your phone from anywhere and update one screen, a hundred screens. The tools for creating everything and laying it out. We have dedicated employees that you can call anytime and they’ll, take you on a training through it. But the goal is you don’t have to call, any good software product today.

You shouldn’t have to call anybody to figure out, how to do it. And that, so that intuitiveness is important and part of our a part of our, design ethos and product development. Yeah it’s about giving the tools to, make it function, make it run and and, make it easy.

But ultimately it’s about your personality, your brand, your business, and your employees.

What makes digital technology work depending on the time of day, depending on, the sighting of the restaurant and where the sun is at any given point? Obviously, something is really visible at night, but during the day in different light conditions, is there any part of the technology that sort of minimizes the effects of daylight or sun?

Is it just as visible during the day as nighttime?

Yeah, definitely. Look, the sun is a, that’s a pretty big light source to, compete with when you’re a light source yourself trying to be a screen that’s visible. So number one is, use high quality components that shine bright, right?

A lot goes into, more goes into the engineering of, What surrounds that, that light coming off the LED display than you would think though. Everyone thinks, okay, it’s just, brighter LEDs make for a brighter sun. Actually, the eye is quite attuned to contrast. And so the surface of the screen actually has all sorts of nooks and crannies and edges and whatnot, louvers that go across to scatter the light from the sun so that the light from the sun is not bouncing off the screen and going back into your eye.

But the LEDs, it’s just the light from the LEDs that are going and hitting the eye. Yeah, I, we could we could nerd out all day about that or, pinhole effects, right? You want your light source to be really small compared to a very black, dark surface.

That just the human eye is, oddly deficient at detecting some things, but when it comes to light we, we are freakishly capable of detecting, what’s going on, right? One, one example to to call up is if you pass a screen and that an LED is out, right?

There might be 10, 000 individual LEDs that are, On that surface, but your eye goes right to the one that’s out and that, we’ve been talking about branding and, looking good. If you’re running a restaurant. If there’s a, a hole opens up in the ground you don’t leave it there, right?

That looks terrible. You want a professional looking, environment. Same thing with the screen outside if a diode goes out everybody’s gonna notice it. And, You look that much worse. Your brand is, impacted, compromised. Yeah. Let me ask you

with that in mind, is there any kind of routine maintenance that has to happen?

Is there a sort of a usable life before certain things need to be replaced? Let’s talk about that because I know it’s super energy efficient. LED technology is energy efficient. Is that technology changing at all? David, is it improving over time or do you see it being fixed? And what about the maintenance issue and the life before?

Yeah, cool. You want a screen that’s solid state, no moving parts, no fans, anything like that. That’s what our system is. That’s the most serviceable thing to get some other junky screens out there that need fans. So you don’t want moving parts, number one. Number two the technology is getting better every day, right?

It’s an LED at its core as a semiconductor. So just like the chips that are powering computers and things like that, there are advancements in semiconductor product manufacturing that are being felt everywhere. And so the LED industry gets the benefit of a lot of that investment. So it’s getting better every day.

Energy efficiency getting better, brightness getting better, color quality getting better, all those sorts of things. The, in terms of the serviceability, like what I was mentioning about an LED going out. One of the things our software does, it’s routinely monitoring the health of everything going on the screen, including if one LED fails, you’ll actually be notified in our system.

Our support team will be notified. So you, you get that protection of knowing. Your customers aren’t the ones who are the first to notice it passing by. I love that. Yep. You’re getting, yeah, you get that brand protection.

Yeah,

There’s there’s, the technology is getting better every day.

That’s one of the things that makes it so exciting for us running the business. But there’s all sorts of safeguards to make sure you’re, Look in your desk at all times.

I’m really glad you mentioned that. I used to have this sort of mantra, see what the guest sees before they see it and fix it.

And I empowered all my team to walk through the front door, notice things before we open for business and fix it. And I’m hearing, okay, you get notified. That’s great because you don’t want that negative impression going by. So you’re heading it off at the pass. I think that’s a great benefit.

What about artificial intelligence? Is that entering into signage right now?

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It’s

in our signs.

It is. Tell us about that.

Yeah, definitely. So we we recently launched a camera based feature where, this is a marketing medium, right? So let’s start with the why it’s about turning heads and it’s about getting engagement and getting attention, right?

Absolutely. Absolutely. What we built is a system where we’re tracking the vehicles that are passing by. You get some benefits just off the bat. You know your traffic. You know how many cars are pulling by. You know who’s pulling into your driveway. That sort of thing. Our system is actually able to detect the make and model of the vehicle, the color of the vehicle.

The the license plate of the vehicle and including the state that it’s from. Like this time of year, you’re up in Maine. A lot of tourists driving up, the East Coast and you can say, Hey, welcome, welcome in from Florida. Welcome in from New York.

Welcome. I live in New Hampshire, so I see them too. They sometimes do a stop off in Portsmouth, where I am, before they continue north to the, some of the best restaurants in New England, right? So yeah, we’re detecting a license plate. And We’re able to take that data and it’s okay, yeah, data, that’s cool.

What am I going to do with that? We take that data and you’re able to write little recipes for yourself. Of, if a pickup truck, drives by display this message, if a motorcycle drives by display this message, and that I think is where our customer’s creativity really comes out because again, it’s about creating tools.

That people get to use to, empower their own creativity and their own brand. But like you and I could sit here right now and spitball what we would want to say. Something funny for motorcycle drivers. Guess what? That’s going to get their attention. When it says, Hey, welcome in from New York.

Like this is the best restaurant in Maine. How do they know I’m from New York? And then, oh, it must be the license plate. But it’s that eye catching moment and it’s done all in real time. It takes I think it’s about a quarter of a second between vehicle detection and a new image going up on the screen.

Yeah, that’s if you think of, as we do, if you think of yourself as a marketing platform, we want to, be a marketing tool for businesses. What would you provide them? And for me, it’s, we’re the real world analog of what’s going on a website. What do you want to know on a website?

You want to know who your users are. You want to be, you want to A, B test and, be adaptive to what’s going on. You want to maximize maximize the impact and that draw and ultimately, Get that conversion at the end of the day. And in the real world, if you’re a restaurant that has a parking lot, like your parking lot traffic is conversion traffic.

We have another tool that will actually count people coming through the door and correlate that to the content to the content. Yeah.

I had

no

yea.

That’s that’s powerful. stuff

It’s one thing to collect the data. It’s another thing to use it and apply it. But it’s like, what a tool that is.

Wow, I had no idea you could do that. That’s tremendous.

Yeah, I think the data can be really tiring for a lot of, Who has time? It’s one more thing

to do, I know.

Look at reams of data and oh okay, we need, now we need like our data analytics team to come through and come up with something actionable.

No, this is like real time actionable and usable and with the intent of of, Drawing attention and showing your brand and drawing people through the door. That’s what it’s all about.

Terrific. Let’s talk a little bit about pre programming. Is it possible to pre program a certain day in a certain time, maybe even every single week?

If I’ve got a special promotion on a Tuesday and a Thursday, can it know that at 10 o’clock on a Monday, it’s going to promote Tuesday’s events and all that kind of stuff? Is it that flexible? Definitely

You can program it down, I think, second by second, if if you really wanted to there’s calendar function, You create your content in groups called a playlist.

Think of it as like a PowerPoint slide deck, right? You’ve got five slides and it’s going to rotate through. And, so you can do multiples and then there’s a calendar. You just drag and drop them onto the calendar. And it’s, again it’s just, meant to be user friendly and easy. Yeah, you can do down to the minute and way into the future what you want playing at what time you might have one basic group of messages that’s running 24 seven, but then when you’re open, you have a different set.

And then, every other Tuesday, you have a special event and you can set that up in advance. And just have it, propagate out into the future really easily.

Sounds like it’s a learn by doing thing. It’s probably got a quick and easy learning curve, but obviously your dedicated person that would work with me would, teach me the ins and outs and even maybe give me some proven tactics on how successful restaurants have used this sort of thing.

Yeah, definitely. Benefit of individuals dedicated to doing just that they’re creating content all day long and working with with business owners all day long. So tons of experience in what’s been successful and, for a lot of our customers they’re really The manifestation of us in terms of our hospitality that, that we’re providing to our customers they’re the tip of the spear, usually the one that, has the most contact with all of our customers because something comes up, they’ll have an issue that, that’s the email address, that’s the phone number that they’re going to say, Hey, give me a hand here. And we jump in and we do that for the lifetime of the product.

Fantastic. So dedicated support, as long as you own it. What about, is it possible? Because obviously a lot of restaurants are in a lease situation and sometimes the unexpected happens where the landlord doesn’t renew the lease and certain fixtures that are part of the property now become the property of the landlord and all that sort of stuff.

Do you help? Restaurants avoid those challenges. Are your signages ever designed to be portable so you can take it with you, but obviously the size of it may determine that. Just something that popped into my head because that would be an important consideration if I’m not going to be in a space forever and I’m going to move my business someday.

Yeah, generally they’re designed to stay fit, to stay in one spot. And so moving them can be done. We don’t, we’re not crazy about it. Generally whenever you’re updating signage installing new signage there’s like a landlord approval process, generally to file the permit, actually.

The municipality will require the landlord to sign off. That’s a part of some, permits are fascinating as we, serve. All of North America, really.

yeah

have areas where, quite literally, lawless. It’s you can do whatever you want, nobody’s checking, nobody’s whatever.

Yeah, and then a lot of times, part of the process is there’s a landlord sign off. And so they’re pretty much accepting that, yeah, this is going to become, a part of their property, given somebody moving on or whatnot, options exist.

We work with people every day on those types of challenges for sure.

Any other challenges that, that have come up in the past that we haven’t already talked about in terms of implementing the signage or once it’s up, anything that’s going on, once you’ve got it going? Or is it pretty much set it and forget it and it’s really a turnkey thing that you can program it or not, you can do it on the fly kind of thing?

Yeah,

At the end of the day a lot has gone into just making sure the thing looks great and it functions. For a very long time. And that you’re you’ve, whenever you go big with electronics and you’re pulling in lots of power and stuff like that stuff happens that, most of us aren’t accustomed to when, our relationship to electricity is like plugging in our phone to, charge it every night.

And over the years, we there’s so much intelligence, and development that’s gone into moderating power sensors to, if there’s a surge in your neighborhood so you’re, you don’t have a fried screen that, an electrical storm took down or something like that. There’s all sorts of safeguards and things like that They aren’t even worth bringing up, but at the end of the day, it’s just, yeah, my investment’s secure, this thing’s going to work, it’s going to work every day it’s going to be rock solid, like that’s what people want to know.

Yeah, exactly. Yeah, and yeah, under the hood it’s just, a lot of stuff went on to get us to the point of being able to really confidently say that this thing’s going to be rock solid.

I would assume that the screens themselves are highly impact resistant. If there’s a hail storm blowing sideways with baseball size hail, can the technology ever be compromised?

Can the actual hardware be scratched or broken or cracked or any of that kind of stuff? Does that ever happen? Or is it really like you got to hit this thing with a 22 caliber rifle to damage it? I don’t know, tell me.

As building a company, you do all sorts of all sorts of interesting marketing stunts and I’ll bring it back to Maine again.

One of our earliest employees. Dan Kerlick actually won the national championship at UMaine in hockey back in 1998. So it’s a big shout out to him. That’s right. That’s awesome. Yeah. Yeah. He was on the the winning squad there. And as a, As one does to demonstrate durability.

We actually set him up with a screen and and he was taking slapshots. I was just about to guess. Is he

taking slapshots at your signs? This is awesome. No kidding. Yeah, that’s great. Yeah. What a promotion, what a demonstration.

The videos are on YouTube. That’s cool. And it’s yeah, I think he started doing it and he wasn’t That’s a hook right

there.

That’s definitely a sales benefit and a hook and catchy. Yeah, that’s very cool. That’s excellent. Nice. David what about aesthetics for a certain concept or a building in terms of the materials of the construction? You mentioned you’ve got teams and crews and companies across the country that actually erect these signs, and design of the materials is important, but let’s just say, maybe I’ve got a really contemporary metal and glass building, and obviously that seems very easily adaptable to.

Your signs. But what if I have an old fashioned log cabin and it looks like the Beverly Hillbillies, can they make something look really funky, even though the technology is built into it, but it’s like rustic wood frames and all this. Is it that versatile? Can you do just about anything you think of?

You can do anything. That’s awesome. That’s one of the cool things about the sign industry. Like I think up on our homepage is I’m thinking of a restaurant called And they have an old time car integrated with an LED display that makes up a sign. Like

quite literally, anything can be done and it’s amazing to see where what people come up with. And there is that level of, customization out there.

Yeah. The screen itself, like that’s a blank canvas, right? You can style that and the content within it, however you like.

But then it’s a lot of people in the sign industry, they’re they, fancy themselves more akin to artists than anything else. And you will see some of the most talented and creative individuals out there who love a challenge. And if you can dream of it we can find somebody to build it for you.

For sure. Definitely.

Where’s the future of Cirrus going? You got new products in the pipeline? Any brand extensions besides signage? What’s, what do you see coming, and what will you be offering that you’re not offering now,

yeah, I I’m dying to do an API integration with OpenTable.

And I can’t seem to make any headway on that, that the business development behind that deal. I happen to be married to the CEO of OpenTable but I’ve just been getting stonewalled on on access to the API, but the concept there is a restaurant on OpenTable. And if if, there’s.

table availability or what the next available table is it automatically updates on the screen. So that’s I think we might go try to do a deal with one of OpenTable’s competitors just to egg them along. But I think that’s in our future. But in all seriousness I think I think it’s a really straightforward path for us.

The cost of sensors is going down. The sophistication of of AI algorithms, is going up. You can run them on tiny chips. The system I was describing earlier that detects what types of vehicles are passing by. All of that AI is run on a, that sits inside the camera. That’s not like going to some data sensor somewhere and then being beamed back out, it’s a tiny, edge processor that does that.

When you think of the built environment and what you can do with super low cost sensors, super low cost processing and digital signage, because again, it’s about making things. actionable and real, not okay, we’re, collecting mounds of data and what do we do with it? Making it making it into something that creates an instant reaction and thus, impact somebody pulling in or somebody staying longer or someone even buying decisions.

Like we did a case study, this was with a McDonald’s where, they would use their screen. They had six, six locations. We did digital screens at two of them, and they were pitching, how McDonald’s will roll out their latest concoction that they’re pushing and advertising or whatnot.

I think at the time it was a chicken sandwich of some kind, right? We’ve actually influenced Buyer’s decision making with what you put up on the screen. Of those six locations, the two with digital screens that we’re talking about, that chicken sandwich, like chicken sandwich sales were up 200 % relative to the other stores.

So influencing, buying, buying decisions is a big part of this. Going back to the future it’s, unifying these things in a simple and an implementable way, but yeah just doing more of it, doing, more sophisticated things. We’re always trying to push down costs as well and increase value.

I think that’s a big part of how we’ve grown to date. Absolutely. If we can pass that value on, by driving down costs that’s a big part of it. But yeah, everyone at this point starts making jokes about minority report and, headed to that world, but I think some of the minority report stuff is a little spooky, but I think we’ll run down the good parts of it.

We’ve covered a lot of ground today, David, but I’m sure maybe there’s some things you’d still like to talk about. Have I missed anything? Do you want to say anything else about the company, about the technology, about, what’s great about Cirrus? I’ve seen a win so far.

Yeah, I think just, going back to What I was saying about passing on, as much value as possible in reducing those costs.

One of the things we’ve been able to do there’s product innovation, but We’ve innovated on the business model side. So I knew we mentioned it at the beginning. Typically when you go out to do signage, like what we’re talking about you can be looking at 50, 60, 70, 000, right? It’s a chunk of change.

It is. And that’s. Think of it as a construction project, right? Like construction is expensive in most places. One of the things that we did to, and I think it’s led to a lot of our growth is innovating on the business model side where we’re able to roll everything into a more manageable monthly fee.

Again, us as a marketing medium let’s price it like it’s a marketing medium. If you’re, buying Google AdWords, for example you’re not paying for the next five years of Google AdWords today and doing it all up front. So you know, why should you do that with your signage?

And we’ve found a way to. Create something that can be bundled into a really palatable monthly fee. We turnkey it, get it set up. Restaurants get the benefit of, the increased and they’re able to use that to offset that monthly cost. By doing so, we have something that’s pretty enticing.

It’s an ROI positive, investment from the beginning. You’re really never underwater on it. And it’s most, one of the most effective ways of increasing revenue, right? No question about

it.

Yeah, and we think, that is, that’s something you really don’t find anywhere else. I, I think that’s a really key component here to focus on is like, how affordable is it?

What am I out of pocket? What’s the risk into this? Ultimately you’re increasing your cashflow from day one, because when you’re a marketing medium, as we are, if you’re not generating value, if you’re not driving more revenue for businesses, you don’t really have a right to exist.

And, that’s something that we do consistently across a number of

Glad you mentioned that also, because there is a mindset that I’m on a mission to shift. There are things that are costs, and then there are things that are investments. And unfortunately, operators get really close to the money and they think, oh, this is just another expense.

When in reality, something that has a ROI to it is an investment in the future. And you gotta look at the big picture and like what you just said, you’re making it as easy as possible for someone to get in the game, have something really big, really impressive, that’s gonna drive engagement, it’s gonna drive awareness, it’s gonna drive traffic, it’s gonna increase sales.

That to me is an investment. So I’m really glad you shared that and we can do one even better. Besides the no upfronts and the low monthly payments you’re offering my audience. The first two months free, which is awesome

if they go to your , special URL. So check it out. David, it’s been my pleasure having you on the show. We learned all about signage. It’s fantastic. Man, if I was still in the business, I’d be the first to sign up. I’d get one of those things.

Awesome. Thank you so much for having me, Roger.

My pleasure hosting you on the show. That was the Restaurant Rockstars podcast. Can’t wait to see you in the next episode, so stay tuned and stay well. Thanks for tuning in and thanks to our sponsors of the show, including Cirrus.

Listen, you need three things, knowing your critical numbers, sales training, and driving new and repeat business. You can now teach your staff 24 7 to run your business and boost sales and profits as if they owned it with our online Restaurant Academy. Right now, the Restaurant Academy is only 59 a month that includes access for you and up to 25 members of your team.

And for a limited time, our new Academy members can get 15 percent off every month using the code podcast15 at checkout. Go to restaurantrockstars.com/joinacademy. Again, that code is podcast15.

Thanks for listening to the Restaurant Rockstars podcast. For lots of great resources, head over to restaurantrockstars. com. See you next time.

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