Digital Sign Provides Solid ROI for DQ Franchise

Dairy Queen franchise owner Joe Napier discovered a beautiful, easy way to improve his advertising, save time and even reduce labor costs – a Daktronics digital LED sign.

Joe Napier never thought he would spend the money on a digital sign for his DQ franchises. Today, he’s convinced that his digital sign is not only worth the money, but that it probably paid for itself within the year.

Napier is the owner of three franchises in and around Franklin, Indiana, and he’s also the president of the Indiana Dairy Queen Operators’ Association. His brother owns another two franchises.

He got his first Daktronics digital sign when he earned a discount at the Daktronics booth at an expo in New Orleans, and he’ll never go back. In fact, now he wants a Daktronics digital sign at all of his locations.

“I never thought I’d buy one, even though I knew they were great,” he says. “But they’re really beautiful. I didn’t understand the value until I had one installed. The software was huge for me. I didn’t want a data cable. It’s wireless, and cellular. If I built a new store, I’d spend $30,000 for one of these instead of spending $8,000 on a static sign.”

Napier got a 15mm sign because it can be seen from a long distance. However, he believes investing in a tighter pixel pitch, which shows greater detail up close, would be a good investment.

“From a distance it’s great,” he says. “But if I had to do it all again, I’d definitely get a 10mm so it would be easier to read right in the parking lot, too. It’s worth the money, and I have recommended it to others, too.”

Confidence in his ROI

How can Napier justify the cost of a digital sign so confidently? He keeps his eye on sales.

“We have seen definite results,” Napier says. “Our shrimp basket and fish sandwich are limited-time offerings. Sales were doing okay, but I hadn’t put it on the sign yet. As soon as I put it up there, we saw a huge increase in sales. People come here especially for that, and they wouldn’t have come in if they hadn’t seen it. Chicken strip basket sales went up when we put photos on the sign, too.”

They also advertise cakes, and even do some outreach, like fundraising with the school. It’s much easier to personalize messaging on a digital sign rather than on a standard sign.

“I figure it will pay for itself in less than three years. It could have actually paid for itself in this first year with COVID. Franchises can easily justify it. With financing at a low percentage, it pays for itself easily. Also, it saves or even eliminates labor.”

Software is a major benefit

“I use Venus Control Suite to operate our digital sign,” Napier says. “I love to do right on my phone. I just scheduled a playlist to run overnight, from 12am to 6am, since we’re not open then. I like to sit in the parking lot and change the content with my phone. To me that’s the main benefit. It’s just so simple and it saves lots of time.”

Napier often changes his manual signs at his other locations, which takes an hour or two of labor. There’s also a chance that an accident can happen.

 “I went to our Franklin store recently, and there was a guy on a ladder changing out the sign,” he laments. “That’s so dangerous, so I had him get down and use the change arm. You can’t measure that. Now I’d like to have a digital sign at all my locations.”

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