In March, Toronto-based Shikatani Lacroix Design won an APEX Award gold medal for its work on the Boston Pizza Digital Experience project. The company’s work with Boston Pizza began about three years ago, and the first location featuring the digital design opened in April 2017 in downtown Toronto.

Another new restaurant in the Medicine Hat neighborhood in Alberta, Canada, recently celebrated a grand opening featuring the design. According to Richard Dirstein, EVP of creative and innovation for Shikatani Lacroix Design, Boston Pizza has also expedited a rollout plan to inform franchisee owners on how they can adapt their location to the new design in scalable components that will be available across Canada, as well as the U.S. and Mexico.

As part of the process for this chain, Shikatani Lacroix Design completed strategy and execution for all digital components of the restaurant.

“For the chain’s flagship location in particular, it is one of the best places in Canada for customers to immerse themselves in a sports dining experience, and it provides a blueprint for the rest of the chain,” Dirstein said.

Components of the design 

As part of the award-winning design, the welcome area has a large digital screen which communicates brand messaging and welcomes BP rewards members, special event groups and teams. An interactive touch screen in the waiting area features dishes and special events content, and allows customers to interact with a digital menu.

Throughout the restaurant are large screens where customers can watch all major sports. To enhance the experience, smaller portrait screens provide dynamic, RSS-driven, digital content that updates in real-time. According to Dirstein, these screens cycle through things such as team and player statistics, news, schedules and information for fantasy leagues which allow guests to have all their favorite scores displayed in close proximity to the game feeds they are watching.

Boston Pizza Experience.

“The result, customers don’t need to use their phones to check their scores.  They can put their phones down and be immersed in the Boston Pizza experience,” he said. “I think the end result shows that, from a digital perspective, the number of screens in the restaurant and their ability to provide up-to-the-minute, relevant information, really transforms the customers’ viewing experience.”

Aside from the “immersive” Boston Pizza Experience, Dirstein described some of the macrotrends emerging in digital signage, specifically in the restaurant space:

  • Graphics on signage, walls, or digital screens can help create a distinctive brand identity and add personality to a space. They provide an opportunity to use color, shape, imagery, and words to reinforce or support a brand message and create a more interesting experience.
  • Don’t focus all of the attention on advertising. If all you’re doing with the technology is trying to convince your customers to spend more, they will eventually learn to tune you out.
  • Retailers and restaurateurs around the world are using AR and VR to tell unforgettable brand stories, and neuromarketing is being used more often than ever to test and validate new concepts.