The legendary Zankou Chicken, a Los Angeles addiction for decades, raises its operations up a notch with digital menu displays.
LOS ANGELES, CA – Founded in Beirut in the early 60’s, Zankou Chicken‘s chain of restaurants is a Los Angeles success story. Since 1984, Zankou has been serving up their award-winning roasted chicken, Mediterranean plates, and legendary garlic sauce to grateful Angelenos far and wide. With so many satisfied customers, it’s no mystery why Zankou enjoys iconic, local brand recognition and a strong social media following.
But the nuts and bolts of maintaining a thriving counter-service and catering restaurant presents challenges. For a brand like Zankou, which promises high quality and value, it’s important to carefully manage margins.
“Pricing is key in just about any sector, but in ours, it’s do-or-die,” says Zankou partner, Ara Iskenderian. “We’re often discussing changes.”
Price changes are a particularly big issue in an industry where prices are printed on menus and static pricing displays at multiple locations. Printed pricing also creates a hurdle when Zankou wants to promote specials.
“Freshness is our mantra,” says Iskenderian. “We won’t hold unsold inventory just because we need to sell it, so specials help us move product while keeping our high standard for our customers.”
Because of the recurring need to change prices and promote specials at all their restaurants, digital menu displays are a wise way to go. Digital menus can be updated with the click of a button at a single computer, and when management gets an update on inventory, they can immediately advertise promotional pricing at the right locations.
However, digital displays had the potential to change the look of a restaurant known for its authenticity. The job of maintaining brand identity with the new technology became a team effort between Zankou and their agency, Dreamentia Creative Labs. In a prior collaboration, Dreamentia had created Zankou’s printed restaurant and catering menus. Translating them to a digital menu felt like a natural and necessary evolution for the brand.
“We’ve always been delighted when we work with Jim and his team,” Iskenderian says. “For the new menus, we needed to work with someone who understood our customers and had our trust.”
With an open dialogue between agency and client, Zankou and Dreamentia designed and installed the first full digital menu displays in the chain’s Glendale location, displays that strike the perfect balance between high tech functionality and a friendly, customer-first aesthetic. While some screens display the menu, others show a rotating slideshow of meal promotions, catering advertisements, and promos for Zankou’s social media presence.
As hoped, the digital menu displays made an immediate positive impact on the restaurant’s operations, and plans for rolling out the displays to the remaining seven location is already underway. By the turn of 2017, Zankou intends to have digital menu boards installed and operating in all location – including their new Santa Clarita location due to open in the Fall of 2017.
The partnership between Zankou and Dreamentia is an example of how a neighborhood brand can take advantage of 21st Century technology while maintaining their family-owned charm and trust.