For nearly 70 years, Dairy Queen has been an icon in the American fast food landscape. But in a crowded fast food market, an impressive legacy doesn’t guarantee great sales. Bill Marble, who owns and operates a Dairy Queen in Cuyahoga Falls, realized this in the summer of 2008 when his year-to-date sales were only up $2,000. "The way I see it," said Marble, "If I’m not up more than that, I’m down."
Marble needed to reconnect with the Cuyahoga Falls community. Although his restaurant is located on a busy thoroughfare, his old-fashioned letterboard sign wasn’t making an impact on drivers. After conducting some research, Marble decided to invest in a full-colour electronic message centre from watchFire.
Marble bought his sign from Agnew Signs in Akron, Oh., which handled the installation and helped with city zoning issues. According to Agnew Signs owner Chuck Agnew, installing a LED sign isn't much more complicated than putting up a traditional sign. "There’s a little more welding, because they come in two pieces," he said. "And you have to line up the sensors so you can control it remotely, but that’s nothing major. Overall, it takes about an extra four hours."
Once the sign went up, so did Marble’s sales. According to a monthly report published by his territorial operator, Marble’s restaurant had the largest sales increase of all 36 Dairy Queens in his region in November of 2008. And that disappointing $2,000 sales increase through September? By the year’s end, it had skyrocketed to $23,000.
Agnew isn’t surprised by Marble’s success. But he is surprised by the timing. "He managed to do it in November and December, which would typically be slow months."
Marble credits the boost in sales exclusively to his new watchFire sign. Now when motorists drive by, they take notice. "I’m sitting in my store right now, and I just watched a truck go by and look at my sign," Marble said. "I love it." And his customers love it, too. "I can’t tell you how many positive comments I get on this sign," he said.