In December 2019, Beatriz Eugenia Gonzalez purchased a restaurant business in Denville, New Jersey. After months of planning and marketing, her new American-Latin fusion restaurant — Indian Lake Bistro — was set to open. What she couldn’t have known was that the restaurant industry was about to take the biggest hit in recent history due to the COVID-19 pandemic, causing restaurants to close their in-person dining and adapt to pandemic-related restrictions.
"I can easily change the content to feature breakfast, lunch or dinner — all from my phone.” — Beatriz Eugenia Gonzalez, Indian Lake Bistro owner
About Indian Lake Bistro
Indian Lake Bistro is a family-owned restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner menu options that combine American and Latin American flavors. Located on the edge of Indian Lake in Denville, NJ, the restaurant prides itself with its use of fresh, high-quality ingredients and beautiful views of the surrounding reservoir.
Guests can dine in the restaurant’s indoor or outdoor seating areas, or enjoy carry-out or delivery options. Indian Lake Bistro opened its doors in April of 2020.
Opening a new restaurant amid new safety restrictions
Beatriz Eugenia Gonzalez purchased an existing restaurant business and opened an American-Latin fusion bistro in December 2019, when growth forecasts for the competitive restaurant industry were at an all-time high. As she prepared to open, however, the pandemic began, closing schools, airports, international borders and, of course, public dining rooms.
Indian Lake Bistro held its grand opening on April 3, 2020, just weeks after initial COVID-19 closures and restrictions rolled out in New Jersey. From day one, the restaurant offered takeout and delivery options to address rapidly shifting ordering models. But a significant part of the bistro’s appeal is its vibrant atmosphere, friendly staff and scenic lake views. Without the opportunity to showcase these aspects of the family business, it was difficult to truly connect with patrons.
As a new restaurant, Indian Lake Bistro also didn’t have an established customer base or word of mouth to fall back on. Many of the locals didn’t even know the bistro was open.
After muddling through most of 2020, Gonzalez realized that in order to stay competitive in this unfamiliar environment, she needed to connect with potential customers in a more tangible way. Gonzalez consulted with Brian Gertler from LDI Color Toolbox, who suggested digital signage to help tell the bistro’s story in a way that would quickly and powerfully resonate with customers.
User-friendly digital signage that informs and entertains
Gertler, a trusted Samsung service partner, knew that Pro TV would be an appropriate and affordable option for Indian Lake Bistro. Launched in the spring of 2020, the display was built to be commercial-grade, at a competitive price point and with a three-year warranty — all important perks for small business owners.
With the owners on board, Gertler outfitted the restaurant with three 50-inch Pro TV displays: one in the reception area, one in the bar located in the middle of the restaurant and one in the VIP area, used for parties and larger groups, situated away from the main dining room.
“Brian made sure the TVs were mounted correctly and that the audio and video connections were stable,” Gonzalez explains. “He was able to make sure everything was installed properly in the angles and positions that would capture the most attention.” The installation took just one day to complete.
The Pro TV display can be used for live TV or streaming content, such as sporting events, or for broadcasting original content created by the business owner. Simultaneously, the display can run a scroll bar with custom images or video. With the Samsung Biz TV smartphone app, Gonzalez started using the system right away to create and push content to the displays.
“They are very useful for dayparting,” she says. “I have one slideshow that has 70 images of our menu items and beverages. I can easily change the content to feature breakfast, lunch or dinner, as well as promote any specials we are serving — all from my phone.”
The Pro TVs have also driven their sales. “We are a fusion restaurant, so customers may not be familiar with all the items on our menu,” Gonzalez explains. “The TVs have had a significant impact on our customers’ ordering habits. When they can see what certain dishes look like, they are more likely to ask questions and try new things.”
Gonzalez also created “light shows” for spring and summer with messages like “Welcome Spring” and “Summer Is Here,” as well as images of lighter menu items like salads, juices, ice cream and fish. “Everything is relevant to the current moment,” she says.
The Pro TV displays are helping the owner deepen her connections in Denville’s close-knit community, too. For a birthday party in the private VIP area, Gonzalez created a “Happy Birthday” slide to run on the Pro TV, which added a special touch.
One customer rented the bistro for her daughter’s 16th birthday party. “She asked if we could play a slideshow with her daughter’s baby and childhood photos on the TVs,” says Gonzalez. “She sent me the pictures and I was able to create a slideshow within minutes. She was thrilled. It’s nice to help people create memories like that.”
As it turns out, that particular customer works in the same town, and because her daughter’s party was such a great experience, she now confidently recommends Indian Lake Bistro to her coworkers and fellow residents.
On an everyday basis, the Pro TV displays serve as a way for staff to connect with guests so their wait for to-go orders is more enjoyable, and even informative. On several occasions in the past year, Indian Lake Bistro helped raise funds for community causes such as elder care, veteran support and food insecurity. “To promote these events, I create a slide which plays on the TVs,” says Gonzalez. “Then I use a snapshot of the slide to promote the cause on social media.”
Gonzalez also uses the displays to keep customers entertained, especially the younger crowd. “My business is in front of a lake, so during summer, a lot of teenagers come into the restaurant,” she says. “They come in groups of 10 or 15 on bikes — when I see them, I know to put on YouTube videos,” she laughs. “They love it.”
Samsung’s Pro TV, a stunning 4K UHD business TV with a sleek design and simple setup, supports 16/7 business-grade operation time. Crystal UHD technology showcases accurate colors and crisp picture quality.
Increased sales, stronger connection to the community
Since installing the Pro TV displays, Gonzalez has seen significant improvements in her business operations. Between October 2020 and March 2021, Indian Lake Bistro’s overall sales increased 24 percent. This could be attributed to a number of factors, but Gonzalez believes the uptick is at least partly due to the new Samsung displays, which she says improve the guest experience.
Indian Lake Bistro started receiving good reviews, so Beatrice created a slideshow of customer comments, curated from Google. This social proof serves as a powerful advertising tool — and it’s free.
Mike Castaneda, director of channel development and partner enablement for Samsung Electronics America, worked with Gonzalez to find the perfect solution for her business needs — the Pro TV displays and the Biz TV app. “It’s a commercial-grade display geared for small businesses that don’t have a lot of money to invest in heavy marketing and digital practices,” Castaneda says. “It’s very accessible and you can operate it 16 hours a day, 7 days a week without any concern about screen burn-in.”
Moving forward, the Indian Lake Bistro intends to use its Samsung Pro TVs in new and innovative ways. “Now that we have the tools we need, promoting the restaurant and our strong commitment to the Denville community is much easier,” says Gonzalez. “The Pro TVs bring life and color into our business.”