When efficiency is the end game, there’s a lot that can be achieved through technology.
Over the past 20 years, the world has taken a lot of strides in the digital signage arena, with every business finding ingenious ways of incorporating digital menu boards into their day-to-day business.
No one has benefited so much from this more than restaurants; they have really pushed the limits.
Today we will be looking at digital menu boards and how restaurants can better make use of them to increase their presence and attract more customers.
We will analyze the benefits of installing these boards, how you can come up with your own from scratch, and wrap it all up by looking at the future of these technologies and how they are slowly shaping the business world.
If you have a restaurant and you have been entertaining the idea of digital signage, then stick around to the very end to get enlightenment on this issue.
What is a Digital Menu Board?
If you have ever walked into a fast-food restaurant with busy traffic lines, you must have seen a screen displaying the food items and the prices, changing constantly; that’s what a digital menu board looks like and operates.
A digital menu board is an electronic display that showcases your menu and any other relevant information on a TV screen. This is usually mounted on a high point on the wall, in a strategic position where anyone who walks into your restaurant can see it.
Digital menu boards allow the customers to clearly see the prices of anything they are about to order so that by the time they reach the counter, they have information on how much they are going to spend.
This also allows them to add some extras that may not have been aware existed on the menu. A digital menu is a very interactive way of running a restaurant as there’s no time wasted with too many unnecessary questions.
A digital menu board saves time and reduces friction that would have arisen due to miscommunication between the customers and the restaurant staff.
Key Benefits of Installing Digital Menu Boards
So what are the benefits of switching from regular restaurant operations to using digital menu boards?
The following are some of the reasons for embracing this kind of signage technology for your eatery.
Attractive Digital Signage Displays
The displays used for digital menu boards make use of the latest screen technologies.
They are some of the clearest screens you will ever come across, some being 8K capable. Every color is crisp, and the edges of the displayed materials are very sharp.
This is very crucial when food images and other digital menus are involved as they thrive well with bold and vivid colors, making it easy for people to visualize what they are going to eat.
In some ways, a digital menu board is a strong form of advertising as it is easy to sway someone’s choice and make them order more based on how good a food item looks on the digital menu boards.
Next time you walk into a restaurant and find yourself staring at the digital menu display on a digital menu screen without blinking, be aware that you are experiencing the power of advertising in the form of digital menu boards.
Reduce Perceived Wait Times
The time that used to be wasted when people had to make their orders only after they had reached the cash counter was too much.
Unless people are regulars, deciding on what to eat is a decision that requires a minimum of 5 minutes, that could double to 10 if the one making the order is under pressure with a whole queue behind them.
With the big digital menu boards, one starts making up their mind the moment they step through the door.
The longer viewing distance gives them all the time they need to make and change orders on their head, cutting down the wait time.
All that happens at the counter is the exchange of cash and picking food. Digital menu boards keep the line moving all through, and this does reduce perceived wait times.
There’s efficiency in operations once digital menu boards are introduced. It simplifies things like updating the menu on the go, something that printed menus cannot achieve without added printing costs.
All it takes for a digital menu board to get new information is a simple update from a central point on the computer, and everything is updated across all screens in the establishment.
The flexibility brought by digital signage menu boards makes it easy for information to be changed as many times within a month without an added cost, you simply edit the same file template, and that’s it.
With digital menu boards, a restaurant is even able to run impromptu promotions to surprise customers and even introduce new menus on the spot, which in turn makes them come back for more in the future.
The bottom line here is that what a restaurant can do is only limited by its creativity.
A digital menu board frees your staff to handle other important tasks while encouraging customers to pay more attention to what’s going on the board’s digital menu.
Flexible Content Management
The biggest problem with traditional forms of menus was that the information on the ground didn’t reflect the menu items being displayed, and this is what caused friction between customers and restaurants as the wait time would be increased.
Imagine a customer reaching the counter to order only to be told the particular food item is no longer available, yet it is displayed on the board.
When using a digital menu board, you get to display the right information based on what is available to avoid disappointing customers and to give time to change their orders.
The same digital signage menu boards concept can be utilized by the restaurant management where they prepare a day’s menu based on the ingredients available; this cuts down wastage by clearing everything before new inventory is taken care of.
In terms of a content management system via digital menu boards, you get to choose any format to display information in the most palatable format. You can choose to go with static images or videos to give customers a very clear vision of what to expect.
Content creation is key when using digital signages to enhance customer experience and boost sales and digital signage is the best way to improve digital signage content.
Consistency and Uniformity
When running a chain of restaurants that are spread out in multiple locations, it can be challenging to get real-time information out from the headquarters at the same time.
For example, when it comes to replacing an expired promotion with a new one or passing sudden and developing information as it happens. However, with digital menu boards, this can be done within seconds as long as all the restaurants are connected to one central system.
All it would take is for the new information to be changed from headquarters and updated everywhere else through the menu boards digital software.
This boosts consistency, and it is a good look even to your customers.
The last thing you would want is to get a complaint that an offer available on the lunch menu in one branch is missing from another.
You can choose to have a split-screen format to show an engaging breakfast, lunch, or dinner menu when using digital menu boards.
For instance, you could have one side showing the menu and the other one showing varying animations of the food being prepared or quick promotions.
You can even choose to display multiple menus: dinner menus on one half and fast food images on the other. This is the best way to ensure that customers don’t get their eyes off the screen once they have made their order.
Digital menu boards will come in handy if you have merchandise to sell.
You can plug them on one side of the screen to run concurrently with the menu displays. It would be hard for people to ignore the advertised menu items they see on that screen, and sooner or later, interest will be developed.
The best part of this digital menu board feature is that you don’t even need two digital screens for it; one will suffice: A very cost-effective solution.
Easy to Use and Troubleshoot
In traditional forms of menu boards, where printed material was the main mode of displaying important information, there was very little that could be done if there was an error in spelling or information.
The menus would have to be corrected from the template then reprinted afresh, and that process was too expensive.
With a digital menu board, you can easily change an error on the spot and corrections done straight from the central terminal before being updated across all screens.
This high level of digital menu board flexibility and instant updates is not only cost-effective but has expanded the things that restaurants can do to their menus on the go without worrying about anything.
The ability to troubleshoot content management system software is underrated.
Create Your Digital Menu Board
Create a digital menu board from scratch with a software like Canva.
To someone with no idea how they work, the process of setting up digital menu boards may look like rocket science.
However, the fact of the matter is that you can set up a digital menu board easily from scratch as long as you have the necessary tools and the digital menu board software.
There are some things you have to keep in mind first before setting down to creating your own digital menu board system.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Creating Your Digital Menu Board
- Target Audience
Understand your target audience to know what they are into before creating your digital menus. If a majority of the people you are targeting are young, then tailor your digital menu board system around pop themes and anything trendy and keep updating as they change.
- Competitor Research
Research your competitor to know what they are doing right, what works for them, and the areas where they are lacking; this is how you get to know what to do differently to attain the targets you need with your digital menu boards.
- Business Location
Think of your business location and the premise. If you are located in a mall that has huge human traffic, then simply select digital menu board screens and have some located outside to get the attention of anyone who may be passing by. Food has a way of nabbing attention, and you could just change someone’s mind on the spot using smart signage.
- Screens Placement
number of screens, the digital menu display resolution, and the hardware involved are other things you have to keep in mind when setting up your own digital menu board. The cost and effective ability of the entire operation will depend on that. Setting up many digital screens is not going to increase effectiveness; the trick lies in how you manage to strategically locate them.
- Service Provider
You have to link up with the best digital menu board service providers. This ranges from the provision of the right screens that can play menus, images, and videos in sharp resolutions, interactive digital menu board software, and specialists on standby in case of digital menu boards malfunctioning so that you don’t worry.
Designing Tips for Your Digital Menu Board
When setting up your own digital menu board system, consider the following tips to get things right from the start.
- Pre-made Templates
Choose a ready-made template, then fill in the details of your menu. This is much easier as most of the framework is already laid out for you. If you can create your own digital menu board templates, the better as you will have more customization freedom. But you will need interactive digital signage software for this, and that costs money.
- Colors and Font
Use the colors and the right font size associated with your brand for a better-looking digital menu display. Customers have to see your brand in everything that’s displayed on the digital menu boards. Make sure the fonts and images are visible from a distance.
- Quality Images
Include real images of the food you are selling on the digital signage menu board. Avoid getting your images from the stock images platform. Using images you took yourself adds more authenticity. Simply ensure they are taken by a professional photographer and are set in both horizontal and portrait orientations for balance.
Space the digital menu board up to avoid cluttering it. When you cramp too much information and images into small menu board templates, things can be hazy and hard to get. Find innovative ways of using negative space to enhance readability and boost customer experience.
Always include social media handles on the digital menu board. This is for the customers waiting in line who may use that time to check your page out and share it with more people. If you can add QR codes, the better as it is always fun scanning them.
- Extra Info
Add relevant nutrition information on the digital menu board system alongside the food choices. This is the kind of information that inspires confidence and gives the customer time to contemplate and weigh their options.
Digital Signage: The Future of Digital Menu Boards
Looking at what is already available right now, it is not hard to picture how the next 20 years will be for digital menu boards.
If there’s anything that the last two decades have taught us is that technology moves way too fast. Some of the expected trends in the digital signage space include the following:
The integration of AI may see the complete overhaul of how restaurants operate. It will reach a point where you will be walking into a restaurant without human staff but an advanced digital menu board that only shows you your options, and you get served by robots.
Data collection tools will also be highly advanced to the point where a simple scan when you walk into the restaurant can correctly predict what you are planning to have. This can even advance to predicting when you will be going in for a bite, with your specific order being prepared in advance.
We may start seeing digital menu boards that are able to show promotions based on the demographic of the clients waiting in line. For instance, capturing general information on things like gender and age to start running promotional ads that specifically target those who are standing in the line. This will change how content creation is used for ad targeting.
Touch Screen Drive-Thru Displays
We might see interactive drive-thru displays with a digital menu board that’s touchscreen-enabled to help people quickly order what they want without holding up the line. This could also be done without any need for human staff; everything automated.
We can expect advanced digital menu board templates that are easy to create using software rather than spending hours starting one from scratch. This will make access easy for all restaurants, even the small ones who are just starting out.
Is having a digital menu board in your restaurant necessary? Yes. It is becoming very hard to please consumers due to the many options they have at their disposal.
You have to entice them with convenience for them to buy anything and digital menu boards are one of the most effective ways of achieving this.
If you are looking to add restaurant signage solutions for your establishment and don’t know where to begin or the right digital signage software to use for your digital kiosks, get in touch with us at your earliest convenience.
We will clarify all the questions and concerns you may have regarding restaurant signage design and help you invest in digital signage among other needs you may have.