By Trevor Jones

Static menu boards used to be favoured because of their cost-effectiveness. But the maintenance and human capital required to keep the board up to date and accurate has lead many operators to consider digital menu boards.

The benefits of digital menu boards are numerous and include:

  • The ability to use automatic day parting
  • The ability to remotely update menus and make instant, pre-programmed changes
  • Make changes and update prices for single or multiple locations, from anywhere in the world
  • Centralized control of marketing, promotions and menu board content
  • The ability to link inventory levels and point of sale (POS) to change marketing and pricing instantly

Digital menu boards allow messages to be dynamic, clear and interactive, as well as integrating static or full-motion content into menu display. This then allows the operator to incorporate cross promotions with vendors, partners and suppliers.

Current industry view

IT departments traditionally initiate digital projects. The focus is on hardware and the ROI is measured by operational cost savings. However this is only part of the equation.

Digital menu boards provide a range of operational benefits including:

  • Online management to update a single store or a national network, all from a centrally located web browser with a few clicks
  • Reduction in print and distribution costs
  • Speed of distribution of content to quickly and easily update menu text, pricing or product images instantly
  • Low cost response of deployment and activation of any menu board changes

Content is often an afterthought.

Content development is often added to the current advertising agency brief where they treat digital menu board material as repurposing of the existing assets. Existing material is not optimised for the in-store environment and doesn’t take into account the customer need state.

Rethinking Digital Menu Boards…more than just menu items and pricing

Digital menu boards communicate directly with customers. Video and animation effects, flexible playlists to highlight product offerings, time of day scheduling to customise menus and instant menu updates in response to changing circumstances are just some of the features that allow businesses to use digital menus to increase sales. Digital menu boards provide great picture quality, high reliability, low power use, and marked savings over time. Think about the customer experience when developing your digital menu board communication strategy. Consider creating compelling digital content with combo’s to drive margin and promotions to engage, up-sell and cross sell to queuing customers. Use day part menus. Carefully structured content can boost impulse sales. All while giving a contemporary look to the in-store environment.

In addition to displaying prices, digital menu boards can help an operator:

  • Promote products that are in high inventory
  • Add new items to the menu
  • Run special promotions
  • Cut costs, including printing and shipping menu board inserts
  • Maintain brand consistency throughout multiple restaurants
  • Display required nutritional information
  • Communicate corporate messaging and training materials
  • Share information and entertainment with customers
  • Streamline deployment, integration and activation

In store communications ROI can be measured by customer engagement, brand equity, preference and liking.  The main ROI for the digital menu board is influencing customer behaviour. Content can be delivered in an exciting and engaging way with measurable and actionable results. Becoming a long-term tool of your integrated marketing communications. An agency with specialist digital expertise can provide invaluable experience, insights and in-house capabilities. It is of paramount importance to partner with key suppliers who provide expertise and add value to your business.

By following these simple rules you’ll be in good shape to develop an effective digital menu board strategy – by utilising the full capabilities of what digital media is ideally suited for, responding to audience needs and optimising commercial returns.

Benefits & Advantages

  • Take full control over your screen’s content
  • Provide a better experience for customers
  • Deliver effective engaging content and useful information to customers
  • Increase customer satisfaction and sales.