How the restaurant trade is boosting sales through digital menu boards
There’s no better example of the enhanced information delivery that digital signage offers than in the restaurant and hospitality trade, where a digital signage menu board can transform the way customers order food.
Yet listing menu items alongside mouthwatering imagery is only one example of the potential to improve the customer experience through digital menu boards.
Added information and the day’s specials are welcomed by customers in food serving venues, restaurants and staff canteens. Using digital menu boards, it’s feasible to add in additional content such as customisable meal options, and nutrient and calorie information – some of which is now legally required.
In the UK, allergen information, nutritional labelling and information on certain sweeteners and sugars is now required by law. More positively, restaurants can use digital menu boards to offer more inspiring and reassuring information, such as ingredients that are locally sourced, or those that are organic, free from preservatives, flavourings and colour.
Food for thought
Fast food outlets have seen a huge uptake in digital menu boards, with the ability to show different menus at different times of the day. Through the addition of touchscreen interactive displays, these restaurants can even offer self-service signage, and NFC or contactless card payment options.
Wayfinding information is also being deployed on these digital menus, telling patrons not only where to order, but also where to pay, real-time order waiting times, and where to collect their food from once it’s ready.
Added to this the waiting time needn’t be the dull process it once was – digital signage can offer distractions and entertainment to customers. The Boston-based burrito chain Boloco’s digital signboard allows patrons to play noughts-and-crosses while they wait, while McDonald’s recently experimented with gesture-enabled gaming on its touchscreen menu boards to keep children amused while their food is prepared.
High resolution imagery and video of food – alongside footage of its preparation – is also proven to increase customer ordering. And when customers get to see an entire menu delivered to them on an animated digital screen, it increases the likelihood of them ordering supplemental sides and up-sizing their orders.
Fries with that?
Digital menu boards don’t only come hung on the walls, however – they can be used as tables themselves. London-restaurant Inamo enables its patrons to order and customise dishes without leaving their seats, while Pizza Hut is experimenting with an interactive table that enables its customers to build their own pizza.
For the hospitality and events industry – which often finds different menus being produced on different nights of the week – the advantage of digital menu boards is obvious. Menu choices can be quickly updated, and additional information such as seating plans and serving times can also be included.
Digital menu boards aren’t just being uses for menu and information items, however. In sports bars, digital menu boards can include screen-in-screen footage of sporting events, so when customers come to order they’re not missing any of the action. Similarly, entertainment venues can use digital menu boards to advertise upcoming events and deliver additional information on acts.
Finally, the abundance of digital signage being used for digital art and atmospheric enhancements is proving a hit in more upmarket restaurants. Here, digital signage can be used for specials boards in particular areas of the restaurant when needed; or can be deployed to show mood enhancing imagery or video.