Everything You Need to Know About Digital Menu Boards

how do digital menu boards work
how do digital menu boards work

Research shows that unplanned purchases made by customers raise 80% for restaurants that use Digital Menu Boards. Many business owners are still wondering how do Digital Menu Boards work.


Digital Menu Boards are used to display restaurant menus with stunning visuals to encourage customers to visit and make orders. However, Digital Menu Boards offer more benefits than just showcasing menus in a lively way.


Many big restaurants such as McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s have digital menu boards installed. Because digital menu boards help showcase the well-presented menus, customers can easily view the menus displayed on the screens and make quick order decisions.


When it comes to digital menu boards, there are many elements involved. From hardware to software, there are many things that business owners should consider before making a decision. So how do Digital Menu Boards work? Continue reading to learn more.

The Benefits of Digital Menu Boards

Before answering the question of how digital menu boards work, let’s take some time to get a fundamental understanding of the benefits of Digital Menu Boards:

  • Menus Change Made Easy. With Digital Menu Boards, updating your menu is no longer a difficult task. You can even customize your digital menus to cope with different regulations. Show nutritional information where it is required, display food images to stimulate customers’ appetite, and create content with new marketing strategies (based on real-time data), and update new menus on your screens.
  • Improve Efficiency. With a cloud-based digital menu board software, you can update your restaurant menu whenever and wherever you are. This way, you can centralize any menu update and minimize the hassle of coordinating everyone to cope with the change. As a result, everyone can stay focused on their tasks.

  • Centralized Control With Scalability. If you are a business owner who operates multiple locations, you will benefit from having Digital Menu Boards with a centralized content management system. All you have to do is make any changes at the Head Office, and the system will streamline new menu changes to all or your selected locations with ease. This way, you do not need to worry about the logistics and coordination that typically happen during this process.
  • Always at the Right Timing. Digital signs and menu boards ensure that your campaigns begin and end at the right time. This way, you can ensure your new marketing campaigns always have the maximum opportunity to reach your target audience. You do not need to waste time waiting for your printing materials to come in. All you have to do is make the menu changes via an online platform, and these changes will appear on your Digital Menu Boards quickly.
  • Dynamic and Visually Appealing. Digital Menu Boards give you a way to display your menu items with stunning animations and vivid menu designs. You can include your best food images, videos, and any visual elements to stimulate your customers’ appetite and encourage them to make orders. Give your customers the excitement when they see your digital menu boards and provide them with the best customer experience. 

What Can You Do With Digtial Menu Boards

How do digital menu boards work? Here are some of its most common applications:  

1. In-Store Menus Display

Digital menu boards display your organized menus with vivid animation and captivating designs. This way, you can not only catch your customers’ attention the moment they walk in, but you can also help the customers make ordering decisions faster. You can place digital menu boards behind the service counter, near the entrance, or by the waiting area.

2. Promotions and Limited-Time Offers (LTOs)

Say goodbye to dull, static promotion flyers that customers don’t usually pay attention to when customers see them. You can include animated promotions and limited-time offers in your Digital Menu Boards to attract your customers and upsell your customers.

3. Drive-Thru Menus Diplay

Approximately 75% of all quick-service restaurants offer drive-thru services to their customers. Digital menu boards attractively display well-organized menus, so customers will pay attention to your menus while they wait in line. This way, digital menu boards not only help reduce the customer’s perceived wait time, but they will also help the customers at the drive-thru make an order decision faster.

digital menu boards how do they work

4. Establish Branding

How do digital menu boards work in branding? Increasing loyalty is crucial in the restaurant industry. You can include your brand message and values in your digital menu boards to help customers establish a connection with your business. You can foster a constant growth of your business by having loyal customers that will revisit your business.

The Must Have Digital Menu Boards' Features

There is a great variety of digital signage software in the market, and it can be challenging to find the optimal software that works for your business. For simplicity, we have classified Digital Menu Board into two major categories:

1. Basic Requirements

Here is a list of Basic requirements you should consider how do digital menu boards work for your business and what you should focus on when selecting a digital menu board hardware and software:


  • Stable Digital Signage Player that is Easy to Set-Up. Ideally, you should find a provider that can provide you with hardware and software, so you don’t need to do the work. The media player should run smoothly with the software to ensure maximum performance. It should always be small enough and easy to plug into a HDMI port.
  • Image or Video Playback Ability. Digital menu boards should be show images and videos with your menus seamlessly (no black screen, of course). On top of that, the software should allow you to update your menu images and videos with ease. 
  • Animations and Designs. You should always include animations or visual elements in your digital menu boards. With captivating menu designs, you can easily grab your customers’ attention and encourage them to make purchases. 

2. Advanced Requirements

When deciding what features you will need for your business, you should consider the following:

  • The Size of Your Business. Do you have a single location or multiple locations?
  • How Much Control You Want To Have. Do you want the ability to make any changes whenever you want? Do you need other aids to help you operate with ease?
  • Scalability. Do you wish to scale or expand your business? Are you looking for centralized management software to help you achieve scalability?

If you answer yes to all the questions above, then here is a list of Advanced requirements you should consider:

  • Dayparting Feature. With the dayparting feature, you can automate your breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus to switch based on different parts of the day. You don’t need to worry about the menu switch as the system will take care of it.
  • Advanced Scheduling. You can schedule any menu updates or promotions in advance. All you have to do is create content based on your plan. Once you have the content ready, you just need to schedule it in the system and set the time on when you want the content to appear. Your menus will update automatically when the time comes.
  • Ability to Make Any Updates. Always look for a system that gives you the ability to make any edits to your menus without a designer. This way, you can update your menus whenever and wherever you are without waiting on other parties.
  • Stable Content Distribution Ability. With centralized content management ability, you can ensure the system will streamline and distribute new menu updates to all or your selected locations with consistency.
restaurant menu boards digital

How to Decide Between Consumer and Commercial TVs

These are the top factors that you should consider when choosing TVs for digital menu boards: 

1. Displays

There are many things to consider when you compare consumer and commercial displays. Some of these considerations are warranty and durability. A consumer display or TV is made for watching at home. Therefore, they are not as bright as commercial displays. Consumer TVs are also turned on only for a shorter duration.  


For restaurants, other considerations are dust, grease, and high room temperatures, among many others. The operating time of consumer and commercial TVs varies. For consumer TVs, they can be operated for several hours. They can be operated 24/7, 365 days a year for commercial TVs. Moreover, you have many choices for commercial displays for various application types.

2. Warranties

You need to keep in mind warranties for consumer displays because they are made for consumer use, so you can expect the warranty to last for a year. Many commercial displays have a labor warranty and 3-year parts which can extend to 5 years in particular situations. 


Consumer warranties are also often limited to carry-in services. This type of warranty includes repair and on-site services.  


Commercial TVs are made to last for a longer time, so they are more durable. They also have longer screen life compared to consumer TVs. It would help if you also remembered that consumer warranties are normally voided because the display is used more than expected daily. 

3. Bezels

 The shape and size of the bezel are what make commercial TVs stand out. The enclosure of a TV includes a bezel that goes around the screen area and a case that hides the back part. Commercial TV enclosures are thinner so that the screen is bigger. This also eliminates the large and branded border of TVs.  


When used professionally, commercial TVs are sleeker because the bezels are more appealing to customers and make the brand more impressive. Using consumer TVs is not recommended since it makes your brand look unprofessional and cheap compared to commercial ones.  

dining area menu signage display

4. Brightness and Size

Commercial TVs have better brightness and resolution quality because they are made to work in intense well-lit businesses such as restaurants. When TVs are used commercially, better brightness is a must because the brightness of an area can wash out if TVs with low brightness are used. Higher brightness is more needed if a digital menu board is placed outside or in an area exposed to direct sunlight.  


Nits or Candelas squared (cd/m2) are used to measure brightness. Consumer TVs have brightness ranging from 150 to 250 Nits. Commercial displays, on the other hand, have 300 to 1,500 Nits.  


For the price, consumer TVs can cost several hundred dollars, and commercial TVs can be over $2,000.  


The ideal size depends on your needs. For example, if you have a small restaurant, you do not need to install a very large TV. It is recommended to hire an expert to help you with this. Standard restaurants may need a 45-inch screen to display their digital menu boards.

Now, Should You Be Using USBs?

An affordable option for many small restaurants is USBs. Of course, it is the cheapest option to set up a digital menu board if you don’t expect to scale your store and don’t need to make updates to your menus. However, if your business is growing and you want to keep up with the customers, then USB comes with many disadvantages, such as:

  1. Difficult to make any updates. When you want to make any menu updates, you have to render the updates and ensure the animations and menu designs stay consistent.
  2. Minimal Flexibility. You will have to remove the USBs from your digital displays, update your new content into the USBs, and plug the device back to the digital screens. 
  3. The Annoying Black Screen. Your USBs will display a black screen and a play bar under the screen whenever your videos have to loop. As a result, this will distract your customers’ attention and give them a cheap impression that links toward your business.
  4. Limited Scalability. You cannot automate or schedule any content in advance. On top of that, it would be a long hassling process to ship the USBs to everyone, not to mention the coordination process will need to keep the menus for all locations consistent. 

Digital Menu Boards and LED Technology

LED technology is getting more and more popular. This can be seen on products such as Crystal LED and MicroLEDs, among many others. These products are introduced so fast that they will make you think of having a huge display in your restaurant’s front or the side. If you are not using digital menu boards yet, you are missing out on a lot of benefits for your business.  


One of the best decisions you can make for your restaurant is buying modern displays that can keep up with the many advancements in technology. This also helps in avoiding the need to purchase new TVs after a few years.  


The count for pixel density has also been improved through LED displays. There is also a huge increase in resolution. 4k adoption has caused people to search for UHD choices that can easily adapt to different applications and needs. Modular MicroLED displays have also become so popular that they can be seen from many indoor stores and outdoor signs, which have replaced video walls.  

digital signage restaurant

Digital Menu Boards and HDR

High dynamic range or HDR includes a wide range of colors. Like LED technology, it has also become increasingly popular in the digital signs and boards scene. This is not surprising since the visuals show vivid colors and sharp images,  


The use of digital signages in the future is bright since many industries use them. However, this is more apparent in the restaurant industry. According to the Digital Signage Future Trends Report, small and large businesses have noted a consistent and considerable increase in their sales and better brand experience. 

There are many things to consider when you compare consumer and commercial displays. Some of these considerations are warranty and durability. A consumer display or TV is made for watching at home. Therefore, they are not as bright as commercial displays. Consumer TVs are also turned on only for a shorter duration.  


For restaurants, other considerations are dust, grease, and high room temperatures, among many others. The operating time of consumer and commercial TVs varies. For consumer TVs, they can be operated for several hours. They can be operated 24/7, 365 days a year for commercial TVs. Moreover, you have many choices for commercial displays for various application types.

Final Words

Finally, you now know the answer to the question ” how do digital menu boards work? “. They have been a quick standard feature in many restaurants. This is not surprising since it gives businesses more opportunities than standard menu boards. It is also important to understand the purchasing behavior of your customers to make your digital menu boards and signages effective.

You can learn more about NexSigns’ Digital Signage solution and connect with us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and YouTube to get the latest info on digital signage!

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