Tapping into Digital Technology on  Restaurant Menus
08 November 2015

Tapping into Digital Technology on Restaurant Menus

When you think of a restaurant menu, what do you picture? Perhaps you

envision chalkboard on the wall noting the day’s fresh catch? Or maybe a plastic covered

tri-fold menu handed out upon arrival?

According to a recent study, the global market for digital signage is increasing. Money spent on digital

signage is projected to nearly triple from 2010 to 2016. Digital menus—from large menu boards to

hand-held tablet devices—are making their way into all kinds of restaurants, with the promise of

communicating to customers more effectively and subsequently improving sales.


Digital Signage That Sells

More and more restaurants are beginning to implement digital menu boards and signage into their

establishments. Digital signage can be applied to interior menu boards, promotional boards, outdoor menu

boards for drive-through displays and point-of-purchase displays via LED flat screens, computer monitors

or television.

Enticing Visuals

In 2011, McDonald’s launched the largest and most advanced digital media project in quick service

restaurant history. The chain updated more than 12,600 stores around the world digital video to better

showcase their McCafé line of coffee beverages. The project featured compelling video, mesmerizing

animation, and the ability to change the message, price or product whenever needed.

Promotional Flexibility Dairy Queen began implementing digital menu messaging

because it offered the flexibility and capacity to promote over 47 different menu types. The result showed

that in most cases, items featured on digital signage boards increased in sales from year to year.


Improved Sales

Digital menus can play an especially important role in improving sales in this, the digital age of

communication. Wendy’s restaurants have also seen sales improve by 12 to 13 percent in restaurants

with digital signage in comparison to those with traditional signage.


Tablet Menus For The Table

While digital menu boards and signage have been helpful in quick serve restaurants, digital tablet menus

work especially well for sit-down restaurants. These items are useful for many of the same reasons

mentioned above, but the concept of handheld or tableside technology can make more sense in a fine

dining or sit-down restaurant. Many customers are already accustomed to using iPads and other

handheld devices in their everyday lives.


Exciting Interactivity

When restaurateurs can come up with creative, attractive graphic design and then place it in the

customers’ hands to explore, the dining experience becomes more interactive. Customers may even be

able to offer comments or input marketing data on the spot, yet without feeling pressured. Interactivity can

make the customer feel more involved during the dining process, and may even improve loyalty.


Inherent Customer Readiness

It used to be that restaurant employees took all the responsibility when it came to describing the menu,

taking the order and accepting payment. Handing a customer an iPad along with his cocktail—and

effectively giving them the control—sounds like a risk. Still, the customer is ready and waiting for this kind

of technology. The best part about digital menus is that customers are already aware of how to use them,

eliminating the learning curve and, in many cases, playing to tech-savvy preference.


Improved Communication

Wired magazine suggests that placing iPads in the hands of customers is the best new way to promote

restaurant marketing and menu communication. The trend is most often seen in

forward-thinking finedining restaurants.These types of menus are designed to improve internal menu


communication in ways like these:

 Better visibility. Tablets are bright, with clean design and manual zooming abilities, excellent for dimly lit

dining rooms or anyone with poor eyesight.

 Searchable. The menu is scrollable and searchable, making it easy to look for particular items. This is

especially useful for a menu with a lengthy wine list.

 Easy alterations. When the restaurant runs out of a daily special or wants to update a certain item, the

digital process can make this look nicer, cut down on printing costs, and eliminate disappointment when

something is sold out.


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