8 Simple Rules For Optimizing Your Restaurant's Digital Menu System Design

July 2, 2021

Digital menu systems are superior to traditional menus in just about every way. They make your TV menu boards easier to update, more visually appealing to customers, and offer superior functionality to their static counterparts.

That being said, you don’t automatically get all of the benefits of a TV menu display just by setting one up. Instead, you need to use solid practices and techniques to unlock the full power of your digital menu board systems in order to be able to start earning more revenue.

Not sure how to get started? We’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn:

  • 8 simple rules for optimizing your digital menu board system
  • Why using digital TV menu boards makes sense for most restaurants
  • How UPshow can help you get the most out of your digital menu screens

Discover The Real Value of Restaurant Digital Menu Boards Today

Why use digital menu display screens?

Adding a digital menu board to your restaurant could increase your sales numbers by about 3 to 5%. While that in itself is a great reason to set up a TV menu display, it’s definitely not the only reason. 

Digital restaurant menu boards provide tons of benefits that many restaurants don’t take full advantage of. A digital menu system makes updating ingredients or adding specials a breeze, reduces perceived wait times by keeping customers occupied and even strengthens your brand identity.

Restaurants can also use their digital menus to:

  • Entertain guests with streaming video content
  • Market new products with in-venue ads
  • Keep customers informed about changes
  • Attract more attention from passers-by
  • Build engagement for social media
  • Advertise lightning deals and increase revenue

But wait, can a humble menu really do all this? Absolutely. TV menu displays are powered by digital signage software, which means that if it’s possible to do it with digital signage, it’s possible to do it on your TV. The versatility is endless.  

What do you need to use digital menu boards for restaurants

If you don’t have a digital menu board system already, then there are just a couple of things you’ll need to pick up before you can get started. 

Digital signage systems have three main components:

It’s that simple. Once you’re ready, read on to find out how to make the best use of your digital TV menu.  

8 simple rules for optimizing digital menu design for restaurants

Use imagery the right way in your digital menu board design

On a digital TV menu board, even more so than on a physical one, imagery is everything. It captures customers’ attention by breaking up what would otherwise be a wall of text, awakening the senses as you show off your most aesthetic culinary options.  

That said, there is such a thing as too much imagery. Use your judgement to determine the optimum amount of imagery — the goal is for the visuals to compliment your menu, but not distract from it.

Providing accurate representations of your menu items is also essential to designing good digital menu boards for restaurants. Working with a food photographer is a great option to ensure that you show your dishes in the best light possible, but steer clear of overpromising or exaggerating your menu. 

Avoid clutter in your restaurant digital menu system

Stop for a minute and consider the purpose of a TV menu board. Ideally, a menu exists to make it easy for your customers to figure out what they want. Clutter or overly-wordy descriptions make your menu harder to read, understand and choose from. In the long-run, this can increase the time it takes for customers to place orders at your restaurant.

Digital menu display screens make handling information density a breeze. Different courses, meals or menus can simply be displayed on different slides. Advertising a smaller number of items during each part of the day makes your menu relevant and easy to navigate. 

Make your menu board font as large as possible in your digital menu design

Above all else, your menus need to be easy to read. Although it can sometimes feel tempting to reduce your digital menu board font size to fit more information onto your menu, doing so is typically not a good idea.

The absolute minimum font size that you can use on a TV menu display is 26-40 pixels. Anything smaller than that and your customers will need to be inches away from the menu to read it.

In addition to size, the font type and colors that you select can also have a big impact on the readability of your menu. For the best results, stick to easy-to-read fonts and avoid using overly bright colors with high contrast. What does that mean? Think twice before putting aqua text (using Comic Sans) on a yellow background.

Mixing and matching font sizes, or using italics and bold fonts, will give your menu some extra depth. Don’t go overboard with this, though — you want to interest your readers, not leave them confused about your brand identity!

Make your restaurant TV menu board display dynamic

The utility benefits of TV menu displays over traditional menus are endless. One feature that’s absolutely worth taking advantage of is the ability to display dynamic content for your customers.

Dynamic content captures your customers’ attention and lets you showcase a variety of content within a single space.

One option is to create videos that rotate through several of your best dishes. This is a form of in-venue marketing that could increase your sales numbers.

Another simple option is to add moving graphics to your digital menu system. This will give it a sense of life and dynamism that most of your competitors’ menus won’t match.

Balance different elements of your digital menu design

Think of your restaurant menu display screen like a piece of art. You want to situate the imagery and text that you include in your menu in such a way as to encourage the viewer to look over the whole thing. You want to not only grab their attention, but hold it. 

Creating a balanced digital menu will ensure that your customers look long enough to take in everything that you have to offer, instead of focusing on only a portion of your menu.

One key technique for creating a balanced TV menu board is to spread visual interest out evenly throughout your menu. You should focus on including an equal or close-to-equal amount of images and text on both sides of your menu so that you draw a customer’s attention to each side of it evenly.

Ensure whitespace on your TV menu board

Most restaurants have a ton of information that they want to convey through their menus. But you should resist the urge to pack your menu full of images and text from side to side.

Including some empty space within your menu gives the items room to breathe on the screen. Strategically adding white space creates a restaurant menu board that is not only more aesthetically appealing, but that's also easier for your customers to navigate. Empty space lets a viewer’s eyes “breathe,” if you will, and keeps them from being visually overwhelmed.

Categories, columns and rows make a digital menu screen easier to read

Whether it’s a spreadsheet or your digital menu board, categories, columns and rows are the bread and butter of success. 

These elements allow you to break your menu apart into manageable chunks of information. Without them, your customers will have a much harder time reading and understanding your menu, increasing the time that it takes for them to order, lengthening wait times and overall creating a confusing and inefficient restaurant experience. 

While the best way to utilize these elements will depend on the specifics of your menu, many restaurants create categories for common options such as sandwiches, salads, or drinks. Placing each category in its own column takes ease of navigability to a new level. 

Think about colors and contrast in your digital menu system design

Different aspects of great digital menus restaurants come together to form a cohesive whole that together is greater than the sum of its parts. This is only possible when each element enhances the others.

Paying close attention to colors and contrast while you’re putting together your TV menu display allows you to choose which elements pop, and ensures nothing is competing for space or attention. 

Want to create a dynamic, high-contrast design that’s easy to read and grabs customer attention? Put light text on a darker background. But never put white text on pure black. Not sure if you’ve hit the mark with contrast? Use a free tool like this one from Cooler to check.

UPshow makes it easy to design and manage digital TV menus and display

Making digital signage that accomplishes all of your business goals can be tough without the right partner. Luckily for you, UPshow exists to take your digital signage to the next level. 

Our platform offers a full suite of design and campaign management tools, which make it super easy to create the exact digital menu that you want for your restaurant. With UPshow, you’ll also be able to automatically rotate the imagery that you display on your menu to captivate your audience and market your best dishes.If you’re serious about optimizing your digital menu board, we’d love to talk about how we can help. You can get started today by filling out this form and scheduling a free custom demo with us.

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