An up-to-date menu is a key part of the dining experience. As a diner, being able to clearly identify popular items, pricing, and specials is a definite plus.
With this in mind, more and more restaurants are choosing to adopt digital displays – and with good reason.
Displaying your restaurant menu on your TV is more efficient, engaging, and economical than sticking with a static display, and has the bonus of even helping you to grow your business. What’s more, digital menu displays don’t have to be an expensive investment, and can be easily implemented using your existing TVs.
Understanding how and why digital displays work places your business in good stead to try new marketing techniques, giving you an advantage over your competition.
Why display your restaurant menu on your TV?
Classic menus, whether in handheld or board format, tend to be static. These can be challenging to update without replacing completely, and that can require significant time investment.
Printing new menus, as you may well know, isn’t the cheapest or most environmentally friendly option, either. The bottom line is that menus are expensive to replace, which makes seasonal items and specials more of a hassle, and in turn, you end up with a menu that is less innovative and relevant.
Digital displays are quickly becoming the new normal. They’re significantly more efficient, easier to manage and customize and more environmentally friendly in the long run.
In addition, digital display boards can instantly change an aesthetic, so whether you want to maintain, update or experiment with your brand’s identity, display boards are a fast and inexpensive way to do so.
There are specially-made digital display boards on the market. They work well and do as advertised, but they can be costly.
But what if we were to tell you that you don’t even need specialized equipment to get started with transforming your menus? A regular flat-screen television is the perfect canvas for a digital restaurant menu board, and chances are you already have one on-site.
Digital menu displays: The benefits
Aside from the practical efficiency of their day-to-day use, displaying your restaurant menu on a TV can improve your business by acting as a subtle marketing tool.
Recent studies have found that simply having a digital display can increase the time customers spend in your restaurant by as much as 30%. This gives you plenty of time to drive sales up through that extra coffee or dessert.
Read on to discover four key results of making use of digital menu displays.
- Upsell Menu Items
Because digital menu displays can rotate between different content slides, it’s easy to feature individual menu items and upsell them to customers.
Dedicating a slide to an item’s image, description and promotion allows customers to see it more clearly and can influence them to take advantage of an offer they may otherwise have missed.
- Promote Specials
In the same vein, rotating slides also allow the promotion of daily or weekly specials. A digital display can be quickly and easily updated to include a fish or soup of the day, a special meal deal, or a seasonal offer.
- Increase Customer Satisfaction
Long wait times can hurt sales and reputation by inviting boredom. Customers have something to do with an ever-changing display that makes even longer waits to seem to fly straight by. Displaying trivia or other entertainment can even make the wait fun!
- Build Customer Loyalty
Digital menu boards are engaging; their shifting displays can be coordinated with particular brand colors, slogans and styles to create a lasting impression that your customers will talk about long after they leave.
They can also be used to include customers in the dining experience directly.
Featuring any commentary on social media as a part of the rotating display can encourage customers to post about your brand, increasing awareness and a sense of camaraderie that can build loyalty quickly and easily.
It’s also an excellent way of announcing local events and celebrating holidays, which can help your brand appear more personable and relatable.
How to Build a Solid TV Menu Board
A display is nothing if the items on display aren’t well-crafted and valuable. There are many templates available online for creating a TV menu board that will intrigue and captivate customers.
Here is a simple step-by-step process to build a solid TV menu board:
- Select the orientation. Depending on the restaurant’s needs, the menu board may be landscape (horizontal) or portrait (vertical). More extensive menus can be split into two columns on a landscape display, while shorter or specialty menus can offer more detail in a portrait display.
- Select the size of the display. The pixel measurement of the template or canvas should match the TV’s maximum resolution capability to ensure the highest quality display.
- Create or utilize a template. Templates offer guidelines for filling in various menu sections and adding in personal design touches such as borders or logos. They ensure that the space in the canvas is used correctly. A display template can be created in a wide variety of online platforms, from Google Slides or PowerPoint to specialized design software.
- Fill in the template. Add the restaurant’s logo and name prominently, usually at the top of the screen. Use a high-resolution logo image file. From there, fill in the section headings and menu items as appropriate. Be sure to add proper descriptions and keep prices in their own column.
- Save your display. Save the file both on a device and in cloud storage if possible.
- Display your menu. Connect your TV to your menu streaming device or directly insert a USB stick or SD card into the TV. If it’s a static image, select how long to display it for. If it’s a video, select the “loop” playback option.
Displaying your menu can be achieved by purchasing some additional hardware, but frequently you can simply hook your display software (a designated device or your computer) to the TV via an HDMI cable or DisplayPort, which lets higher resolution images and videos play more smoothly on newer smart TVs.
Having a digital menu also allows you to display it on your website or offer it for download through a scannable QR code. This increases your restaurant’s reach and accessibility, which may lead to an uptick in sales.
It also makes promotion at events easier and less costly if an “Ask about catering!” section is added.
Tips for Designing a Great Digital Menu Board
Having the right materials in place is essential, but knowing how to use them is just as important. Here are some tips for creating an impressive display for your TV.
- Keep your text simple. Large, clear fonts make it easy for your customers to see and understand what’s on the menu.
- Utilize color theory. Your brand likely has an associated color palette; use this palette to create a menu that fits your business’s style and theme. It’s also helpful to consider contrasting and complementary colors that keep your menu visually interesting.
- Use visual aids. Pictures of your food and ingredients may make certain menu items more appealing and clarify what’s included in the dish.
- Pair prices clearly. Connect prices and dishes visually through dots, lines or a grid system to dispel confusion. You may also consider dropping the decimals to conserve screen space.
- Monitor your brightness. Be sure that the brightness of your menu board is adaptable — usually it needs to be brighter in bright environments and dimmer in low-lighting.
- Revise your menu to fit your audience. Monitor your analytics and ask customers questions about improvements they would like to see in your menu. Ongoing feedback can be an incredibly powerful tool for your business.
Your digital menu can be a significant asset if it’s utilized correctly, and so it is important to continue to monitor and improve it as you go.
What software do you need to display restaurant menus on a TV?
The television used for the display should handle high-resolution imagery, upwards of full HD, at 1920 by 1080 pixels. For particularly detailed images, having 4K (3840 by 2160 pixels) resolution guarantees that the image displays without compressing or losing any quality.
To create the actual images themselves, any design tool can be effective. The most popular are Photoshop, Indesign, GIMP or Canva.
These programs, both paid and free versions, have useful tools for canvas sizing and exporting high-quality images. They can also be useful in creating custom animations and transitions for the menu.
Aside from this, TV menu displays often require a digital signage content management system or CMS. This software allows users to interface between the computer where the content is stored and the display itself.
It’s useful for easy updating and scheduling of when the display is going to be live.
UPshow Can Help You Upgrade Your Customer Experience
It’s possible to run a digital display without a CMS, but having one on your side provides you with tools that set you up for success. Not only that, but they can offer a system of support that can make the transition from classic to digital display more accessible and possibly even more profitable.
UPshow isn’t just a digital CMS. We are a full-service display, entertainment, and analytics program you can access anywhere, anytime, and we are dedicated to improving your customer experience.
Our fully online cloud control platform lets you manage multiple TV screens across all of your locations simultaneously. It also offers easy remote updating and scheduling, and extensive engagement analytics so you can be sure your displays are as effective as possible.
Contact UPshow today to see how they can take your TV menu board from simple to stunning.