We all have to eat – that’s why many types of organizations have on-site facilities that offer food and drink. It might be a cafeteria or commissary for employees or students, a food court with several options available, or a café where people can relax for a few minutes while getting some refreshment. Whether someone is taking a lunch break or stopping off on their way someplace else, they have a limited amount of time. You can maximize that time by using digital menu boards. Menu boards can improve the customer experience by informing people and saving them time, and can also increase revenues while saving your organization money.
First off, you can show images of what’s on offer. A nice photograph of a sandwich or a steaming cup of coffee is far more enticing than just the word “sandwich” or “coffee”. We process images differently than we do words – seeing an image of food or drink has been shown to actually trigger certain parts of the brain, creating a desire for that thing in the viewer. Make sure that they’re high quality pictures, however. A nice, well-lit photo of a juicy burger with fresh crisp lettuce and deep red tomatoes is incredibly enticing, but a washed out picture of a burger, where the meat has a grey tinge and the toppings are washed out, has the opposite effect, actually making people less interested in food. And you also need to ensure that the image is in the correct aspect ratio – a stretched image of a sandwich is just weird, and will turn people off. It’s also best if you take pictures of your actual offerings – that enticing burger picture might get them into your establishment, but they’ll be very disappointed if the burger you serve them is completely different.
You can get a lot more information across visually than with text, and including some animation or video increases the impact of the messages on your digital menu boards. By having images move some, or even just drift toward one part of the screen, you can actually get your viewers to look exactly where you want them to. Incorporating good use of negative space in your menu board design can also help guide the eye to specific areas of the display.
Digital menu boards are incredibly flexible and you can change the content easily and quickly. This makes them perfect for daily specials, or even shorter-term updates like “buy a coffee and a muffin, and get a free croissant between 9 and 11am”. When you run out of items, you can update your audience immediately, so they don’t suffer disappointment. If you get down to just a few items left and want to push them, you can create a special offer right then to sell them before they get stale.
Many people get their digital menu board software to interact with social media feeds and scheduling software. Encourage you audience to interact with your brand by taking pictures of happy customers, or people who have just taken advantage of a special offer. Putting this on both your social media and your menu boards will encourage others to get in on the act. If you know that you’ll offer a discount on the remaining morning muffins in the afternoon, you can create that message early in the day and simply schedule it to appear at the correct time.
Gamifying things gets your audience even more involved. Encourage people to take selfies and pictures of your location and post them on their own social media feeds. You can have special discounts, offers and prizes for people who correctly answer a trivia question, or who take a picture of a particular image displayed on the screen. Loyalty programs also get a boost from digital menu board messages.
Many people have particular dietary restrictions or allergies, and you can use your electronic menu boards to educate your audience. Nutritional information can be displayed, as well as if a particular item contains nuts, or gluten, or anything else that might cause problems for customers. If you have gluten-free options, then advertise that fact. People who are gluten-free will know they can get something from your facility, and even people who are not will appreciate that you offer something for everybody.
Incorporating interactive touchscreens vastly expands what your digital menu boards can do. Easy-to-use and consistent menu board templates organize the information in an intuitive way, and people can search through your menus, nutritional information, hours of operation and more at their own pace. In addition to personalized searching and detailed information, you can add in a queuing, reservation or ordering system, allowing people to choose what they want before they even get to your counter. This saves them time, and reduces real and perceived wait times.
Your beautifully thought-out and designed messages can be displayed all day and all night – advertising your offerings even when the facility is closed. And since menu boards are simply targeted digital signage, you can add in other types of messages to your playlists as well, increasing your digital signage real estate for every kind of audience.
Digital menu boards can save you money, with more people being helped because of efficiencies, and less waste from printed menus and posters. All of these options save your staff time, so they can concentrate on providing great customer service. Speaking of staff, they’re a great source for menu board ideas – they work with the products and customers every day, and probably have some notions as to what people would like to see on screens.
Digital menu boards make the customer experience better, and help your staff work more efficiently. That’s why more and more businesses are using them in all sorts of contexts. Installation is a one-time cost, and content is easy to create and schedule. Almost 70% of restaurants that incorporate electronic menu boards make back their investment within 18 months. Once the set-up costs are recouped, digital menu boards just keep on giving out benefits to customers, employees and your organization for no extra money spent. That’s certainly an incentive to start using them today.