Digital Menu Boards: Top Benefits & Tips

Virginia Woolf once said, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” Eating is one activity that’s both a necessity and a pleasure, and we all need to do it. Digital menu boards can help us make our choices wisely, and enhance the overall dining experience.

Many types of organizations have some sort of onsite food and drink available. It might be a company cafeteria, a commissary at a hospital, a café in a convention center, a food court on a college campus or a restaurant in a shopping mall – anywhere people can relax for a few minutes while getting refreshment.

Menu boards improve the customer experience by giving people more information about their choices and saving them time. They can also increase food vendors’ revenues while saving money. Studies have shown menu boards prompt unplanned purchases, and are a proven way to upsell and cross-sell. And by going digital, you can save all of the printing and waste from table menus and posters, which is more economical and sustainable.

Imagery is Everything

A well-known adage in the chef world is that “you eat with your eyes first”. Pictures of items on offer are far more enticing than just the words “salad” or “iced coffee”. We process images differently than we do words – seeing a picture of food or drink actually triggers certain parts of the brain, creating a desire for that thing.

Make sure that your menu boards use high-quality pictures. A nice, well-lit photo of a juicy burger (meat or vegan) with fresh crisp lettuce and glistening, deep red tomatoes is incredibly appealing. But a washed-out picture of a burger, where the meat has a grey tinge and the toppings are pale, is unappetizing and has the opposite effect, actually making people less interested in food altogether.

Having the correct aspect ratio is also important – a stretched or squashed image of a sandwich is, at best, comical and, at worst, unappealing. It implies that you, the food supplier, don’t care very much about the fine details. If you can’t be bothered to get the pictures of your own food right, what is someone going to think about how you prepare it?

Don’t use stock images. It’s best if you take pictures of your actual offerings. That enticing burger picture might get them into your establishment, but they’ll be extremely disappointed if the burger you serve them is completely different than what they saw advertised.

Adding some animation or video increases the impact of digital menu boards. By having images move a bit, 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.

Advertise the Details

Many people have particular dietary restrictions, and you can use your electronic menu boards to educate and inform your audience. Menu boards can supply crucial info like nutritional data, allergy information, calories, fiber, vitamins and other dietary facts. Adding a list of allergens, like which things contain nuts or anything else that might cause problems for customers, shows that you care about their health and safety. And in some locations, there are labeling laws that require this kind of information be made publicly available.

If you have gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan options, then advertise that fact. People who are gluten-free will know they can get something from your establishment, and even people who are not will appreciate that you offer something for everyone.

By thinking ahead when creating your digital menu design, you can make your restaurant digital signage a one-stop-shop for customers. Everything they might need or want to know is right there so they can make the best choices.


Bring your menus to life, quickly publish updates and boost sales with vibrant menus on digital signs. Our artists can create dynamic menus for either static or interactive screens:

  • Advertise special offers and promotions
  • Update on-screen content in just a few clicks
  • Show allergy and nutritional information
  • Reduce perceived wait times in queues
  • Use affordable templates or get custom designs
Digital menu boards give you bright, colorful screen designs to show your food, prices, daily specials and nutritional informaton

Changes On the Fly

Digital menu boards are incredibly flexible, and you can change the content easily and quickly. Most menu boards pull in information from your existing database, so when changes are made in your inventory system, they automatically update the information on screens. Even if you’re a small establishment that doesn’t use a big inventory system, you can manage your listings in XLS, JSON or even Excel.

This makes digital menu boards perfect for seasonal and daily specials, or even shorter-term updates. For example, if your on-site café finds that they’re down to only 20 blueberry muffins at 10am on Monday, they can quickly get a message up on the digital menu display (and other digital signs in the facility) that says, “Fight the Monday blues with a blueberry muffin and a coffee for only 99 cents”. If the promotion works and they sell out, the menu board can adapt to let people know the muffins are gone. That way, people won’t be disappointed.

As your menu or supplies change over time, the menu board can easily adapt. Adding a new dish is a simple matter of adding it to your database. And if you use dayparting, you can instruct the menu board to only show certain items at certain times of the day, or on certain days of the week, and the display changes automatically. 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.

Make It Interactive

Incorporating touchscreens vastly expands what interactive 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. Or you can offer a QR code to take them to a webpage on their mobile device, so they can browse as much as they like at their own pace.

In addition to personalized 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 the counter. This saves time them time, and even just showing a patron’s place in the queue on screens reduces their perceived wait time. Interactive menu boards are already a popular tool in Quick-Serve Restaurants (QSR) and self-service venues because of these timesaving benefits.

You can also get your customers actively involved by gamifying things. Encourage people to take selfies or pictures of what they ordered and post them on social media with a dedicated hashtag. Offer special discounts, deals and prizes for people who correctly answer a trivia question, or who take a picture of a particular image displayed on your screens. Have a reward for the best customer photo of your new super burrito or salsa bar. Loyalty programs can also get a boost from digital menu board messages.


Our easy menu board templates let you customize the background color, choose dietary icons in black or white, and map to data in CBORD, Excel, XML or JSON. Visix experts can help import and modify your kit.

Menu Board - Soup Design
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More than Just Menus

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.

Your beautifully thought-out and well-designed menus can be displayed all day and all night – even when the facility is closed. And since menu boards are really just big screens, you can add in other types of content and messaging to your visual playlists, increasing your digital signage real estate for every kind of audience.

Menu board design doesn’t have to be complicated. A lot of digital signage companies and content services offer ready-made templates that can speed the whole process, while still maintaining brand consistency. If you decide on a custom menu board, be sure to get several designs and update your imagery often to keep your screens looking fresh over time.

ROI in Just Months

Digital menu boards make the customer experience better, help your staff work more efficiently and boost sales. That’s why more and more businesses are using them in all sorts of contexts. Installation is a one-time cost, and almost 70% of restaurants that incorporate electronic menu boards recoup their investment within the first 18 months. Contact us today for a quick quote.

Need more convincing? Check out our free infographic with stunning stats for menu board ROI.