Restaurant Menu Strategy: Static Vs. Digital Menu Boards

The battle is over and the winner is clear. When it comes to your fast-casual or quick-service restaurant menu strategy, digital menu boards are tremendously more effective at driving sales and scaling operations than static menu boards.

As any restaurant operator could attest, the environment within the food service industry bustles with fast-paced activity and stiff competition. And perched above the action on the floor, the menu boards are perhaps the most important objects in the restaurant. They tie the story together, showcasing everything the store has to offer.

That’s why it’s important to carefully consider the type of menu boards you use. More and more restaurants have been transitioning to digital menu boards, and it’s not hard to see why. Digital menu boards offer a host of benefits not found with static, printed menu boards. Large printed menus are cumbersome, not durable, time-consuming, and more.

If you still use static menu boards in your multi-unit operation, it might be time to rethink your restaurant menu strategy. Consider these benefits of digital menu boards as you think about making the switch from static.

Adopt a Menu Strategy That’s Easy to Control

As restaurant companies grow, it can be difficult to ensure consistency across locations. With static menu boards, it can be a guessing game to determine if all your restaurants received the appropriate materials from your marketing team and have implemented them correctly. Is your messaging consistent? Is the brand aligned? Are customers confused?

Digital menu boards take away that uncertainty and empower restaurant operators to display the same branding, design, and content across all stores.

Instead of having multiple employees in different locations continuously climbing ladders to update static menu boards manually, digital menu boards allow you to change all menus across all restaurants at once with just a few clicks. This increases franchisee control, enabling them to display content and engage customers by changing price points and swapping out LTOs. It also saves you time and frees up your employees to focus on more important things, such as the food and the customers.

It’s easy to tie merchandising messages to web, print, or TV in real time. You can also highlight national advertising messages to promote recollection and brand loyalty with your customers. Digital menus are endlessly versatile and flexible no matter what each day brings.

Rethink How to Lower Costs and Increase Revenue

Have you ever considered how much it costs to print, ship, and deploy materials on static menu boards (that may or may not be used properly)? Digital menu boards eliminate those costs. They decrease the time and payroll costs associated with updates and changes, with everything done on one computer through a central management platform. Unlike static menu boards, digital menu boards cut down on time and money spent making seasonal, campaign, and daily menu changes.

Alongside reducing the cost of printing static materials and the labor to put them up, digital menu boards can actually help lower food costs as well.

There’s no disputing that wasted product eats away at the profitability of any food service establishment. Digital menu boards help control food costs and reduce waste by allowing you to easily highlight items close to expiration, remove items that are out of stock, and achieve a higher margin per transaction (the gold accounting standard in the restaurant business). Saving money and food should a be a part of any modern restaurant menu strategy.

A limited-time offer or a manager’s special may be exactly what’s needed to encourage sales and reduce the odds you’ll soon be tossing untouched product into the dumpster. And promoting higher-margin items on the menu board can help lower food cost percentages, ultimately increasing profits. Did you know WAND guarantees all enterprise-level customers a 3-6% sales increase when they team with our team for menu design?

Implement a Strategy That Improves Customer Experience

Today’s customers already incorporate technology into all aspects of their lives, from mobile phones and tablets, to flat-screen TVs and voice-activated home assistants. Consumers have come to expect a digital experience tailored to their needs, and the last thing a restaurant operator wants to do is create the impression that their business is old, tired, and inconsiderate of changing customer needs.

Customers correlate digital menu boards with restaurants that are modern and clean. That increases their brand loyalty and encourages them to return, tell their friends, and share their customer experience on social media. Digital menu boards help customers make clearer and quicker decisions, which gives them a better experience and strengthens their connection to your stores. 

Digital menu boards also offer the opportunity to deliver a brand’s message in new and exciting ways. Static boards are there to simply display menu items; digital menus are there to tell a story and enhance the overall design of your restaurant. Bright imagery, subtle motion, and video menus also diminish wait times, further enhancing your customer experience.

Use your digital menus to call out signature dishes and high-margin items and to showcase your brand’s personality. A digital menu board doesn’t just offer the opportunity to show off your best menu items, it allows you to put your brand on display.

Upgrade with a Restaurant Menu Strategy That Fits Your Goals

All restaurant operators (and customers) know there is a huge difference between a restaurant that is run efficiently and one that is not. Digital menu boards can help enhance that efficiency, improve operations, provide better food and service, and ultimately boost the bottom line.

It’s not enough, though, to simply stick up a digital menu board and wait for the profits to mount. As with most things in life, when it comes to digital menu boards, you get out of them what you put into them. Like any technology, the more you understand it and use it to your advantage, the more you’ll benefit from having them in your restaurants.

At the end of the day, though, it’s clear that digital menu boards can offer tremendous benefits for the operator and a vastly improved experience for the customer. If you’re still using static menu boards, is it time to make the switch? Let’s update your strategy and get your bottom line growing. 

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