The Do’s & Don’ts of Restaurant Digital Signage

Making the switch to digital signage will improve communications, operational efficiency, and brand loyalty. As a restaurant owner or manager, there is nothing more important than the happiness and satisfaction of anyone who walks through your doors. So, when you do decide to make the switch or improve what you currently have, make sure to follow these do’s and don’ts for maximum value and results.

Digital Signage Do’s

  • Implement digital signage with a clear goal in place – A clear and concise strategy is important. Set goals and recognize what this technology can do to achieve them.
  • Screen alignment when using multiple screens – It is important to give your new digital menu boards a sleek, clean look. If you intend to butt the screens next to one another, consider using a mounting rail versus individual mounts. Also consider the type of rail mount you utilize. Walls are not always as straight as they appear. You’ll want to make sure that the rail mounting system you utilize is adjustable to account for these imperfections.
  • Slim screen bezel – Most display manufacturers have moved in the direction of a slimmer bezel industrial design. This gives a high-tech impression and allows you to use multiple screens in unison with one another.
  • High screen brightness in ambient lighting – In restaurants with lots of windows, ambient light can become an issue and glare can make an area of the menu unreadable. Choosing a screen, or trusting your digital signage provider to choose a screen with high brightness can make a huge difference when it comes to the quality of your menu board(s). Consider the brightness needed based on the time of day ambient lighting is at its peak, and make sure to turn the brightness up on your screen manually as manufacturers often do not have it at the highest setting. Direct sunlight during sunset is commonly an issue for locations with southern exposure. Another way to combat this issue is with bright and colorful content.
  • Cord Maintenance – This is arguably one of our biggest pet peeves during an installation. First and foremost, make sure that all cords are hidden and/or run through cable races. Secondly, make sure the cords are not tangled and shoved behind screens. Inevitably there will be angles that customers can see behind the screens in which case it will take away from the aesthetic you are trying to achieve. Knotted up cords and cables also attract spider webs and dust. This is not only unprofessional looking, but also a health concern when in proximity to food.
  • Food photography and videography – Providing photos of your products is EXTREMELY beneficial. Many people choose what they want to eat just based on a picture they see in a menu. You can up-sell using the power of suggestion to influence decision making. Consider motion and video as well, such as steaks being grilled on an open flame, drinks being poured, etc.

One of our customers, The Dutch Mill, stated that after they implemented their digital signage and included photos, it was the first time they had ever run out of their featured special. This truly shows how powerful visual stimulation and suggestion is.

  • PROFESSIONAL photography and videography – When you do choose to implement food photography, it is important to invest in professional, high quality photos. This will give customers the best impression of your products. Also consider the presentation of the food including garnishing, colors of plates, and background imagery.
  • Take advantage of the operational efficiency that comes with digital signage features – Use scheduling, day-parting, zoning, and personalized content creation to your advantage. You will never cease to impress your customer base by always providing fresh and relevant content each time they walk through the door, and you will save time, money and resources by using these tools.

Digital Signage Don’ts

  • Overcrowd your digital menu boards with text – Too much text and not enough pictures might overwhelm customers – give them the tools they need to make a quick and easy decision.
  • “Messy” digital signage: Mismanaged wires, Misaligned screens, and old-style displays with thick bezels. This will take away from the aesthetics of your signage. As mentioned above in the “Do’s,” it is important that your customers are seeing sleek, clean, and professional screens.
  • Outdated content – There’s nothing worse than seeing yesterday’s specials on today’s menu. People want timely information and not taking advantage of scheduling features and remote updates can give you a poor image. This can also be operationally inefficient – for example, displaying a menu item that is not available, or frequently becomes sold out. We have one particular customer who takes advantage of features that enable quickly removing items from a menu board when they run out.
  • Choosing off-the-shelf TV screens – Consider the time that screens will be on during operational hours and the number of days they will be run. Don’t be fooled by warranties that state 3 years. When manufacturers test devices they consider the rate at which they will be used. Naturally a display that is run for 3 hours every other day would be expected to outlast a screen that is run 16 hours every day. For this reason, select “commercial” or “professional” screens and verify they are rated 16/7 or 24/7 (16 hours every day of the week; 24 hours every day of the week). Commercial grades typically have the benefit of having higher brightness settings as well, measured in “NIT”.

Empire Digital Signs is the market leader in turn-key digital signage solutions, and restaurants have become one of our largest markets over the years due to the operational efficiency and ease of use that comes with digital menu boards and bragger boards. Not many realize what exactly goes into the implementation of restaurant digital signage, so we’re here to help.

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