Updated: Dec 15, 2021
Learn how to transform your TV into a stunning, eye-catching digital menu board system that will help you sell more food, improve your guest's experiences, and streamline the way you manage and display your menu.
What are digital menu boards, and how can they benefit me?
A digital menu is a TV displaying your menu. When done right, you will dramatically improve your customer's ordering experience due to the bright and easy-to-read menu. In addition, you will be able to incorporate featured deals and new item sections that focus on what you want to sell more.
People buy with their eyes, include videos and images of your food
Promote your signature items to increase sales
Modernize and improve the look and ambiance of your restaurant
Use any size and brand TV
And now, let's go into the four types of digital menu boards.
1. Wireless Digital Menu Boards with Motion Graphics
This is the most popular and effective form of the digital menu board. Include eye-catching video clips of food being grilled, sodas being poured with bubbles, and preschedule your menu to play on schedules like breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
A low monthly cost for the digital menu board software
You can make instant updates from your computer at any time, and the digital menus will automatically update
Include videos, media, and images of your items in the form of section slideshows or full-screen promotions
Add scrolling ticket deals and featured item specials
Remotely update from any computer, from anywhere
The tvs will auto load and play your menu every time it turns
Your menu will always be playing on the tv even if you lose internet connection
2. USB thumb drive
USB thumbs drive digital menu boards are the most commonly used method for setting up your digital menu. Purchase your tv and stick it in a thumb drive that has your menu image on it. From the tv, you will set your menu to play.
You will have to manually set up each tv to play your menu every day
You cannot make on the fly edits to your menu tvs remotely
You may have to convert your menu image to a video loop and set it to play as a video
You cannot set slideshows to play in a zone or section of the digital menu
No monthly costs to set up
Ideal for restaurants that don't routinely make updates to their menu
You don't need the internet to update your menu
3. Streaming Digital Menu Boards
Many times when restaurants have SmartTVs, they will bring up their menu from a website. The problem with this is that you will lose your menu if the internet disconnects and the menu displaying will not display as clearly as it could using a thumb drive or digital menu board software.
The menu will often not display fullscreen
If the internet drops, you lose your menu
Sometimes the text visibility is hard to read
Your customers will see a browser open; this looks unprofessional and potentially sloppy in the eyes of your customers
You will have to manually bring and play each menu from the browser/website
It's free to play your menu from a website
4. Google Slides Digital Menus
It is how the title is, your menu playing on Google slides via Chromecast. Now, this option is relatively new but is many aspects very similar to streaming your menu on a URL
You will need to know how to use Google Slide to set up your digital menu template
You will need to be semi technol when it comes to sending your menu to the tv via Chromecast
You cannot preschedule content to play at specific times
You will always need an internet connection for your menu to display
You will need a Chromecast built-in tv
Google slides a pretty straightforward interface to use for designing or uploading your menu to
You can set the menu to play full screen across your tv
You can select the menu to rotate through menus, images, and videos
What type of digital menu board solution is best for me?
From experience, we suggest a wireless digital menu system. When going wireless, you will be able to design quickly, update and manage your entire digital menu using any PC, MAC, or Laptop.
When it comes to reliability and ease of setting up, wireless digital menu boards offer superior stability. Once set up, you will never have to screw with configuring a USB to play your menu every day.
For tvs, you can use any size and brand. However, to get your menu onto the tv, you will need one digital menu board player per tv. These are small and lightweight units that connect to tv via HDMI and WiFi. They can be mounted to the back of each tv using 3M Velcro and are only 4" x 4" x 1" in size.
To get the menu on your tv, you will need digital menu board software. That is known as "cloud-based digital menu software." In simple terms, it is a website that you log in to and use to create, edit and update your digital menu.
Often digital menu board software comes with customizable digital menus that you can use to create your menu. You will easily add your menu items, customize the background with solid colors or images, insert food image slideshows, and create dayparting playlist schedules. Or, you can keep it simple and upload your menu image, then wirelessly send it to your tv!
Turnkey Digital Menu Board Solutions
Another and more popular option for restaurants looking for a custom, professionally design digital menu is hiring a company that offers a total solution that includes:
Custom digital menu template design and set up
Reliable, easy to use digital menu board software
Free training and support
A quick start, easy way to getting your menus set up right away
We, the Menu Design Group, offer affordable, effective, and accessible digital menu board solutions. We can walk you through it from custom menu set up to set you up with a menu tv that best fits your budget and needs.
If you are confused, still not sure, or have several questions let us know! We can answer everything and offer you a free quick start guide to getting your digital menu set upright.