Digital Menu board outside of cafe

Design Tips for Eye-Catching Digital Menu Boards and Displays

If you operate a restaurant, it may be time to replace hard plastic signage with digital solutions. Traditionally menu displays are not only uninspiring, but employees have to change them by printing new paper menus whenever there are new menu updates or pricing updates. Digital menu boards are changing how food establishments communicate with their customers. You can use compelling images to attract a customer’s attention, and enrich their ordering experience. Digital menu displays can also help you stand out in the very competitive restaurant industry.

However, just because you ditch your static menus for digital solutions does not automatically mean that you will increase revenue. You have to be strategic about your content creation, how you design your digital menu displays to encourage maximum overall customer experience and engagement. This article includes winning tips that you can implement to take your digital game to the next level.

Why You Should Use Digital Menu Displays

Almost every industry is turning to IT solutions to simplify their business operations, and the food service industry is no different. Modern restaurants are embracing digital signage with digital menu software in window displays and point of sales to boost advertising, increase sales, and provide entertainment. Fast food chains like McDonalds have turned to digital kiosks to reduce wait time, improve order accuracy, and enhance customer satisfaction.

Interactive Kiosk at restaurant

One of the primary applications of digital signage in restaurants is as a digital menu boards. Modern consumers are demanding convenience, forcing many food establishments to rethink how they operate. Easy-to-read menus is a priority for the clients who will visit your store, and you can use digital displays to showcase your offering as well as menu information. The benefits of digital menu displays include:

Engage Customers

Customers are more attracted to vivid and bright visuals. The goal of using appealing imagery in menu boards is to excite your visitors. For example, a picture of hot-spicy wings will naturally excite a customer’s taste buds.

Update Your Menu Automatically

Your customers can simply look at the menu display to determine what is available at any time of day. They can see breakfast, lunch, dinner meals, and daily specials instead of waiting to ask the staff. This is a great feature of digital signage, where content can be scheduled for a specific time. For example, only breakfast items will be display between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. and only lunch items will be displayed from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Promote Offers and Deals

Everyone loves a good deal, and you can use exciting offers to catch your customers’ attention. Some systems can be pre-programmed to stop and start seasonal promotions and promote offers based on the time of the day, like happy hour. Content can also be scheduled for a specific day of the week. For instance, Monday night specials will only be displayed from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Mondays.


You can use digital menu boards to sell extra items to a customer. You can promote combo meals, new desserts, and appetizing ‘dishes of the day’ to encourage customers to make non-planned purchases.

example of a visual display on a digital signage screen

Common Mistakes in Designing Menu Boards

Before you settle on a digital menu board design, it is essential to know the common mistakes. There is a lot of planning involved in designing and deploying menu boards for them to be effective in your restaurant. Some pitfalls to avoid like:

  • Overcrowding digital menu displays
  • Using statistic menu images
  • Poor location and size of digital screens
  • Ignoring video
  • Excluding allergy, calorie counts, and nutritional information
  • Placing menu items in the wrong categories
  • Including only text in the menu displays

Designing Tips for Digital Menu Displays

If you want to transform your restaurant with digital signage displays, you can implement best practices below:

Add Polished Imagery

While the internet is littered with generic food images that you can use, you want to use unique visuals that will represent your brand. By using actual photos, you will also avoid disappointing your customers when they actually receive the food.

You should hire an experienced food and beverages photographer to capture the qualities of your offerings. The photographer will use consistent lighting to suit your brand’s image. Keep in mind that some menus don’t need images, and you shouldn’t overload your audience with imagery.

Include Video

People are naturally fascinated by movement, which is why you shouldn’t shy away from using video content in your menu displays. Videos and animations can add depth to your restaurant messaging and boost brand recognition. For example, you can use a video of a juice splash to highlight your commitment to using healthy produce. Keep in mind that animations can be distracting, and you want to use them sparingly.

Take Advantage of Free Digital Content Platforms

Don’t let a low budget keep you from enjoying the benefits of digital signage in your restaurant. The internet has endless resources that you can use to create interesting menu displays.

You can use PowerPoint or Google Slides to create free digital menus. You will get hundreds of digital menu board templates by using a platform like Google Slides. Once you create your menus, all you will need is a digital signage software to display it to your customers.

Use Clutter-free Designs

A confusing menu will only interfere with a customer’s ability to make a decision. You want to create menu displays that are easy to read by breaking down information into categories, rows, and columns.

You can use multiple slides to display your items in logical groups. For example, you can use digital signage software to display your breakfast slide from 7AM to 11Am. Avoid loading your menu displays with too much content. You want to ensure that people can understand your menu items quickly to improve the customer’s experience.

Do Not be Afraid of Color

When used well, color can appeal to a customer’s eye and enforce branding. Pay attention to tone and readability when choosing colors. For example, red, yellow, and other vibrant colors are attention-grabbing, but they also contribute to eye-strain. You can use these bright colors sparingly to indicate freshness.

To make things easier, pick three primary shades that you will stick with. You can also use color to create a mood for the restaurant environment. For example, black is often associated with elegance while blue promotes relaxation.

Use Large Fonts

You should ensure that your customers can clearly see the menu options from the point of ordering. Use easy-to-read fonts and avoid brightly-colored fonts if you have used bold colors on the displays. Apply different font sizes to categorize items and you can even bold or italicize similar categories.

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