In today’s economy, restaurants that can respond quickly and effectively to newly presented opportunities have the greatest chance of success.
Consider the local deli, fast-food eatery or even the most upscale of restaurants. These businesses must promote their constantly changing menus with up-to-date entrees, appetizers, desserts and pricing. With food items and pricing possibly changing everyday, the old approach of displaying printed menus on stands outside of an establishment, using kindergarten-style plastic lettering pushed into grooved boards or even relying on professionally printed backlit signs suspended from a wall behind the counter are old, tired and less-than-effective. Enter digital signage.
Digital signs allow restaurateurs to respond quickly to changes in pricing and menu selections. They make highlighting new specials and promotional offers at a moment’s notice practical, providing added marketing flexibility. They also reduce the expense of printing new signage. Together those benefits can significantly impact the bottom line.
But the benefits don’t stop there. Consider that unlike printed signs, digital signage is not static. It’s easy to add motion and even audio to a menu board. Imagine hearing the sound of a searing steak on the grill as an image of the chef grilling the steak comes up on the sign. Try that with print.
The good news for restaurant owners is that special-purpose digital signage software exists that makes creating attractive, effective digital menu boards fast and easy. Often, such applications bridge the gap between other software commonly used to manage a restaurant, such as spreadsheet applications, word processing software, XML sources and even Web sources, and the digital menu board.
The software serves as a data conduit, extracting menu items and pricing from spreadsheet applications and automatically populating attractive digital signage templates for display on digital menu boards.
Such software also lets restaurant chains tap into the power of networked digital signs by supporting centralized management of multiple digital menu boards in a digital signage network. Nationwide, regional, local or even restaurant-specific changes can be made to digital menu boards from a central control point.
Digital menu boards also open up the opportunity to benefit from new revenue streams for restaurateurs. Consider the possibility of securing advertising revenue or some other promotional consideration from vendors, simply by offering space and time on the menu board.
On the level of an individual restaurant, this opportunity could mean a restaurant owner selling advertising to other businesses in the area or perhaps bartering advertising time on the display in exchange for goods or services for the business. For larger restaurant chains, there is the potential to tap into regional or national advertising revenue for commercial playback on screens across the entire network of signs.
In today’s challenging economy, businesses need every advantage they can get to stay ahead of the competition. Something as simple as replacing traditional menu boards with their digital equivalents may be just the thing to tip the scales in favor of one restaurateur vs. another. Digital signage-based menu boards may provide the added boost needed to respond instantly to changing costs, eliminate certain printing expenses and generate added interest from customers as well as revenue from non-traditional sources.
David Little is a digital signage enthusiast with 20 years of experience helping professionals use technology to effectively communicate their unique marketing messages. For further digital signage insight
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