Why digital menu boards are the best option for cafes and restaurants

a person's hand touching a computer keyboard

Running a café, bar or restaurant is not cheap. There are a lot of overheads and, at just 3 and 10%, profit margins are low. When you add in the fact that the cost of power, rent, rates, and wages have all soared lately, you can easily understand that it is not an easy business model to follow.

Understandably, most business owners who operate in the sector are cautious about investing in equipment or technology. They really can’t afford to end up with a shiny object that adds nothing to their bottom line or worse costs more to run than it saves.

As a result, there are still many bars, cafes, and restaurants that do not use digital menu boards. Something that we believe to be a false economy, we explain why we have reached that conclusion.

Digital signage is built to last

The screens on which the digital menus run are built to last. It is not unusual for them to function perfectly for 8 to 10 years, sometimes much longer. So, while the hardware costs a bit to buy, the lifetime cost is quite low.

Modern digital screens are very power-efficient

The latest models use very little power, which means they are not expensive to run. If the brightness is set up to automatically lower when ambient light conditions allow this the running costs drop even more.

Surprisingly, overall the overheads are lower than they are for chalkboards, professionally sign-painted, or poster-style boards. In many cases, digital menu boards are far cheaper to set up and maintain. Especially now that the cost of the ink, paints, and other materials used for the more traditional formats has gone up so much.

Digital signage offers much more flexibility

You also have to factor in the time staff spend updating the more traditional style of menu board. Changing chalkboards and posters takes time. Most restaurants and cafes change their prices and the dishes that they serve at least once a month. With digital screens making these changes takes moments and costs nothing.

Less food waste

Because it is incredibly easy to change the dishes that are being sold and how much is charged for them, far less food ends up in the bin. Instead, a restaurant can simply reduce the price of an item that is not selling well.

Increasing sales

This flexibility also enables the chef to take advantage of lower-priced, seasonal ingredients. When they see a bargain, they can create a special dish and add it to the digital menu. Then, remove it once it has sold through.

Customers love having more choices and being able to enjoy a nice meal for a low price. Often, they will become repeat customers.

Reinforcing branding

Digital signage is also very good for improving branding. The graphics are clean and sharp and modern digital menu software makes it easy to use the company colors and fonts.

Sharing offers with diners

Many restaurants and cafes include details of special offers or upcoming events on their digital menu boards. They do this by splitting the screen into sections, displaying the menu on the left and a special offer on the right-hand side. Because every customer has to look at the screen to place their order this type of advertising is incredibly effective.

There is little doubt that switching to digital menu boards brings many benefits. Something that many café, bar, and restaurant owners are beginning to understand, so it is safe to say that the future of menu boards is digital.