Applications for Digital Menus in Restaurants…And Not…

Posted by on Nov 15, 2013 in Digital Menu Boards

There’s a time and a  place for just about everything, including some of the technology we provide. We provided a number of digital signage displays for a prominent American university this last month. In doing so, we were asked a number of questions relative to the appropriateness of using the technology in various settings. And while we in the industry would love to pump up demand for our products by telling customers and potential customers that these can and should work everywhere, it remains a fact that not all venues desire to mimic the epileptic grand-mal-inducing experience of New York’s Time waiter

Fortunately for consumers, the ambiance of some venues requires a toned-down approach. For many, the chance to go out-of-home may even mean leaving a predominantly digital world behind. Ignoring digital displays and the things that come with them (e.g. Facebook, email, YouTube, Twitter) can be healthy for the soul and interpersonal relationships.

There remains a growing demand and need for solutions relating to digital signage, including digital menu boards. In fact, here are some somewhat obvious applications where digital menu boards make a great deal of sense.

Restaurants where digital menus work

  • Fast food
  • Quick service
  • Coffee shops
  • Bars & night clubs

Venues where you spend a lot of standing before you sit and eat your food or where you order your food from a mounted menu are all areas ripe for digital signage creative destruction.

Food service venues where digital signage is out of the question 

  • High-class restaurants
  • Sit-down establishments
  • Restaurants with real waiters

Any venue where interacting with a real waiter is part of the experience is not an appropriate location for a electronic menu. What’s interesting is that while traditional LCD digital menu boards may not work for the second list, tablet menus have certainly come into vogue. In fact, we’ve noticed that the higher-end you go, the more likely you are to differentiate yourself and enhance the user experience by providing a value-add in things like tablet restaurant menus.

There are places where digital menu boards work and venues where they don’t. There are also locations where tablet menus are making a scene. However, there remains certain restaurants where digital will probably never enter and where the patrons will always be loyal. Those “hole-in-the-wall” joints are perhaps the most inviting. Certainly not every restaurant needs to adopt digital. In fact, some may be doing so to hopefully detract from the quality of the offerings–which could be a reason to run the other direction, but that’s for you to decide.

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