7 Things To Know Before Buying Digital Menu Boards Online l HootBooth®

August 08, 2020

Benefits of Digital Menu Boards

As sit down restaurants, QSR's (quick service restaurants), bars and hotels modernize their operations, digital menu boards are an essential purchase. At the most basic level, digital menu boards replace static or chalkboard menus. But they do so much more than a printed restaurant menu! In addition to showing a restaurant's menu to customers in a beautiful visual medium, digital menu boards can be used to entertain customers with news feeds or videos while waiting in line and educate patrons and staff on a restaurant's policies regarding social distancing.

But digital menu boards really shine when it comes to improving a restaurant's profitability. According to a recent Forrester International research study of QSR's, digital menu boards increased average order value by 23% by leveraging the dynamic digital content (read: video and beautiful food photos) to showcase popular 'add-on' food and beverage items. The same study also showed that digital menu boards improved customer wait times and reduced printing costs.

7 Essential Features Of A Modern Digital Menu Board System

Many restaurants utilize a local AV integrator when purchasing a digital menu board system. This is a good option if you want a 'hands-free' approach since they are product experts. However, you will pay considerably more when buying your digital menu boards from an AV integrator. Did you know you can save money purchasing digital menu boards online? (Hint: check out our line of HootBooth® LumaVu Digital Menu Boards.) 

There are many different variables to consider as you begin shopping for digital menu boards online. Don't make a purchase decision just by price alone - there are cheap displays with anemic chips and software that would make for a suboptimal choice for your restaurant or hospitality business.

Here are 7 essential features to look for when buying digital menu boards online for your restaurant or hospitality business.

1) Look For 'True' 24/7 Display Runtime 

A true commercial-grade digital menu board has such a long LED backlight life that they can run 24/7 for up to 50,000 hours with no damage to the LED backlight on the display. This is critical because many restaurants, convenience stores and hotels have their digital signage running 24 hours a day. If your restaurant does not keep the digital menu boards on 24/7, it will mean a longer product life. If you don't see a '24/7' rating on the display that you are considering, it is most likely a 'consumer' display' like you might find at Best Buy or another big box retailer. In fact, real 24/7 commercial digital signage will be available only through a display manufacturer' certified dealer. (For example, at HootBooth®, we are certified value-added resellers for Philips brand commercial digital signage displays.)

2) Displays Must Be Bright Enough For Bright Environments

'Consumer' displays that you buy at an electronics store have an average brightness rating of 350 nits (cd/m²). In order for your digital menu boards to be readable in sunny environments, look for a display brightness rating of at least 450 nits; especially if you are placing your screens in a shop window or bright entryway.

3) Your Digital Menu Board System Needs A Powerful Media Player

As discussed above, a great deal of the benefit of digital menu boards is showcasing your food and beverage items through video and photos. In order to render multimedia content on the display(s), you need a powerful media player (basically a super-compact computer) connected to your digital menu system. For example, HootBooth's LumaVu Digital Menu Boards include a powerful Windows PC with an Intel quad-computer processor and loads of storage and RAM to properly render multimedia content across multiple 4K or Full HD screens in your digital menu system. You'll notice in your comparison shopping that lower priced digital menu systems utilize a native Android-based chip (read: much less powerful than an Intel Quadcore processor) and very low storage and RAM. 

4) You Need Easy Software With Remote Content Management

Since you're running a restaurant or hospitality business, you don't have time to be a designer or developer (unless that's your thing - go for it!). Just as high quality displays are important, the software is equally important. 

Our LumaVu Digital Menu Boards come with loaded with tons of software features. These are the most important features to look for in your comparison shopping:

  • A simple, feature-rich 'drag & drop' web-based content editor (CMS) to design signage content that 'spans' across multiple displays!
  • Beautiful pre-designed templates for many business including restaurants, bars and hospitality.
  • Add 'non-menu' content to your digital menu boards to entertain and inform your customers including streaming video, ESPN from RSS feeds, streaming news, YouTube, Vimeo and tons of social media feed integrations.
  • Use the day-parting (scheduling) feature to showcase the right content for the right time of day. For example, you can update your screens during a day as often as you want with different time-dependent digital content. A great example is having prescheduled Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Menus and switching from a social media feed at breakfast and lunch to an ESPN feed during the Dinner Menu schedule change.

5) Integrated WiFi Is A MUST!

Unless you are wanting to hire a local AV installer or you have a network administrator that can add your digital menu system to your local area network (LAN), you will absolutely want to look for a digital menu board system with Integrated WiFi. With this feature, you can push menu and content changes from your PC - REMOTELY - without having to run any wires! The WiFi feature on your digital menu board system is a lifesaver when you need to update your menus in real time. For example, say you ran out of the Daily Special and want to take it off the menu. You can go into the web-based digital menu software on your PC and substitute another dish in it's place and then 'push' the menu change to your digital menu system from anywhere in the world! 

6) Look For A No-Fuss Mounting System With Vertical AND Portrait Orientation

The beauty of spanning content on multi-screen digital menu board systems is displaying multi-screen spanning content. But to have seamless viewability across screens, you will want to ensure that you have a mounting system with preconfigured brackets to keep the menu boards aligned. You will also want a mounting system (either wall-mount or ceiling mount) that allows for at least 10 degrees of screen tilt.

7) Free 1x1 Training

When looking for digital menu boards for sale online, be sure that free 1x1 training is included in the price. Just like any electronic product, digital menu boards can get technical; therefore, leverage the knowledge of the sales team and technical support team to help you through the installation and setup process. All HootBooth® LumaVu Digital Signage products include two (2) hours of free 1x1 support via Zoom, Skype or Facetime as well as lifetime email, phone and knowledge-base support.

Want to Learn More? Check out our products online and chat or email with our sales team to learn more about HootBooth® LumaVu Digital Menu Boardproducts.