From coffee shops and food trucks to dine-in restaurants, menu boards play a major role in driving sales in the food industry. The use of traditional static, printed menu boards is quickly fading out, and businesses are going digital in more ways than ever thought possible.
A digital menu can be one of the most valuable investments for restaurants but only if its functionality is optimized. With various options for design and features, digital signs have become the go-to option for sign board advertising.
In order to make sure that an investment in a digital menu does not go to waste, businesses need to adopt effective digital board strategies that are proven to increase revenue. Here are 5 of the best ways fast-casual restaurants can make the most out of digital menus.
1. With Design, Less is More
Although digital menus allow for creative designs and added features to capture the attention of customers, having too many features will have the opposite effect. It is important to ensure the menu design is simple and easy to read. A digital menu should not distract the customer from the actual food items or confuse them with several items on display.
A simple menu design does not have to be boring, but when it comes to text, it is better to use legible fonts over fancy fonts. Similarly, images and animations need not be overboard. The digital menu still needs to maintain its core purpose, which is to promote the food options on offer.
Keeping the design minimalistic will help ensure customers get the right information they need about the available food, rather than prolong their decision-making process as customers simply want quick service. Both in the short and long term, this has a significant effect on customers returning to food restaurants.
One of the greatest benefits of digital menu boards is that they provide flexibility. Restaurant owners do not have to be constrained to the same menu content and can easily change their marketing campaign just by uploading new content on the digital menu.
A great way to stand out from the competition is to change promotional strategies in accordance with customer preferences. It is important to test what works and what doesn't. If customers order more of a particular food item when it is placed at the top of the menu, it would be wise to try out a center focus of that item on the menu to draw more attention.
Furthermore, fast food restaurants often have peak hours which is when most customers troop in. Hence, menu boards digital can showcase particular food items at particular times based on real-time data. If a certain food combo has run out, it can quickly be removed from the menu items on display. If a new food item is going ignored, a pop-up can be created to draw interest.
In essence, digital menu boards help with experimenting and offer much greater options for businesses to take advantage of. With experiments, restaurants are able to implement promotional strategies that work. This way, sales can be optimized rather than left to chance.
3. Use Digital Functionality Strategically
Advertising campaigns keep improving with time, and just like social media advertising, the use of movement and animations has been shown to draw more attention than static images or just text, thus increasing engagement. Treating a digital menu like a chalk board menu will simply send investments in digitalization down the drain.
From text formatting and image slides to animation and video features, a digital menu board offers various functions. In terms of benefits, digital signage can increase customer engagement and retention far more than traditional solutions can as is common with software solutions. Thus, restaurants should use moving images and text to draw and retain customer attention.
4. Include Decoy Food Items
Understanding customer psychology is a competitive advantage for any business and a great way to improve customer experience. With a food service business, it is necessary to know the thought-process of customers before a food choice is made. The use of decoy items has a significant impact on customer perception of food value and even their desire for a particular food item.
In this context, a decoy food item is simply a more expensive or less purchased food item. Adding or highlighting the decoy food item on the same menu with more affordable food items has the effect of making customers desire the seemingly cheaper items. This increases the sales of the lower-cost items, which turn out to be the items the restaurant or food truck is actually trying to sell more of.
This decoy strategy is used in advertising campaigns in general, and is even more effective in increasing fast food sales.
An effective way to keep customers coming back is to update menu options and ensure the menu is organized in a way that enables them make food choices as quickly as possible. The fast food business requires less complicated menu options, so digital menus can be organized according to promotional food items and the usual food items offered every day. This way, digital menu boards help to direct customer focus appropriately.
Most restaurants have one or two main food items that attract the highest sales so these should be given center focus on the restaurant menu. Also, combo meals help speed up the customers' decision-making process and reduce wait time, while subliminally adding more items to their purchase for breakfast, lunch or dinner as the case may be. Ultimately, a well-organized digital menu is a win for sales.
Investing in a digital menu board alone is not enough for businesses to see increased returns; the key to greater profitability lies in implementing effective strategies that can only work with digital menus.