What are Digital Menu Boards and How Do You Make Them?

Are you looking for a way to give your restaurant a sleek and inexpensive upgrade? Digital menu board software is increasingly replacing printed menu displays in cafes, hotels, and other businesses worldwide. A digital menu is eco-friendly, pays for itself (especially if you alter your menu frequently), and offers a modern feel to your establishment. And believe it or not, they’re easy to make yourself.

Researchers say paper is the best eco-friendly option when the specific piece of paper will be read more than three times. However, if it’s meant to be read just once and tossed, or it will change so often that it will go out of date quickly, a digital version is best.

For many restaurants, that means digital menus are a good investment. Consumers don’t have to touch grimy papers held by others, and owners can change the contents multiple times without wasting money.

What are Digital Menu Boards?

A digital menu board is an electronic representation of your menu displayed on a screen and acts as a versatile tool that enables you to make menu updates quickly and interact with your consumers digitally. These digital boards showcase your menu to consumers as they wait in line, listing everything from beverages to add-ons. Customers approach the register knowing precisely what they want to order, cutting down on wait time.

Benefits of Digital Menu Boards

customers purchasing a slice of cake

There are several benefits to switching over to electronic menu boards:

  • It's easy to use a digital menu board

Your digital menu board allows you to utilize templated menus. You can be confident that it will always appear professional and up to date! You want your digital menu to reflect the quality of your food as well as your company’s aesthetic, and having a professional-looking design is a beautiful way to accomplish that.

  • Keep the line moving with a digital menu board

According to studies from Civic Science, 84% of customers read a restaurant’s menu online at least sometimes before they go out to eat. But what about those who don’t? They’ll need to learn about your food when they arrive. Digital menu boards can make it easy for them to get the information they need instead of looking around for a paper version.

  • Customers are kept up to date via a digital menu board

No one wants to choose the meal to satisfy their craving only to discover that the menu has been altered without their knowledge. It may spoil a diner's experience, whether it's mistakenly handing out an old printed menu or failing to erase part of a blackboard setup.

  • Customers can easily read a digital menu board

Your menu is amplified by a digital menu display, projecting it on a screen in a clear and orderly manner. Even when your venue is full, this makes the menu simpler to read and, as a result, more manageable for customers.

  • Customers seem to like them

According to industry research, 91% of customers asked about digital menus say the displays significantly influenced their purchasing decisions. The things they read while they were waiting helped them to make better decisions about their meals.

What Are the Drawbacks of Digital Menus?

Digital menus are new and flashy, but they’re not right for everyone. In fact, some major drawbacks exist that could keep you with the tried-and-true paper model.

First, know that digital menus can be expensive. The average screen can cost $1,000, and you’ll then need to pay for installation, media players, and software. If you’re running on a tight budget, these fancy screens could be out of reach.

Researchers also say that customers tend to like digital displays best when the food is unfamiliar to them. If customers already understand the menu because they’ve eaten at the restaurant before, they’re less likely to enjoy the experience of a digital screen.

Finally, digital menus require updates. You can’t set up a menu and forget it. Just as you did with your paper menus, you must update the dishes you offer based on availability, and you must alter the prices too. Customers won’t trust your signs if the data you show isn’t accurate when they place their orders.

Using a Digital Menu Display in Your Restaurant

people talking together at a coffee shop

It's pretty simple to make digital restaurant menu boards, and they allow you to easily experiment with different menu items, pricing, and aesthetics for your clients.

Creating the Menu

First, you need imaging software and preferably one that uses vectors. Software such as Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, and Affinity Designer can produce amazing visuals. However, alternatives such as Canva and Google Slides will work. Second, you'll need a digital display with digital signage software to display your menu. You can even take it a step further and incorporate a video menu board. Adding a video element to your screens is a wonderful way to draw attention.

Step 1: Make a new project

Create a new project using the standard resolution of 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels or 1080 pixels by 1920 pixels with snapping (a function that automatically aligns graphic elements) enabled.

Step 2: Set up the workspace and add graphics

Start by creating a backdrop color that complements your brand. To improve the appearance and feel of your board, you'll want to include your logo and images that pertain to your business. Make sure there's a sufficient border between the menu's edge and the actual menu items. Without this negative space, everything will appear cluttered.

Step 3: Select the typography

To blend in with the overall style and feel, the best digital menu boards will keep to your brand standards. However, the font size and how the headlines stand out against the text will be important considerations. Large size sans-serif fonts are the best option for digital menu boards for restaurants, because they allow your customers to quickly scan your content (even from a distance). If your design already has color, avoid using numerous typefaces or fonts in strong, gaudy hues. A clear style will guarantee that prices and menu items can be read and understood.

Step 4: Menu dividers and sections

If you have a diverse menu, keep your items divided into sections. Create a pair of section dividers with snapping turned on.

Step 5: Create a menu

You can now add the menu item text to the framework. The text should have a hierarchy with essential information: the most important information should be larger and bolded, while the least important content should be smaller and less prevalent.

Step 6: Export and upload your work

Your menu is all set to go! It's as simple as exporting it from the program and uploading it to your displays. Remember to save your file so you can easily edit your menu later.

Displaying the Menu: Software Necessities

Content management software is another name for digital signage software (CMS). The CMS is the digital signage solution's command center. It gives you the ability to develop the material, upload it, and then arrange and deploy it on digital displays. The software is primarily cloud-based, and you may access it from a computer. You can successfully employ remote content management to conduct your operations thanks to this attribute.

Changing Your Menu

A main benefit of digital menu boards involves flexibility. You can change your offerings, or the price of your items, quickly and seamlessly. For many restaurant owners, that’s crucial.

The National Restaurant Association said supply chain issues remained a significant problem for restaurant owners in 2022. In a survey conducted by the association, 96% admitted to some type of delay or shortage of key food or beverage items. Because of those shortages, many restaurants have been forced to alter their menus regularly.

A digital display could allow you to pull items when your expected supplies don’t come in on time. You could change your prices to reflect supply chain issues.

You could also change your menu and showcase seasonal items (like holiday drinks or summer salads). And if you have an item you absolutely must sell today, you could pop it to the top of every menu to show it to your buyers.

How Pandora CloudCover Can Improve Your Business

If you're contemplating digital menu boards as part of your new marketing strategy, you might be giving your whole restaurant an upgrade. Determining the right music for your restaurant is part of this. 

Pandora CloudCover is a fantastic option with several plans to choose from and an easy-to-use user interface. If you're looking for music for your business, contact us and sign up for a 14-day free trial. Terms and conditions apply.


Is Digital More Environmentally Friendly Than Paper? (October 2020). Except.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About People Who Read the Menu Before Eating Out. (August 2021). Civic Science.

How Digital Menu Boards Captivate Customers. (November 2023). Restaurant365.

Are Digital Menus Really Better than Traditional Menus? The Mediating Role of Consumption Visions and Menu Enjoyment. (May 2020). Journal of Interactive Marketing.

Supply Chain Shortages Still Affecting Industry. (January 2022). National Restaurant Association.


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