If you’ve ever been to a fast-food chain and takeaway outlets, you might be familiar with the flat-screen menu inside or outside the store. These are called digital menu boards, a type of menu designed to streamline the order process by allowing you to see the menu items clearly.  

Despite their benefits, not every store has a digital menu board. This is mainly because these digital menus are relatively costly, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).  

Is it then safe to assume that digital menu boards for takeaway outlets, or any other store, aren’t worth their cost? Actually, no; they can be a good investment, as they offer many other benefits apart from being eye-candy. In particular, digital menu boards are known to improve customer engagement, a key performance indicator that you must be familiar with.  

A brief overview of customer engagement  

As the name implies, customer engagement refers to how “engaged” a customer is to your establishment. Naturally, you’d want your customers to feel as engaged as possible. (1)  

Any strategy to improve customer engagement is essentially a strategy to foster positive relationships with customers. This positive relationship will then bring many other benefits. For one, it boosts customer loyalty, meaning your customers are more likely to seek more of your business’s products and services. It also means they’re less likely to buy from your competitors. (1) 

Improving customer engagement is not easy, but a digital menu board does several things that makes this goal easier to achieve. 

1) It solves one of the most common issues of customers  

The menus found in stores like takeaway outlets are relatively small. If the menu exists solely at the top of the counter, a customer must get to the front of the line to decide on their order. 

Unless your customers have memorized the menu, this could result in delays, as each customer will likely spend a few minutes finding out what’s available before deciding on an option. A digital menu board solves this problem by simply having larger fonts than regular menus. Because the menu is more readable from further away, customers can decide on their order before getting in line, saving everyone a considerable amount of time. (1)  

So, what does this have to do with customer engagement?  

One of the best ways to improve customer engagement is to address their complaints. It creates a sense of engagement among customers as it shows that you listen to their requests and complaints and take time to come up with solutions accordingly. (2)  

As you may have guessed, the aforementioned issue involving delays in orders is one particular complaint that many customers have against establishments with inconvenient menus. By solving this issue, you can show your sincerity, thereby improving customer engagement.  

2) Digital menu boards keep your customers up-to-date 

Keeping customers up-to-date with the recent updates and changes to your business is yet another way to boost customer engagement. That’s why many establishments create their own social media pages on the internet where they post updates on their business for their audience to see. (1)  

That’s just one way to keep customers up-to-date. Digital menu boards can achieve the same result, though on a much smaller scale than social media platforms.  

Digital menu boards are very much like televisions in that you can change their content with a remote. You can use the remote to display updates on your offerings through the menu board. For example, if you recently came up with a new burger recipe, you can inform your customers by showing a poster of it on the board. 

Granted, there are much cheaper ways to do this, such as through brochures and posters. However, keeping customers up-to-date is just one way to use this feature of digital menu boards.  

3) Digital menu boards can become a source of entertainment  

As stated earlier, a digital menu board is essentially a television. Not just because you can control its contents but also because it can display all kinds of graphics, not just static images. In other words, you can use the menu board as a source of entertainment for waiting customers. (2)  

For instance, you can create an ad video you’ve made for a particular product and display it through the screen. Since customers now have something to look at, they’ll spend less time thinking about the potentially long wait time and more on enjoying their time.  

4) Digital menu boards can stimulate a customer’s appetite  

Apart from being a source of entertainment, digital menu boards can also stimulate the appetite of your customers. According to this study, pictures of food can create feelings of hunger. (3)  

While some may argue that you can do the same with brochures, that’s not necessarily always the case. After all, ink naturally fades, so the pictures would eventually become unappetizing or unenticing. Digital images, however, do not, so it remains effective regardless of time. In short, digital menu boards can keep your customers engaged by maintaining their motivation to eat.  

5) You can use digital menu boards to display all kinds of information  

Customers also feel a sense of engagement when they know more information about your business offerings than they do with other establishments. If you’re transparent about your ingredients, for example, people would be more comfortable buying your products or services. This is particularly true for vegans, as they’re highly dependent on ingredient lists to determine which product is vegan.  

As luck would have it, this is yet another area that you can tackle using digital menu boards.   

Suppose you need to disclose the ingredients list and nutritional information of your products. Normally, you’d create a page on your official website and display it there. (2)  

With a digital menu board, you can very easily and quickly display those kinds of information via its screen. You can also add information such as calories, allergy information, and other facts. Regardless, all these will point to your business as a transparent and reputable establishment. (2)  

Closing thoughts  

There’s no denying that digital menu boards are a costly investment. However, this piece of advertising technology offers so much versatility and convenience that many business owners consider it worth the cost. Choosing the right content to show your customers using digital menu boards is the secret to getting the most value out of them. 

References: 

  1. “What is Customer Engagement? Definition, Benefits, and Strategies for Success”, Source: https://www.outreach.io/blog/what-is-customer-engagement 
  1. “Digital Menu Boards: Top 6 Benefits”, Source: https://www.visix.com/resources/blog/digital-menu-boards-top-6-benefits/ 
  1. “Pictures of food create feelings of hunger”, Source: https://www.mpg.de/4990409/regulation_eating_behaviour