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You own a fast-casual restaurant and are thinking about installing digital menu boards (DMBs) and promotional digital signs. Or you already have digital signs, but want them to be more effective.Your first thought might be that new or improved technology is the answer. But the truth is, it’s all about content. Following are our five top tips for developing content for your digital signage program – an investment that can boost your business and improve your profitability.

Your first thought might be that new or improved technology is the answer. But the truth is, it’s all about content. Following are our five top tips for developing content for your digital signage program – an investment that can boost your business and improve your profitability.

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1. Think fresh! Don’t clone your static menu board.

The purpose of digital menu boards is simple: help customers choose what they want to eat and promote menu items and specials. But often we see companies use their static menu boards as a starting point in design of their digital replacement. Because static signage was designed to be, well, static, applying the same design to your DMBs will result in a static digital sign – which isn’t really worth the investment.

Taking advantage of your video assets, leveraging motion and incorporating dynamic playlists adds depth and interest in your menu boards that aren’t possible otherwise. Digital menu boards allow you to feature menu items and limited time offers in a whole new way. So take advantage of all that digital has to offer… just don’t go overboard.

2. Be dynamic, but not distracting. Too much motion can be counterproductive.

There is definitely a balance between static and dynamic in a digital menu board environment. If content moves too quickly or if menu items change, you’re not only challenging your customers, you’re also frustrating them. When you’re developing your content strategy, start with the purpose. Digital menu board content is informational. Yes, you can and should incorporate motion and video, but keep in mind that less is more. According to a 2013 DigitalSignageToday.com report on the ROI of DMBs, too much action actually has a negative impact on sales.

Which brings us to a related point:

3. Practicality wins. Digital menu boards need to help people make decisions.

First and foremost, if you want to make it easy for people to order, your menu must be easy to read. This imperative dictates the design of your content. Consider the placement of the menu in relation to where people stand in line. This guides the choice of font size, font color and screen placement. Menu items should be adequately spaced. Putting menus up too high, trying to cram everything on a single display or making the font too small is going to result in a bad customer experience—and they haven’t even eaten.

And another related point:

4. Promotional boards play nicely with regular menu boards.

As a marketer, you want to make sure people can read and absorb your regular menu. You also want to focus their attention on limited time offers. Those two needs can be at odds with each other if you’re showing too much promotional content on your menu boards.

The solution? Separate menu boards from promotional boards. Remember: menu boards should inform, promotional boards should promote. Promotional boards are often used in-line with menu boards, but best practice shows they’re better served earlier in the queue line. This allows you to promote the latest and greatest creations before customers are ready to look at the menu.

Finally:

5. Revenue is king. High-margin items deserve more attention.

When developing content for your promotional boards, items that can improve sales and profitability should be at the top of your list.

This last item may be particularly important when considering the ROI of a fast-casual digital signage program. DMBs can increase sales between 3 percent and 5 percent in a given location, according to the DigitalSignageToday.com report. However, sales uplift on promotional items is even greater, with increases of 20 percent or more possible. And promotional items mentioned in the report often were high-margin or upsold products.

So while the investment in DMBs and other digital signage does drop to the bottom line, the way restaurants use promotional boards may make a greater difference in those results – all the more reason to carefully consider content when you develop your digital signage.

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