Digital Drive-Thru Menu Boards: Taking Your QSR to the Next-Level



In the world of quick-service restaurants (QSRs), businesses are constantly trying to revolutionize dining and provide their customers with the most seamless experience possible. In an era marked by digital transformation, QSRs must stay ahead of the curve not only by offering delectable food, but with an efficient, engaging, and convenient ordering process. Enter digital drive-thru menu boards, a game-changing advancement that can take your QSR to the next level, both in terms of customer experience and operations. Let’s learn more about digital drive-thru menu boards and how they can elevate your QSR to new heights.

digital drive-thru menu boards

Dynamic Content and Personalization

Let’s start with the most convenient aspect of digital signage. Digital drive-thru menu boards allow your restaurants to display dynamic content that can change based on factors like time of day, weather conditions, or customer preferences.

The ability to effectively day-part and seamlessly adjust your menu is critical to the success of your menu boards. Unlike the inside of your restaurant, your drive-thru may be open 24 hours a day. More often than not, someone coming through the drive-thru at 1 a.m. may only be looking for a late-night snack, not a full meal. Digital drive-thru menu boards allow your business to highlight menu items that may be attractive at a particular time of day without the store manager even having to think about it. Locations with traditional menu boards require manual adjustments to the boards whenever a change is needed. Digital menu boards enable your business to simply and effectively adjust its menus without lifting a finger. This not only creates a better experience for customers (as you are highlighting menu items of particular interest at that specific time) but also maximizes sales.

The ability to make real-time, strategic updates to your menus across hundreds of locations gives QSRs with robust digital signage a leg up over their competition.

A word of warning when selecting your signage partner: make sure you have a full understanding of their day-parting capabilities. If you have 10 distinct time frames of consumer behavior, you will want 10 distinct day-parts. This may sound like a lot, but consider your taste preferences and how they change throughout the day. Are your food desires the same at 5 a.m. as they are at 11 a.m.? How about at 1 p.m.? There are significant differences in what food items appeal to customers and when, and your QSR needs to account for these shifts in preference. Some digital signage providers may limit the number of day-parts you can have, or restrict your ability to edit your menus and move items around. When you invest in drive-thru menu boards, ensure your software partner doesn’t restrict your ability to day-part and make sure your content can dynamically populate your menus without a need to manually edit any imagery.

Enhanced Visuals and Multimedia

Simply put, people find digital signage more appealing than traditional print signage. High-definition displays and multimedia capabilities make your drive-thru menus more visually engaging. High-quality images and videos of menu items are extraordinarily effective at enticing customers and often lead to higher order values. In fact, digital signage can help to increase average purchase value by almost 30%. This is particularly applicable to the QSR space. Consider the effectiveness of a static image of a food item versus a moving image or professionally shot video. When you can see details of an item, like steam coming off a burger or a slice of pizza, you are more likely to purchase that particular item. Digital signage provides an opportunity to mix static imagery and motion in an intuitive, aesthetically pleasing way that favorably impacts purchase decisions and increases downstream sales.

In addition to delighting your customers, utilizing digital signage can have a tremendous impact on how your brand is perceived. When your business makes effective use of digital signage, it positions itself as an innovative industry leader and subconsciously creates a desire amongst customers to visit again. Think about it. Holding all else equal, would you rather visit a restaurant with eye-popping digital video displays showcasing their menu items, or a store littered with boring static imagery (or even worse, no product imagery at all)? Combine the aesthetic appeal of digital displays with the fact that digital signage reduces perceived wait times, and you have a recipe for repeat business and increased revenue.

If you are looking into installing drive-thru screens, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before you get started.

Screen Type: Your screens must be commercial-grade, high-brightness displays specifically designed for the outdoors. You don’t want your screens to overheat or melt, and they need to be extraordinarily bright to guarantee they can be seen in all conditions. What if your screens will be on the sunny side of your building? Folks may be wearing polarized sunglasses, and if you don’t take this into consideration when selecting your screens, your customers will be looking at a gray block instead of a stunning digital display.

Orientation: Most drive-thru menu boards are in portrait orientation, and for good reason. Portrait orientation enables you to fit more information in a more narrow field. Screens in landscape orientation are typically too wide to see out of a car window without some obstruction. Make sure you consider orientation and screen shape as it relates to your signage.

If you are curious about learning more about digital signage design best practices, from on-screen content design to in-store implementation, check out our recent comprehensive guide.

Ease of Management and Operational Improvements

A pivotal reason digital signage is so appealing is how much easier it is to manage than traditional signage. Say goodbye to the old “print, ship, hang” model restaurants relied on for years. Digital signage takes the onus off individual store managers to manually edit and replace signage and enables your business to adjust its signage on a wide scale without any intervention from your locations (and without any wasted materials). Your business can manage all signage from one centralized hub, and roll out edits and adjustments in real-time. This not only makes life easier for your store managers and reduces printing and distribution costs, but also provides opportunities for additional operational optimizations, especially when it comes to the ordering process and minimizing wait times.

QSRs have long been trying to figure out ways to minimize food waste and only cook what their customers are going to buy. Some titans of the industry have experimented with drive-thru license plate tracking technology that ties your license plate to your order, enabling the store to predict what you will purchase the next time your car rolls through the drive-thru lane. This allows the team inside to get a head-start on preparing your order. The ultimate goal of QSRs is to create a drive-thru experience that is so streamlined that you barely even need to stop your vehicle to get your food. After all, what restaurant doesn’t want faster service times?

So, how do your menu boards factor into this equation? When properly configured, digital drive-thru menu boards can help improve the speed of service and create a myriad of operational efficiencies for your business. First and foremost, by making items on the menu easier to spot and highlighting important offers, customers can make decisions faster, speeding up the ordering process and getting cars moving faster.

Your digital menu boards can also seamlessly integrate with your restaurant’s order management system to improve the efficiency of order processing. Orders placed through the digital menu board can be transmitted directly to the kitchen, reducing the potential for errors, and speeding up service. Customers also appreciate seeing their order pop up on a screen in front of them, providing them with the chance to correct any mistakes on their order and make any additions if needed.

Your menu boards and the system supporting them can also serve as an upselling opportunity. The system can ask customers if they want to add an item like a dessert or make something a meal, taking some responsibility off the person at the window.

Beyond improving the customer experience, digital drive-thru menu boards can completely reinvent your store operations and maximize productivity.

Data Analytics For Informed Decision-Making

As much as 75% of QSR business comes through the drive-thru and is growing. If that much of your business is being driven by one specific customer journey, you need to be certain that you understand every nook and cranny of how that customer journey operates. Digital signage provides you with a unique opportunity to measure this journey and make strategic improvements where needed.

Digital drive-thru menu boards can collect data on customer preferences, ordering patterns, and peak traffic hours. This data can inform your business decisions as it relates to menu optimization, pricing strategies, and staffing decisions, helping your restaurants operate more efficiently and profitably.

The more data your business has access to, the better. Every business should strive to make decisions that are backed by real, reliable data. An excellent way to drive more data-driven decisions is by using your drive-thru menu boards as an opportunity for your customers to “opt-in” via a QR code or your mobile app. This enables your business to “tag” customers and access critical data like how often they order, what they order, and what time of day they visit the store. This creates an opportunity for predictive cooking and overall streamlining of operations, in addition to creating a smoother experience for customers.

Part of the beauty of digital signage is how easy it is to test out different approaches and reliably monitor the results. For example, if you are curious how different styles of menus perform versus your current menu, you can (with the click of a button) swap out your menus, and then monitor the results in terms of revenue, orders of particular items, and more. Continuous testing provides your business with the opportunity to gather massive amounts of useful data on what designs your customers are most receptive to. Rolling out optimal designs across all of your locations can have a massive impact on your organization’s financial performance if you have many locations.


The wide-scale adoption of digital drive-thru menu boards represents a pivotal moment for the quick-service restaurant industry. Menu boards are more than just digital displays; they are transformative tools that can elevate your QSR.

Dynamic content and personalization give your business the ability to cater to customer preferences in real-time, ensuring that your menu remains relevant and appealing throughout the day. Enhanced visuals and multimedia opportunities captivate customers' attention, making your offerings more enticing while simultaneously building your brand. Ease of management and operational enhancements help your business streamline its processes, reduce wait times, and enhance the overall customer experience.

Furthermore, digital menu boards provide valuable insights into customer behavior, helping you make informed decisions about menu offerings, pricing strategies, and staffing. By harnessing the power of digital drive-thru menu boards, your QSR can exceed customer expectations while optimizing operational efficiency.

In an era of digital transformation, embracing digital menu boards is a necessary step forward for QSRs. By adopting this technology, your QSR can stay ahead of the competition, delight customers, and drive growth, ultimately taking your quick-service restaurant to the next level of success. So, why wait? Embrace the future.

If your business is ready to get started with digital menu boards for its drive-thru lanes, we’d be glad to help. DEEL Media has helped some of the most prominent names in the industry reinvent their signage strategies. From software, to hardware, to content creation, to installation, we are a true one-stop-shop for all of your digital signage needs. We operate as your strategic partner throughout the entire signage process, ensuring all of your needs are met and all of your questions are answered. Like what you hear? Schedule time to meet with our team to discuss your signage venture in more detail!

What is Digital Signage, And How is it Different From Regular Signage?

What is Digital Signage, And How is it Different From Regular Signage?

In technical terms, digital signage refers to the use of digital displays or screens to present information, advertisements, or other forms of content. It involves the use of technologies such as LCD, LED, or projection screens to display multimedia content, including images, videos, text, and interactive elements. Simply put, it is a more engaging way to display messages than traditional signage. 

You can find digital signage everywhere, from retail stores, to airports, to hotels, to restaurants, to schools. It serves as a dynamic and flexible communication tool that allows businesses and organizations to deliver targeted messages to their audience.

The first key difference between digital signage and run-of-the-mill signage is the ability to display crystal-clear, dynamic content. This can completely transform the experience of a shopper, visitor, or whoever is viewing your signage. The bright display is hard to ignore, especially when it is in video format. Digital signage is simply more effective at attracting attention than conventional signage. Think about your personal experiences. Which menu board do you think commands more attention, a chalkboard with the day’s specials, or a visual display with bright colors and real, moving imagery showcasing one of the day’s specials?

Beyond higher engagement, another major difference between digital signage and traditional signage is the flexibility provided by digital signage. Rather than taking down your signage every time you want to communicate a new message or make an edit, digital signage enables you to store all of your content in one centralized location, and make changes to display with the push of a button. This makes life considerably easier for any organization that runs promotions or is frequently making tweaks to its offerings.