Are Your Digital Menu Screens Getting the Job Done?


Digital menu screens have completely taken over the quick-service restaurant industry and for good reason. These intuitive displays enhance customer experiences, create operational efficiency for your business, and add futuristic flair to your locations. Yet, as quick-service restaurants increasingly embrace the digital revolution, it begs the question: Are your digital menu screens truly getting the job done? Beyond the allure of leveraging cutting-edge technology, establishments must evaluate the effectiveness of their digital menu boards in engaging customers, streamlining processes, and ultimately contributing to the financial success of the business. In this guide, we highlight what your business should be looking for in its digital menu screens to ensure that you have all the tools you need to effectively engage with your customers.

dynamic menu boards

Are Your Screens Leveraging Dynamic Population?

The ability of digital menu screens to populate with real-time data and information is perhaps their greatest strategic advantage over conventional signage. Gone are the days of printing, shipping, and hanging signage that is not easily editable (especially at scale), and inherently limits your ability to experiment with different promotional strategies. Any organization that is still reliant on traditional signage is missing a massive opportunity to better serve their customers.  

QSRs across the country are using dynamic signage to tailor their messaging toward who is in their store at any given moment. Here’s an example. Imagine your chain has a location near a school that brings in tons of students at the end of the school day. Wouldn’t it be great to have your menus automatically update when school lets out to promote the menu items that are most attractive to students? This dayparting ability is also incredibly useful when considering other factors such as weather, or time of day. On a blazing hot day, your business is not likely to sell many warm drinks, and on a cool day, you aren’t likely to sell as much ice cream. During the morning commute, you may want to highlight items such as coffee and your breakfast menu instead of heavier items more likely to be purchased (and probably only available) at lunch or dinner time. A customer pulling up to a drive-thru at 6 am should not be greeted by imagery of a hamburger. Digital menu screens that dynamically populate can account for unique situational variables and display the items that are most likely to drive more revenue at any given moment, ensuring your signage is consistently putting its best foot forward. 

This functionality is also particularly useful for highlighting promotions, bundles, and higher-margin offerings. Promotion of bundles and high-margin offerings should be a focal point of your signage strategy, and dynamic population ensures these offerings are given the spotlight they deserve, when they deserve it. In 2024, the capabilities of your signage should not limit your ability to experiment with promotions and messaging. If this is currently the case for your business, you should reconsider your signage strategy.  

Many organizations integrate their signage with their inventory tracking tool, providing the opportunity to remove any out-of-stock items from menu boards before customers have the chance to view the board and order. This gets out in front of the challenge and often mitigates the disappointment that can occur when an advertised item is not available for purchase at a given time. 

To achieve a successful rollout of dynamic data population that is either uniform across all of your locations or takes into account the individual differences of your stores, a cloud-based digital signage management system is critical. Your signage management solution should enable your business to adjust its menu displays with the push of a button, making managing signage at one location as easy as managing signage at 500 locations. If your business is in the market for a cloud-based signage management solution to help your business elevate its signage strategy, check out Carbon™, our industry-leading content management platform. Your signage content management system serves as the engine behind your organization’s entire signage strategy. It is important to have the best solution in your corner if you want the best results. 

digital menu screens

Is Your Signage Utilizing Interactivity?

More and more quick-service restaurants are turning towards interactive signage and self-service kiosks as an integral part of the customer journey. As of 2020, McDonald’s had rolled out self-service kiosks in all of their locations across the United States. Although these kiosks do cut back on labor expenses, the benefits go far beyond simple cost reduction. Self-service and interactive signage have been shown to improve the customer experience, and even increase average purchase size. Upon implementing self-service kiosks in their restaurants, BurgerFi found that average order sizes for orders placed through their kiosks were 18.5% higher than those placed at the register, and that three out of every four transactions came from a kiosk, instead of from the register. This tells us that not only do customers prefer to order at a kiosk as opposed to the register, but they are usually going to order more food as well. Additionally, customers associate self-service kiosks with a futuristic aesthetic, and the implementation of this unique signage can help position your brand as an innovative industry leader in the eyes of your customers. We encourage all businesses in the QSR space to investigate how their locations can incorporate interactivity into their customer experience. The payoff can be truly massive if done correctly.

Beyond interactive kiosks, there is room for other kinds of interactivity in your restaurants. If long wait times are a common issue in your locations, consider rolling out games like trivia on some of your digital menu screens to occupy the attention of your customers and keep them engaged while they wait. This can decrease perceived wait time, and in turn, drive a stronger customer experience.

digital menu board

Integration with Technology and Access to Analytics

Integrating your digital signage with your point-of-sale software is incredibly important for ensuring that your business can draw tangible connections between its ad creatives and revenue generation. Too many businesses run several ad campaigns at once but struggle to accurately measure the results of their efforts. The result? A disorganized, disjointed advertising initiative that will never reach its full potential.

Ensure your digital menu screens can robustly integrate with your point-of-sale software, giving your business access to the detailed analytics that it needs to evaluate performance. Perhaps the most important data you’ll want visibility into is proof-of-play data. This will tell your business that its creatives were seen a certain amount of times, and enable you to tie that data back to your sales revenue. With this connection complete, your business will be able to monitor which ad creatives are driving the most revenue and assess how your promotions are being received. This then presents the opportunity to adjust your creatives in a manner that maximizes revenue for your business and engage in data-based experimentation to drive future success and ensure only the most effective creatives are spotlighted. 

Is Your On-Screen Design Optimal?

Without great on-screen designs, you cannot expect your signage to perform up to your standards. Here are some best practices to ensure on-screen content design excellence. If you’d like to see more digital signage design ideas, check out our comprehensive guide on the subject!

  • Ensure that the text and images on your digital menus are clear and easy to read. Use legible fonts, appropriate font sizes, and high-resolution images.
  • Arrange menu items logically, and categorize them appropriately. Avoid clutter and make it easy for customers to navigate through the menu.
  • Leverage consistent branding and color schemes. This contributes to building your brand and ensures a professional, standardized design.

One common mistake that we see frequently: using too much motion. Motion should be a critical component of your on-screen signage presentation, but it should be used strategically. Your digital menu screens should leverage motion specifically to highlight high-margin sales, bundles, and combos. It is wise to avoid multiple aspects of your designs moving at the same time on multi-screen boards. Seek to establish a comfortable rhythm so that customers can focus on the value your signage is trying to convey. Too much movement on your signage can frustrate your customers and create a disjointed, cluttered viewing experience that is likely to be reflected in a lower purchase amount at the register.

If your business is struggling to master its use of motion, DEEL Media’s Carbon™ CMS can build timelines for content playback that account for the amount of motion across your boards to ensure a smooth viewing experience. Ensure that your menu board software is capable of doing the same to guarantee your customer’s viewing experience is as enjoyable as possible, and has the greatest potential to drive sales.

quick service menu board

Test, Test, and Test Some More

If your signage is managed from the cloud and is successfully integrated with your point-of-sale system, you have the green light to experiment with different messaging, visuals, and promotions. However, a few words of advice before you proceed.

It is incredibly important that your business does not fall into the trap of testing too many promotions at once, and gives your creatives some time to breathe. Testing too many ad creatives at once can make it hard to measure the impact of these creatives by lowering the amount of eyeballs each of your creatives is receiving.

Your business should aim for a minimum of three exposures of a creative to a particular customer before drawing any conclusions on its effectiveness. If you do not give your creatives the time they need to gather data and be seen several times by your customers, the results of your tests are not likely to reflect the true efficacy of your promotions.

Additionally, account for how long your customers are in your stores. If your creative is a 30-second video, consider how many times they’ll see that video during a visit, especially if it is spliced in with other creatives and not being shown for the duration of a visit. Without considering how much exposure your creatives are receiving, you cannot draw accurate conclusions on how they influence sales.

In the often fast-paced world of quick-service restaurants, your digital menu screens play an integral role in creating a favorable customer experience and generating more revenue. As businesses continue to navigate the digital revolution, assessing whether your screens are truly delivering on their promises is essential is essential. From taking advantage of dynamic population, to leveraging interactivity and integration with your point of sale technology, the right digital menu screens (paired with the infrastructure powering them) can provide a myriad of operational advantages for your business, while greatly improving the customer experience.

If your organization is not satisfied with its current solution and is looking to leap into the world of digital signage, you've come to the right place. At DEEL Media, we are a team of digital signage experts who provide end-to-end signage support and solutions. If your business has a digital signage problem, we have a solution, whether in the realm of hardware, software, on-screen content design, or high-level strategy. If you are interested in learning more about how we work with industry leaders to drive digital signage success, schedule some time to meet with our team, or give us a call at 770-619-1225.

Meet The Author


Bill Clapes


In the 1990’s Bill pioneered the use of Internet technologies in the restaurant industry and in 1996 was cited as “Innovator of the Year” by Internet Week Magazine. Co-founding DEEL in 2009 marked the culmination of years in film, television, audio visual, interactive, Internet and restaurant technologies experience. As President & CEO Bill currently leads DEEL’s blueprint for growth and strategic business partnerships.

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.