Thanks to the availability of less expensive LED screens, more and more businesses are turning to video panels for branding and advertising. This is especially true in the restaurant business, where employees can update menus to show the special of the week with just a few clicks.
Unfortunately, many restaurants don’t have the extra cash to hire a graphic designer, and it shows. But don’t worry. With a few simple tips, you can have a professional-looking digital menu board that your customers will love.
1. Use a Large Font
The last thing you want to see is a customer squinting at your menu. That’s why it’s important to use a large font size for your menu items and their prices. So here’s a good guideline: Take 20 steps back from your menu screen. Can you still read it? If not, it’s time to redesign.
Depending on the scope of your menu, you may not be able to fit everything on one screen with large font size. That’s okay. It’s better to use a slideshow function or an additional monitor than to have an illegible menu.
2. Make Sure Your Font is Clear
Fancy or ornate fonts are fine for logos, but the only concern you should have for your menu font is readability. Choose a simple lettering style that customers can read from the back of the line.
Some good fonts for legibility are Arial, Helvetica, Futura, Garamond, Myriad, and Veranda. If those fonts aren’t available to you, try doing a search so you can see what they look like. Then pick the closest match you have.
3. Keep Your Style Consistent
Your digital display may come with some nice templates that you can fill in, but don’t be tempted too easily. Unless you’re able to change the font, font size, colors, and drop in your logo, that template will always look odd in your restaurant.
Consistent branding is crucial for maintaining a professional appearance. Don’t put up a menu that doesn’t match your aesthetic. It’s better to do without the bells and whistles of a fancy template if it means staying true to your brand.
4. Don’t Crowd the Screen
Beginner designers love to fill up every inch of screen real estate with text, pictures, and icons. It might feel wrong to leave blank space on your menu, but in reality, you’re doing your customers a huge favor. Blank space (or negative space) allows for easier reading and understanding of your menu.
Think of the blank space as a type of punctuation. If you crowd your screen with content, you’re just creating a run-on sentence that your reader will never figure out. Instead, keep things clean and simple by giving your elements space.
5. Use Animation for Transitions
It can be very tempting to add lots of animations and videos to your digital menu board. After all, what’s the point of having your menu on a screen if nothing’s going to move? A better question might be, “What’s the point of posting a menu if you’re not going to let anyone read it?”
The best place to use animation with menu boards is in the transition between screens. That way, you get the benefits of eye-catching motion without forcing your customers to wait for a video to stop playing so they can get back to browsing your menu.
6. Only Use High-Quality Photos
Pictures can be an excellent addition to your digital menu board. They help break up the text, illustrate key menu items, and get your viewers even hungrier. However, you should never use an image that isn’t great.
If your pics are grainy or blocky from too much zooming, they’re not going to look good on your menu. People will start to associate low-quality pictures with low-quality food. If all you have are lousy shots, take some new ones! We recommend getting in very close and shooting from table level.
7. Don’t Spell It All Out for Them
With all of these tips telling you to use large fonts and leave white space on your menu, you might be wondering how many screens you’ll need to fit everything. This might be a good time to reconsider your descriptions. Some items, like a cheeseburger, might not need any description at all. And sometimes, you can make more money by leaving your readers puzzled.
Picture a menu with a sandwich called “The Branding Iron.” Below the name, the description reads only, “Fire and Brimstone on a Bun.” This is probably a specialty of the house, and it probably has a ton of ingredients that go into making it unique. So why don’t you tell them about it? When you create a little bit of intrigue, customers will ask about that item. If they’re talking about it, they’re more likely to order it.
Ready for Your Own Digital Menu Board?
If all this talk of digital menu boards has whetted your appetite, get in touch with National Signs today. We can help you bring your customer experience to the next level.