how to: Overcome the Challenges of Menu Board Replacement

Aug 16, 2012 | Articles

digital menu boardsWith menu labeling laws coming to the forefront, and digital technology becoming the next "must-have," finding ways to replace your existing menu boards has become a top priority in the restaurant world.Trying to find a solution that meets all your needs, and won’t break your budget, can be frustrating. Here are some tips and suggestions to overcoming the challenges of replacing your existing menu boards. 

I have a limited budget.

If your cash well doesn’t run that deep, you still have a lot of options.RETROFIT: Not only are there affordable menu board options on the market, butthere are also alternatives to consider…like NOT getting rid of your current boards. Sounds odd, but by keeping the framework/structure of your old boards you can retrofit new panels right on top. Retrofitting new menu board panels over existing menu boards is becoming a new trend in the QSR market; Cousin’s Subs, out of the Midwest, just completed a successful “facelift” of their current menu boards by covering them with new magnetic panels. No construction, very little downtime, and….VOILÀ – a completely new menu board system. AND, if you choose a magnetic menu board option that offers a strip system or lift-up lens for your retrofit, updating menu items and promotions will be even faster and easier. And keep in mind when planning your retrofit that there are menu board options that can be tailored to look custom, but at a stock price.GO DIGITAL: Digital options don’t have to be expensive or overly complicated. Believe it or not, there are budget-friendly digital menu boards that allow you to easily manage information, schedule day-parting and update promotions and LTOs. This digital menu board technology also comes with professionally designed templates, to match your look and brand, and a custom portal where you can easily access and update content from any computer or iPad. You can even buy your own hardware, so you aren’t stuck purchasing an over-priced screen that has been “bundled” with a digital package (so you can be sure to get a screen that fits your budget).

I need to do this FAST.

While retrofitting your existing menu boards is a quick option, completely changing out your menu system doesn’t have to take eons either.Want a custom menu board system, but need it yesterday? First, choose a company with relevant experience, and lots of it. Solid experience not only ensures they know what they’re doing, but they have also probably encountered anything and everything that could go wrong, and know what to do to either prevent or correct it, so you don’t lose time.You also want to choose a company that not only has solid fabrication experience, but design expertise as well – a “single-source” supplier. Companies that can approach the project from both a design and build standpoint offer a more consultative approach. Not only can they physically build themenu board heat mapping boards, but they can also use their design experience to help you optimize the layout, ensuring that your customers are focusing on the hottest selling menu items and specials. There is even one company that uses the latest technology in heat mapping to determine where a customer’s attention goes when looking at the current menu design, so they can fully optimize your new design for maximum sales.In addition to menu optimization and design, choosing a single-source menu provider will not only save you money, it will also save you time – communications are streamlined, the “big picture” is maximized and centralized so everyone truly understands your overall objectives, and a consolidated design/production allows for a quick and seamless rollout.And if you are really pressed for time, you can also purchase stock menu boards (order right on the internet) and have them delivered to your location in no time at all.

I need design, fabrication AND installation.

As mentioned earlier, a single-source supplier is the best option. You will have an experienced team dedicated to your entire project, not just the design. AND not only will your objectives be centralized, but knowing that the same team designing your menu boards will also be manufacturing them means that value-engineering can be maximized to produce the optimal result. A single-source supplier will also have relationships with installation teams across the country to ensure a fast and seamless rollout. Not to mention that having all your resources in one place can help you cut costs too.

I don’t know what I need.

Not sure whether to retrofit or replace?  Trying to decide if digital makes sense for your establishment? Can’t decide between custom menu boards or stock pieces?You can try to shop around and compare pricing/options on the internet, but choosing a trusted company with a wealth of experience and a breadth of product options will be a lot faster. Their experience allows them to assess your current menu boards and budget, along with your future goals (e.g. increase sales, better establish brand identity, ramp-up promotions), and guide you to the best solution for you – NOT just what has worked for everyone else. You save hours of frustration and indecision and let the trusted experts do their job – and they, in turn, help you do yours.
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