12 Tips for Setting Up a TV Menu Board
TV menu boards are a digital version of your restaurant’s menu displayed on a TV screen. In addition to your menu items, you can also display nutritional information, specials, promotions, social media posts, videos, animations, and other content to improve customer experience and draw more people into your restaurant, cafe, bar, coffee shop, or any other establishment that sells food and drinks.
Many proprietors are investing in TV screens and digital signage hardware and software because they realize how effective TV menu boards are for generating more profit for their business. However, just like any other aspect of your establishment, simply having a tv menu board that is not eye-catching, informative, or entertaining will likely not benefit your business nearly as much as if you have a TV menu board that is not lacking in these qualities.
In order to have a highly effective TV menu board, you will want to make sure that you set up the TV menu board the right way. This will involve getting the right digital signage solution or media player and putting in work to optimize the design of your TV menu board.
In this article, we will outline the basics of getting your TV menu display set up, and then we will provide you with some of the best tips for making your TV menu board as effective as possible.
The Basics of Setting Up Your TV Menu Board
Luckily, it is pretty easy for your restaurant to get a digital display system up and running. All you will need is a screen, a digital signage player that is compatible with the screen, and cords to connect these different parts.
Tip 1: Getting Started With Your Software
The type of digital signage player that you will need will depend upon the signage software that you use or the other way around. The digital signage software is the platform that you will use to design the content that displays on your TV menu board. Luckily, many companies that sell proprietary digital signage players also come with their own digital signage software. A good digital menu board software will typically come with digital menu board templates and content management capabilities that make creating a digital signage playlist or slideshow easy to implement and attractive to customers.
Tip 2: Acquire Your Hardware
Once you have decided on what software you want to use, you will then have to make sure that you have all of the necessary hardware. This will include the screen or screens, the digital signage player, and other items like mounting hardware and connection cables.
Most digital menu boards operate on smart TVs. Either LCD or LED screens will work; you just need to be sure that the screens you purchase have HDMI ports, as most digital sign players connect via HDMI. The number of screens you need will vary based on the size of your menu, what you want to display, and how much space you have. If you plan to install your screens outdoors, you’ll need to ensure they are graded for water and wind resistance.
Digital Signage Player:
These are small devices that play content on your screens. Many digital signage companies provide their own signage players. Often, the cost is factored into your monthly fee, or you’ll pay upfront, but some companies like loop will send you a digital signage player packed with great content completely free. This includes technical support in case you need any help getting your digital display menu up and running. With the loop player, you don’t have to worry about a warranty, large upfront costs, or monthly payments that add up. If you are skeptical about digital signage and want to try it with little to no risk or you are simply looking for a powerful digital signage solution, going with a company like loop can be a great option.
You’ll need to buy mounting gear to install your TVs, as well as compatible connecting cables. Depending on your layout and other cloud-based tools, you may also need internet signal boosters, routers, or wireless access points to ensure your digital signs never lose connectivity.
Tip 3: Mount Your Screen
With your hardware in hand, you’re ready to mount your screens to the wall. Before you grab your level and power drill, you need to find the ideal location for your screens. You want your digital menus to be visible in high-traffic areas where your customers can see them. This not only makes it easier for customers to see your menu items, but it can also reduce actual wait time and perceived wait time.
With your digital menu board, people can see what you offer and know what they are going to order before they come up to the cashier. This reduces wait time because it minimizes the amount of time a customer deliberates on what food to order. It can also reduce perceived wait time if you have interesting information and exciting graphics to keep your customers entertained while waiting in line.
Tip 4: Create Menus and Playlists
With your digital menu display, you are not only showing off your menu items. You should also be curating a playlist of content to keep your customers engaged. Like creating a playlist of songs for a friend, you should create your playlist of images, animations, pictures, etc. with the goal of providing an enjoyable visual experience for your customers.
Most digital signage platforms have a gallery of images and content widgets to help you create dynamic images, animation, or even videos to enliven your displays. Alternatively, if you have design experience or a designer working for you to create menus and other content for your digital menu, you can design your own menu.
Tips for Setting Up an Effective TV Menu Board
Now that we have covered the basics of getting your digital menu board set up, we now move on to some of the best tips for leveling up your digital menu board from adequate to exemplary!
Tip 5: Find the Display that Works Best
Just like choosing the tv that fits best in your home, you’ll want to find the display or screen that gives you the maximum ROI for your digital signage. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and find where they will be looking while standing in line.
Tip 6: Choose How You Want the Design of Your Digital Menu Board Done
There are generally two options for how you can create your digital menu board. The first is by using a professional designer to create the menu to your specifications. The second is by using pre-made templates that come with your menu board solution. Both have various benefits and cons so it’s important to find which one best fits your needs.
Tip 7: Choose Your Font Size, Style, Colors, and Background
When it comes to fonts, you’ll want to pick the size and type that will be easy to read from both up close and far away. The colors should match your branding and not be hard to read. The background should also complement the menu items to make them easier to see and more attractive.
Tip 8: Add Your Brand to the TV Menu Display
If you have an attractive design, be sure to add your brand to the display. This can help draw more customers into your restaurant and help customers recall where they shopped. While food is the most important part of a restaurant, aesthetics come in a close second. It's worth the money to invest in a highly attractive brand logo and to display that logo throughout your digital signage.
Tip 9: Invest In Good Images but Keep Them Grounded in Your Business
It is incredibly beneficial to have good images of your food. This goes for social media posts, website content, and most definitely your digital signage. This means that you don’t want to be using stock photos of the food that you make. The stock photo might look like a version of your dish but not like your version of the dish. You don’t want customers to order something based on an image on the screen and be disappointed or surprised by how the dish looks on their plate.
You also don’t want to display images that have nothing to do with your business's products or aesthetics. For example, if you are a coffee shop, you don’t want to show a picture of people eating steak or a landscape picture of a region that has nothing to do with the region where you get your coffee beans. Similarly, don’t post pictures of an Aerosmith concert if your restaurant hosts local bands.
A source of great pictures can come from social media. You can post pictures that people have posted of your food, or pictures of a post where the customer is talking about how they love your food. Customers like to know that there are people who love your food so much that they post it on social media.
Tip 10: Add Color!
You don’t want your menus to be just a digital version of a typical printed menu. Digital signage is your chance to develop a color scheme that fits in with the aesthetic of your business. By adding color, you will be sure to make your menu display more visually appealing in a way that most traditional restaurant menus cannot achieve.
Tip 11: Avoid Clutter
With all the capabilities of digital signage, it might be tempting to add all sorts of add-ons to your menu board design. But there is something to be said for moderation and clarity. Ordering food can already be overwhelming, so you don’t want to add to that. You want to design your board so that it is eye-catching, but also with the goal in mind of drawing your customer’s eyes to the menu items. There is no one way to create a successful digital menu board, and your style may range from minimalist to maximalist depending on the aesthetic and vibe of your restaurant. But clutter is clutter, and you just want to be sure to avoid that.
Tip 12: Screen Placement
In addition to having your screen facing customers, there are some further considerations to take into account when you are deciding where to place your screen. You want to make sure that your screen is near an electrical outlet. Your screen and sometimes your player too will need to be plugged into an outlet. That's why you are going to want to make sure that your screen is no more than 3-6 feet away from a wall outlet.
If you are using a cloud-based digital signage service, you will want to make sure that your screen is near good wifi reception. Since the content being displayed will likely have many pixels and will be large files, you will want to make sure that you don’t have to deal with bad internet connection, as this will disturb your customers and make your business not look as professional. If you don’t want to deal with wifi issues, then you can always go with an on-site digital signage solution.
You will want to make sure that your screens are away from light glare. There can be nothing more disheartening than creating a beautiful digital menu display only for your customers not to be able to see important information due to glare. Ways you can avoid glare is to not put your screen near light fixtures or windows. If this is not possible, as is probably the case for many restaurants, you can purchase anti-glare screens, moving light fixtures, and a TV mount that allows you to adjust its angle.
Time to Set Up Your TV Menu Board
TV menu boards can be incredibly beneficial for your restaurant. You just want to make sure that you go about the process in the right way. By following the tips that we have laid out in this article, you can be sure that you are on the right track to having a successful TV menu board.