The Future of Dining: Benefits of Restaurant Digital Menus

Some of the business trends of 2020 died out shortly after establishments reopened, others are here to stay. One of these trends in the restaurant industry seems to be the use of digital menus.

Digital menus are showing up in every kind of restaurant from coffee shops to fast food to bars to fancy dine-in restaurants. Not unlike newspaper and paper advertisements, it seems that printed menus are becoming a thing of the past.

Digital menus are convenient, eye-catching, cost-effective, increase customer satisfaction, and are cleaner than print menus.

Let’s explore the perks of changing over your business's paper menus to digital menus.

What Is A Digital Menu?

A digital menu is a digital version of your restaurant’s traditional menu that customers access either through the cloud, an app, or from a kiosk.

These menus are updated automatically based on promotions, availability, and time of day.

Types of Digital Menus

The digitalization of the menu was probably inevitable. Digitalization of many previously paper-based forms of communication has been on a steady rise for the past decade.

The convenience of this change has become popular even years after the pandemic. For restaurant owners, there are a few ways you can add digital menus to your business.

1. Digital Menu Boards

A digital menu board is a form of digital signage with a digital display of menu items in real time. These are usually seen in fast food restaurants. 74% of these quick-service restaurants said that an easy-to-read menu board was at the top of their priority list.

This digital signage is typically displayed in plain view so customers can peruse the menu as they wait in line inside the establishment or in drive-thru lines. This increases the customer experience. They can think about what they want to order as they wait in line, streamlining the process.

The types of menu boards used in restaurants can range from a static menu board with a digital screen listing menu items with some graphics beside them to more complex digital signs with animations and videos.

The benefits of digital menu boards are evident in how popular they have become in recent years. They are becoming ubiquitous in the restaurant industry.

2. Kiosk Menus

Kiosk-based restaurant menus are stand-alone kiosks where customers can look through the menu display and order their selections without interacting with anyone. There are also table-top kiosks where customers can order their food and pay for them without the need for a server.

These kiosks give a restaurant the freedom to serve a large number of customers quickly, and they save time. It also allows customers to look through the menu at their own pace and both order and pay for items all in one place.

Self-service kiosks are incredibly popular. They are one of the fastest growing markets. The self-service kiosk market is projected to reach 21.42 billion US dollars by 2027.

3. QR Codes Menus

A QR code menu is another option that restaurants can use for their digital menu. A customer uses their smartphone camera at their table to scan the QR code. This sends them to a cloud-based version of your menu.

Alternatively, your patrons can enter the URL for your menu into a browser. Then, they can see all of the items you offer. QR code menus were popularized due to the need for businesses to figure out ways to offer ways for customers to come to their business in a cleaner environment during the COVID pandemic.

Since then, QR code menus have already advanced. Originally, many of these menus were simply .pdfs uploaded to for customers to browse through. This was a bit laborious to scroll through and frustrated many customers.

Yet, now, these QR menus are rather interactive. Some of these menus show customizations, ways to order straight from the table, features for paying from your smartphone, displaying the menu in different languages, and even toggling between mealtime menus.

4. App Ordering

Other businesses have turned their apps into another way to provide digital menus to their customers. They have their menu available on their app for customers to view and select items.

Then, customers can order items through the app that can be picked up through the drive-thru or for carry-out. This can streamline ordering for the customer as well as provide the restaurant with a better way to deal with large queues. This is great for large orders or orders that need to be finished by a certain time.

Pros of Using Digital Menus in Restaurants

In a study conducted in 2021, 59% of people in that study were in favor of continuing to use digital menus. There are many reasons paper menus are becoming more scarce. The benefits of digital menus are that they are more convenient, use resources better, and are a more sanitary option than paper menus.

Easy to Use

Digital menus are easy to use for both customers and the employees in charge of maintaining the menu. They can be easily updated through the menu software to reflect changes.

They also allow for an easier ordering process. Customizations to menu items can be done with a few clicks rather than having to retype and print out a paper copy.


Digital menus are also eye-catching. They have images and sometimes moveable graphics that illustrate what the food looks like. They can have mascots or pictures. They can also have engaging designs and colors.

The more eye-catching the menu, the more appetizing the food looks. Customers will want to try out more of your dishes that look good on the menu. Plus, since you can constantly update the menu, there are plenty of new things to look for.

Free Employee’s Time

Self-service frees employees from having to take orders, so more people can work on preparing food and cleaning. They also don’t have to answer as many questions because all the information is readily available for the customer to see.

This free time helps to provide better service for your customers. It also saves you money hiring additional employees to perform the tasks the digital menu provides.


Paper menus can get wet or damaged easily, even when they are laminated. If they get damaged, they need to be discarded. Plus, they need to be reprinted every time there is a change to the menu.

If you’ve made a typo, there goes a whole stack of papers. Printing, discarding, and reprinting menus continuously cost money that could better be spent elsewhere.

It also uses up a lot of resources, such as paper, that can be problematic for the environment. With a digital menu, you can simply update the menu within the software. Additionally, you can quickly correct typos without having to scrap the entire menu.

This means you don’t keep spending money on new copies of your menu and you don’t waste loads of paper, giving your restaurant a better environmental footprint.

Customer Satisfaction

Customers are more satisfied with digital menus because they can peruse them for the necessary information they need without having to ask a server a bunch of questions.

You can display the nutritional information for each item, giving the customer the ability to decide on options that best fit their diets. They can look for calorie information and ingredient lists to make sure they are getting what they need.

This allows for accommodation in cases of allergy concerns and health needs. Customers also streamlined the nature of many digital menu options. With kiosks, they can peruse, order, and pay for their order all in one step without having to go through multiple lines.

They can also customize their orders without feeling self-conscious about their changes or causing additional wait times. Also, if a customer is undecided, they can browse at their own pace without feeling rushed.

Additional Advertisement

Digital menu boards and kiosks are a great way to add a little extra advertising.

You can highlight promotions and even show off new items in a way that makes it more likely your audience will see them. Because the adage “out of sight, out of mind” often holds, this additional advertisement will boost sales of these displayed items.

Cuts Down on Perceived Wait Times

With digital menu boards, customers are looking at the menu while they are in line, so they are thinking about what they are going to order. So, it feels like their wait time is shorter.

In the case of kiosks, a customer can usually go right up to the kiosk without anyone else in line around them. They can complete their transaction all in one place, which feels shorter than standing in line at the register.

Finally, instead of waiting for a server to come to the table to give them a menu, they can scan the QR code or check out the app for the menu. This feels like it takes less time because the customers are occupied while the server prepares to serve the table.

Perceived wait time makes a difference in how customers feel about a restaurant. Shorter wait times meet with more satisfaction than long wait times.

Some table-top kiosks also have games you can pay to play at the table, which is great for families at a sit-down restaurant. Parents can pay for games for their kids to play while they wait, which increases the satisfaction of these customers.


Physical menus also often need to be cleaned. Just think about how many times you’ve accidentally dribbled a little salsa on a menu at a Mexican restaurant while thinking about your order.

An employee has to clean those menus. But, often these are not cleaned between each use, so they accumulate debris and germs. This can spread illnesses and is very unsanitary.

A QR or App based digital menu and a digital menu board involve no touching, so they don’t need to be cleaned. Customers can feel safe they are not touching germs that may spread illnesses when they look through your menu.

Cons to Consider

Of course, with every new convenience, there are some things to consider before committing to a digital menu in your restaurant.

Some people may not have a smartphone to access QR code or app-based menus. If your menu needs wifi to access it, you will need to offer free wifi in your establishment to allow your customers to access your menu.

Also, people who have trouble seeing may have difficulties with a digital menu. Digital menu boards that are above registers may be too far away for people with seeing problems to see. Small apps or QR code menus may be difficult for them to navigate, as well.

In most cases, you would still need to have some printed copies of your menu no matter which style of digital menu you choose. Digital menu boards can be expensive to install and maintain, as well. Usually, however, these high costs are at the beginning and even out over time.

Additionally, some people are adamantly against digital menus, especially QR codes. Their bad opinions towards this progressive change could dissuade them from frequenting your restaurant, so it is important to understand the type of customers you have and how they would perceive a digital menu.

Final Thoughts

Digital menus come in a few different styles with digital menu boards, QR code menus, Apps, and self-service kiosks being the most popular.

The restaurant industry is becoming more and more digitized each year. The digital menu is just another step in that progression. There are many benefits to using digital menus in your restaurant. These include convenience, customer satisfaction, cost-efficiency, and much more.

If you are looking to add digital menus to your restaurant, they are worth looking into and will eventually pay for themselves. While you are updating your restaurant’s digital atmosphere, consider adding LoopTV to your restaurant’s televisions. This is an unlimited entertainment platform for your business.

Our music video, business TV, and digital signage services are fully licensed to run in your public business. We entertain customers with our unrivaled library of music video content and our selection of sports, lifestyle, news, and kids channels.