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Digital Menu Boards: An Increasingly Common Application for Digital Signage

Digital menu boards (DMBs) are gaining traction as an application for digital signage, particularly in QSRs and fast food chains. Although adoption of DMBs has been relatively limited to date, some forward thinking enterprises have been piloting this technology and are moving towards large-scale rollouts.

In the UK, for example, a 700 unit Burger King chain recently began replacing traditional static menu displays with DMBs. DMBs have a number of advantages over traditional static menu displays including:

  • Reduced operational expenses: no need to purchase new static menu displays
  • Easier item/price updates: menu changes sync automatically via integration with POS systems
  • Enhanced promotions: multimedia capability adds life to static displays
  • Potential for increased sales: DMBs have been shown to increase revenues by 10% or more

At present, however, key adoption barriers remain.

Upfront costs are the foremost issue, especially among bottom-line obsessed QSR franchisees.  While display prices have declined—and will continue to do so—DMBs must be integrated with back end systems to enable access to the requisite menu and pricing data. Of course, these requirements drive additional costs.

In addition, achieving ROI also may be a barrier for some enterprises, particularly those with extensive integration requirements for linking DMBs to various self-service technologies and social media.
Despite these barriers, which will be somewhat mitigated by ongoing price declines in displays, VDC expects DMBs will become an increasingly common application for digital signage during the next 3-5 years.

As enterprises realize the ROI DMBs can deliver—both in the form of reduced expenses and increased revenues—and prices of signage solutions continue to fall, the value these solutions offer will become too great to ignore for many brand managers and outlet operators.

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