Are you still on the fence about investing in a digital menu board? If you’re concerned the total cost will break your budget, fear not. Digital menu boards price ranges start at under $500, including a TV, to over $2,000 for solutions with high-end commercial displays and enterprise signage service subscriptions. Therefore, this means you have the flexibility to choose a combo of TV, digital signage software and hardware that fits your restaurant, bar or cafe’s bottom line. Also, did you know that 80% of restaurant owners say they help boost sales? Certainly, this dollars-and-cents benefit might mean switching from paper to digital menus leads to a new era for your business. So, here’s the item by item breakdown of the true cost of digital menu boards, that way you can tailor the tech to your budget.
In this article, we’ll cover the following:
- TVs you can use, along with prices
- The cost of digital signage software – and must-have features
- The types and prices of digital signage players
- How you can create a digital menu board in minutes
- How to set up a digital menu board on TVs without being a tech expert
- How to create a menu board for free
What do you need to buy for a complete digital menu board solution?
In order to set up a digital menu board, you’ll need three components. First of all you need a TV if you don’t already have one. Then, you’ll have to purchase a digital signage solution consisting of a software service and a digital signage player. Of course, you have wiggle room regarding pricing with each component, as that will affect the final digital menu board cost.
TVs you can use for a restaurant menu board – with price estimates
You can select a TV screen that suits your budget, first of all. Prices for affordable models from major manufacturers range from under $400 for a 40-inch screen up to $1,000+ depending on tech and size. But what about the different types of TV tech? Which one works best for restaurants?
LED TV tech lends itself well to brightly-lit restaurants, bars and cafes. Specifically, you get brighter, high-contrast images and videos which capture people’s attention and make your menu board more attractive, too. Also, you can find reliable, robust models from all the big manufacturers for under $400. Therefore, this keeps the digital menu board cost down. Shop around for cost-effective TV models from Samsung, Sony and other big names.
On the other hand, if you want to set up your digital menu board a few feet away from your customers, look into Fine Pixel Pitch LEDs. Of course, they come with a higher price tag, but if you want to reduce pixelation, they offer a great solution.
Commercial displays, such as an NEC professional digital signage TV, include an embedded digital signage player and software. Therefore, you won’t need to have external signage hardware or deal with the setup. For those of you who want top-notch professional TVs, this is the way to go.
However, the cost of digital menu boards rises, as screen prices range in the several thousands of dollars. On the other hand, you do get a professional digital signage display with pre-installed hardware and software. So if you’re open to a serious investment for your business, you might want to consider it.
Digital signage software cost – and what features to look for
The type of signage software you choose factors into digital menu board pricing. Most importantly, you can purchase solutions that start at $7.99 per screen for a monthly subscription. This significantly lowers the cost of digital menu board ownership, once you buy big-ticket items such as TVs. Without a doubt, you can also find subscriptions that go up to $95+ per month for each screen you run.
Features digital menu board signage software must have
Regardless of the price tag, you must make sure the software you choose offers features that maximize the benefits of digital menu boards. For example, choose a digital signage solution that “lives” online, kind of like your Gmail account. This is especially useful, as all you have to do is log in to access your digital signage solution, no matter where you are. Also, you don’t have to hire someone to help you download a special program and configure settings.
Then, you can do all your menu board creation from your PC, while on the go. You can also instantly display it on your screens from your computer, too. Specifically, all editing, such as changing price lists and menu items, and displaying it on TV happens remotely, without you going to each screen to make changes.
Also, make sure the service provider offers free, fully customizable digital signage templates for menu boards. Significantly, this ensures your menu boards look professional and designed with your target industry in mind. In addition, you can customize them and add your logos, photos and videos.
Finally, a great scheduling feature is a must-have. It helps you display different digital menu boards so they target different customers at different times of day. Given that they will appear on your TVs automatically, you save tons of time and can focus on top-notch customer service. Specifically, create a daily schedule with menu boards that appeal to breakfast walk-ins, hurried office workers and the after-school crowd. And it’s super easy to do. In this way, you create targeted digital menu boards that keep boosting sales, which in turn recoups the cost of purchase.
How much will digital signage players cost you?
Essentially, a digital signage player is a media player that displays all your images, videos and menu boards on TV. In fact, each digital signage provider offers their own type of players, so you will have to review each option carefully. Essentially, this is a one-time purchase and costs range from $79 (or even free with annual subscriptions) to under $400.
Types of players
You can run digital menu boards using two types of players: an external hardware media player you plug into your TVs, or a software player that’s already installed in your screens.
External media players
Firstly, you can choose to pair your signage software with an external digital signage player, such as the Raspberry Pi. You simply hook it up to your TV. What’s more, if you purchase it straight from the solution provider, it usually comes pre-configured with your WiFi credentials. So you totally by-pass configuration hassles. In addition, you get the whole kit, with all the extra memory, case and cables required starting at $79. And that means you don’t come up against any last-minute, surprise expenses. In addition, it keeps displaying content even if your internet is down – which means customers focus on your promos and not blank screens. Most importantly, this kind of player offers the best experience for businesses, as it’s secure and robust.
Other options include Android external players. Costs range from $30 to about $90 or more for hardware players you plug into your TVs. You might want to consider this tech, as it has advantages such as plug & play capabilities. However, you must choose a model that can support multimedia content – an essential component of effective menu boards.
Also, BrightSign players give you many features, such as 4K video, video wall setup and interactivity which you may want for high-tech menu board setups. Specifically, prices hover at about $370 per media player.
Also, you might consider using a Web Player. Specifically, this media player uses the web browser already installed in your Smart TV in order to display digital menu boards. If you don’t have the space for external digital players because you have to set up a pop-up restaurant or bar experience, this might be a great option for you. Web Players offer that instant, hardware-free setup that’s perfect for special situations. Similarly, Android apps already installed in your mobile devices offer the same advantages. Price-wise, these types of players are more cost-effective than external players, however they don’t all provide the same seamless experience.
Are digital menu boards TVs?
In short, yes, you usually display digital menu boards on TVs so that customers clearly see your menu items and promos as they wait in line to order. However, you can also use a Web Player and display digital menu boards on tablets at each table.
How do you make a digital TV menu board?
All-in-one digital signage providers want to make it easy for you to create great-looking digital menu boards in just a few steps. So, use free templates and make them your own by adding your branding and photos. Or, if you feel creative, try designing one from scratch. Just follow these steps:
How to set up a restaurant digital menu board on your TVs in minutes
When you purchase a digital signage solution that includes both software and hardware, providers ensure anyone can set it up. Especially if your media player comes pre-configured with your WiFi credentials, you just plug it in and it works. Similarly, if you opt for a Web Player, you can get started immediately. Then, simply create your digital menu board using the software’s features and push it to your screens. See for yourself how easy it is to set up digital signage players so you can get started and boost profits.
How to make a digital menu board for free
Of course, before making any type of investment, you want to first check it out and see if it suits your restaurant. So, see if the digital signage provider offers a free trial or demo, so they can address your digital menu board price concerns. Others give you the option of actually running a menu board yourself to see how it helps your business grow.
Yodeck, for instance, gives you free, all-feature access to any plan so you test it out on one screen. Specifically, along with all other features including schedules, you can use free professionally-designed menu board templates and free stock media. Therefore, if you don’t have your own photos yet, you can use free images and videos to add to menu boards.
How much does it cost to create a digital menu – the bottom line
In brief, a complete digital menu board solution that includes a TV, software and hardware costs between $500 – $2,000+, depending on the TV and service provider. However, if you already own a TV, you can get the cost down to as little as $7.99 per month per screen. Similarly, as the media player is a one-off expense, and could even come free with annual subscriptions, you can make the switch to digital without making a significant investment. Also, keep in mind that other restaurants benefited from digital menu boards with a big profit boost. So, give it a whirl, see how your customers react. Although we have a hunch those checkout lines will get longer and longer once they see pics and videos of all your delicious goodies.