I am so excited about digital menu boards, and for a very good reason! First let me detail some of their benefits, and at the end of this article I’ll tell you why I’m so jazzed. The digital menu board is an ideal option when thinking about the replacement of your conventional light boxes or vinyl menu systems. Digital technology allows operators instant updates on menu offerings, out of stock items, item pricing and small, yet significant changes that happen all the time in food and beverage operations, such as the size of a hot dog or number of wings to an order. Perhaps best of all, the digital menu board allows operators enormous flexibility to try specials and signature dishes without an investment of new printed menu materials and image assets, which can be pricy. Bringing the risk factor down can inspire some bright ideas that can be real home runs for operators.
Beyond the flexibility of the digital menu board, the cost savings of replacing classic menu boards is phenomenal. Not having to replace your conventional back–lit or evergreen menu board for new prices or new graphics saves a lot of money that can be used for other upgrades.
I think the biggest opportunity presented by digital menu boards is the ability to go above the ordinary. Conventional menu boards are limited, often dull and only change when an operator can afford to upgrade the investment, which can likely be once every few years at best. The digital menu board displays permit operators to make up attention-grabbing animations, frequent graphic updates, unique color schemes and various bowling-related themes that delight customers and will drive incremental food and beverage sales. Plus, digital menu boards permit the operators to make use of a dynamic messaging system to deliver brand information and to promote and distribute highly targeted advertising beyond just food and beverage.
With so many things fighting for your customers’ attention, it can be difficult to break through the clutter with your message. However, a digital menu board displaying bright, full, high-definition video or pictures is your best bet to catch their eyes. Compared to a static poster, a video showing close-ups of one of your hot menu items is much more effective in whetting appetites and influencing purchasing behavior than words on a board.
Digital menu boards also allow centers to manage their “Day-Parting,” as they can run appropriate menus and promotions based on the time of day. You can program them to automatically switch to lunch after your breakfast day-part ends. Centers can also program the digital menu board to switch to a special league menu or late night menu when the grill is shut down to be cleaned. As I’ve traveled from center to center, I know that locations often close their food and beverage area much earlier than their lanes. Offering a limited menu would allow the profits to keep coming while still allowing staff to clean equipment for closeout.
I could go on and on about the benefits of digital versus conventional. The image assets, for example, do not have to be high-resolution, expensive images because digital technology displays nearly any picture in a high-quality way, even clip art or cut and paste pictures! Also, the instant upgrade, the look and feel they bring to your food and beverage operation, is a huge benefit, not to mention the operational benefits such as shorter lines with a clear message.
Now, here is what has me most “jazzed” about digital menu boards: BPAA-member centers pouring Pepsi under our program can get digital menu board software that was developed exclusively for bowling centers for free. The intuitive software is PowerPoint-based and very flexible with a huge image assets library. On top of the free software, we are willing to help centers create their own menus if they need help navigating the software. Once the menus are created, a modest LCD with a USB port is all you need to upgrade your food and beverage operation with a digital menu board. –
(Amy Arcuri is the Membership Director for the BPAA. For more information on the digital menu board program, reach her at email@example.com or 800-343-1329.)