More Random Menu Board Thoughts

In my attempt to come up with a sole direction for this blog I just kept coming up with a mixed bag of talking points which on their own weren’t worthy of a whole post.  So I thought to myself, “Well it’s been a while since I have been random.”  So without further adieu, here are some more random menu board thoughts. 

Random-ThoughtsMenu board companies do not sell used signs- After going through the entire process of producing a menu board and sending it on its way there is really no circumstance for a company to ever see them again.  You also have to consider that whatever was sent out was designed to a specific spec, meaning the graphics will be of zero use to you.  If you are looking for used, start with the Craigslist and EBay’s of the world because you’ll come up dry with menu board companies.  Having said that, there are several reasons why you should avoid used equipment altogether.

POS systems and drive-thru communications have nothing to do with each other- The disconnect between drive-thru communications and POS systems has come up a few times in the last couple of weeks so I figured I’d touch on it.  It is quite simple really; the communications is for hearing and speaking to the person at the drive-thru and the POS is for entering and tracking orders.  Where the POS does get involved with the drive-thru operation is when you have an order confirmation board.  As the order is entered in the POS, it will appear on a screen alongside your car.

When it comes to digital menu boards, field trips are a waste of time- “Where can I go see it?”  (insert a sigh here) I understand the want to go see something.  A lot of people process their thoughts through what they see.  However, the thing with digital signage is that what is on the screen is the LEAST of what your concerns should be when deciding on a system.  In doing a simple Google search you can find countless hungry, yet talented designers who could produce something appealing.  But to that point, do they have industry experience?  The even greater point I am trying to make is that if you walk in to a location and don’t like the design, you are going to be turned off when in reality you’re looking at a design that someone else has approved- “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  90%+ of your concern SHOULD be the functionality of the system and how it relates to your objectives and budget.  Going to look at a screen and at someone else’s design does nothing to distinguish what is most important.  Save your gas!

Why anyone would still buy menu boards with fluorescent bulbs is beyond me- Not to name names but there are competitors of ours that are still producing menu boards and drive-thrus with fluorescent bulbs as opposed to LED.  From a consumer standpoint it used to make sense because there was a sizable discrepancy in cost but that isn’t the case anymore.  LED lighting lasts infinitely times longer, is a fraction of the cost to power over the course of time and evenly disperses the light.  With fluorescent bulbs you also open yourself up to the residual effect of bad ballasts and hot spots.

Be prepared for the drive-thru S&H charge- Drive-thrus are big and heavy, placed on a crate and have to ship via freight carrier.  This is not a cheap proposition.  In these cases proximity in the Continental US has very little impact on the cost.  On the “inexpensive” side you’d be looking at $375-400.  Keep in mind that would be for a small unit, everything else heads north from there.

Run things by your landlord or property manager before sending things in to production- Forget the approvals and permits that you’d probably need for a drive-thru or roadside sign.  What I am referring to are digital and traditional menu boards.  As is often the case with food courts, the mall has parameters that must be followed.  Some landlords won’t allow certain signs as well.  Checking in with these parties serves two purposes, 1- you don’t waste anybodies time and 2- you stroke the ego of the people “in power” which may lead to some leniency in the future.

That’s about all I have in floating around this brain for now.  I am sure there will be another installment in a month or two.  Heck, something will probably come to mind the second I hit “publish.”  Do you have any comments on these thoughts? | 888-235-2579