4 Thoughts Regarding Deli Menu Boards

Delis are unique when compared to your typical quick-service restaurants in that they usually have a lot more offerings when it comes to choosing what to eat. Here in Long Island NY, it seems that you’ll find a deli on each and every street corner. Having been to several in my time here, I have noticed that when it comes to the menu board signage, one of three scenarios plays out; 1- there is way too much, 2- there is none at all, 3- the content is barely relevant.  If you hadn’t already made the assumption, none of these situations are ideal. Through a conversation I shared just yesterday, it got me thinking more and more on this deli + menu board equation.   

Deli Menu Boards

Deli Menu Boards

The gentleman who I spoke with is opening a deli in 6 weeks. It was helpful to see the way his location is going to be laid out so that I could make some recommendations to meet his needs. In his case, the actual style of the menu board was secondary to its clarity and impact. As we dug deeper and deeper we were able to define four clear objectives based on four pieces of input I had regarding his massive menu and how to translate that on to his panels.

#1 – Simplify the menu boards

Too many times I have stepped in to a deli knowing exactly what kind of sandwich I would like but am stuck sifting through what seems like 30+ specialty sandwiches all listed by clever names (i.e. “The Bronx Bomber”).  Strip it down to the basics.  Let it be known that you can make a sandwich any way they’d like.  List a base price and supplementary pricing for extra toppings. The same goes for the salads. There are so many different iterations of chicken, egg, and tuna salads that it doesn’t make sense to list all of them. Here is a thought, “Any Chicken Salad,” and list the price for ½ LB and LB.  By keeping it simple you’ll lessen your customers purchasing anxiety and turnaround time.

#2 – Let your display cases sell the food

I am a big one for pictures on your menu boards; it helps distinguish the different sections and wets the appetite. However in a deli environment this is less critical because you have the real-life thing right in front of you. I am not suggesting that pictures or a lack thereof on deli menu boards is a bad idea; I am simply stating that they are less impactful. Because of this, it is imperative that the “display” inside the display case is given the utmost TLC.  People buy with their eyes and if it looks less than appetizing or the case is streaked or dirty, it will negatively affect your sales.

#3 – Menu board placement & colors for stations

This may seem like common sense but you may be surprised. As previously mentioned, delis tend to offer a lot so what happens in many instances is a number of menu items are regurgitated on to a menu board system and lined up along the wall with no rhyme or reason.  Although space constraints may not allow for an exact match you should do your best to place the menu board that has the items listed that reflect the “station” or display case below. Further, it is helpful to have a different color scheme, not design, to distinguish the different areas of the deli. For example, the background color of the deli area may be blue, whereas the chopped salad area’s menu board could be yellow. Envisioning that should give you a good sense on how it would help differentiate.

#4 – Other signs that will help

Delis have a lot going on; cold cuts, sandwiches, soups, hot dishes, breakfast items, paninis, wraps, salads, and on and on. As a result it could be somewhat overwhelming to figure out how to go about ordering what you want or even where to go and how to pay. With the use of some ancillary signage this becomes less of a burden. In most cases, dimensional signage/letters could be placed on the soffit above its corresponding area.  For example, above the deli counter, have letters that read “Deli.”  Above the panini and sandwich making area, “Sandwiches,” etc, etc, etc.  In addition, there should be noticeable signs that state where to order and pay.

Do you have any suggestions for deli owners?  We’d love to hear them as well, give us a call today at 888-235-2579, email us at info@origindisplays.com or contact us here.