Digital Menu Boards: The Message is (NOT) Clear

I was lying in bed the other night on the heels of a three demo day thinking to myself, “I really nailed those digital menu board demos today.”  I had checkmarks beside everything I was looking to achieve:

  1. Qualified on price prior to the demo being scheduled… √
  2. Discussed their objectives in detail, dug deeper and spoke to their pain points… √
  3. Reviewed the benefits of the software and all it could do for their business… √
  4. Established a clear next step… √

Despite this, I got to thinking, did those three that I demoed the software for, or even the last 20-50, go to bed feeling as good about the demos as I had?  Do they realize the control they possess? Do they understand the true capabilities of a ditial menu board system?

These are the types of things I lay in bed thinking about.  What about the restaurant operators?  What are they thinking about in regards to their menu boards?

Perhaps some of the following:

“We just sold XYZ to 20 people today. Each sale profited 100% more than the next closest item.  How can I get more people to buy this?  How could I get XYZ in the face of people more frequently?”

“It kills me that every week I have to throw out some meat.  I wish there was a way to move more of a particular kind as it nears its best before or expiration date.”

“OK, so our vendor for cheese has extended us a limited time offer.  It would be great if I could get some promotions up for discounts on our cheese pizzas but by the time I get them designed, produced and shipped, I’ll have lost 2 weeks.”

“Our local sports team has made the finals.  It would be awesome to wish them luck and offer a special for every win in the finals.  Two for one draft beers, 10 cent wings, both, but how do I get the message out?”

We could go on and on; the need for price changes, item changes, new menu items, test marketing, etc.  You get the point.  There is a direct connection to my good feelings about the demos I am proctoring and what restaurant owners think about on a day-to-day basis.  So why isn’t everyone using digital menu boards?  Why is my closing percentage not 100% after demonstrating the software?  In the end, it is because the message is NOT as clear as one would think.  Some will say, “Well take a look in the mirror.”  Trust me I have, and ugly mug aside, we have stripped down our approach and made it as straightforward as possible.  In my opinion, there are 5 reasons why the message is lost despite the fact that they have seen all they need to see.

Reason #1: Information overload

You have watched the demo and you love it, BUT there is the lure of the Internet calling your name.  You visit another website and wonder, “Is this the one for me?”  You do another demo, and another, you view more and more websites and gather more and more information.  All of a sudden your head is about to explode and you cannot decipher from one solution to the next – so you do nothing.

Reason #2: Not enough good questions are being asked on all demos with all companies

No one is going to offer a demo of their software if they aren’t well prepared to do so.  There is no secret recipe - digital menu board companies know what most people are looking for in a system.  If you sit idly by and ask to be shown “this and that” versus calling in to question the actual functionality of the system, you really won’t know what you are getting.

Click here for Questions to ask Digital Menu Board Companies

Reason #3: They are being sold on lesser systems by good salespeople

Similar to Reason #2, salespeople are well versed on their solutions.  The systems are loaded with content to play with; they tweak, adjust and add media files that will comply perfectly within the parameters of what the software allows.  It all looks great!  The, “Can you show me how to change a picture?” question is easily handled, again using predefined pictures that will work well.  What you don’t see is that when your description exceeds a certain data field there is word wrapping, or when you try to load a picture it doesn’t scale and constrain automatically and so on and so forth.

Reason #4: The cost outweighs anything else

I always talk about people’s needs list, wants list and wish list.  It is unfortunate that it is often after they have gone with a cheap solution that they realize their needs were more than what they once thought.  “I can do everything I need for a fraction of the cost,” is what they’ll say.  We hope that is the case!  (~whispering~ It’s usually not!)

Reason #5: There is a disconnect

When all of the reasons are meshed together, there is often a disconnect.  “Was yours the one that I could control at my restaurant?”  We get questions like this all time, which we do not mind.  As a matter of fact Origin Displays encourages due diligence, which is a byproduct of the confidence we have in our system.  Combine this with the industry’s hardware and software components and the variety of ways these systems can get deployed, it can get confusing for a lot of folks.

At the end of the day, digital signage is the way of the future and more and more people are going that direction.  The challenge with this is educating consumers in a way that they can be sure that the system they go with will meet all of their needs.  If I have spoken with any of you who are now reading this, you have probably heard me say something to this affect:

If you are a graphic designer and you get your hands on a media player, you can wave the magic wand and - voila - become a digital signage company.


If you want a $500 dollar solution, I’ll design something in PowerPoint, export it to a USB, you can then tuck it in to your LCD and - boom – digital menu boards!

This is what companies are now coming up against. Buyer beware!!

To Summarize:

  • The digital signage industry is getting saturated with individuals that lack the know-how and general expertise.
  • With information readily available nowadays, it is easy to get overwhelmed.
  • People need to remember that if they don’t ask the right questions, they’ll never realize the true functionality of a software until it’s too late.
  • Doing your research when it comes to anything is a good idea.  However, too much of a good thing, may not ultimately be a good thing!


Want to learn more?  Check out a digital menu board solution that should and will be your first and last stop!  Or give me a call to discuss more today at 888-235-2579.