Economical Menu Board Options

When opening any new restaurant there are a tremendous amount of “boxes to check” in regards to equipment, furniture, signage, etc that you need to acquire prior to opening.  It is not uncommon that the menu boards are one of the last things to be looked at prior to “cutting the ribbon.”  save moneyOperators get hung up on the menu options themselves and have a mindset that you cannot begin with the menu boards if it is not 100% complete.  This is a false narrative.

When beginning your menu board search, yes, you should have some collection or idea of what your menu is going to look like.  However, it is always wise to allow for more time than not enough when looking at the design and set up of your menu boards.  Put another way, if your menu is 75% of the way complete, it can be started on in terms of design, concepts and overall layout.  The pricing can be populated at the 11th hour prior to approval and items can be added or omitted along the way.  Now with that nugget out of the way, I’ll bring up another common occurrence.

As stated, menu boards tend to be something that gets handled closer to opening.  This should not be the case however they are a frequent afterthought.  As a result, owners begin their search for menu boards have blown way past their initial budget and working with minimal capital to get “something up.”  Regularly the wish/want of digital menu boards or a custom board shifts to “do you have any cheaper options?”  The answer is ‘yes’ and we’ll take a look at three reasonable alternatives.

1- Snap-frame Menu Boards- these are often used on walls throughout retail and restaurant locations for brand reinforcement, beauty shots, and promotions.  However, these non-illuminated frames are an effective route for menu boards as well.  Offered in black, silver and bronze, each of the four sides of the frame snap open.  You place your approved and printed poster graphic in, cover it with a clear protective lens and snap each side closed.  When it is time for updates it is a matter of an inexpensive poster reprint.

2- Mounted Graphics- coroplast,  corrugated cardboard, Sintra, etc., are all examples of inexpensive yet durable substrates that can be mounted with a vinyl of your approved artwork.  These are all light-weight which means you’d likely find yourself hanging these with double sided tape or something of that nature.  The initial cost, if it includes design, would be greater than any replacement costs for updates.

3- Graphic Holders- similar to the snap frames these holders, often in trapeze form, offer an easy way to suspend graphics from drop ceilings and in other scenarios.  You can select the width of your frame (i.e. 22, 24, 36, 48″) and “go down” as far as you want (within reason) to connect to the bottom graphic holder who’s weight holds the graphics straight and firm.

The total cost of a project including any one of these options depends on three main factors, 1- design, how much time or if needed at all, 2- the number of panels and 3- whether you’re printing on your own or not.  Any which way you’ll be spending a fraction of the cost compared to other menu board options all the while obtaining and maintaining a clean, semi-flexible, professional look.

Comments or Questions?  Please reach out to us at or 888-235-2578