Tips & Best Practices for Effective Digital Menu Boards

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Digital menu boards have emerged as a trailblazing tool in the food service industry, changing how businesses engage with their customers. 

Whether in cozy restaurants, bustling food trucks, efficient drive-thrus, or open-air dining spaces, digital menu boards provide a platform for businesses to showcase their menu in a visually appealing, engaging, and easily updatable format.

But how do you design a digital menu board that looks good and effectively communicates with your audience? This blog post will explore the essential tips and best practices for designing digital menu boards that resonate with customers, reinforce your brand identity, and enhance the overall dining experience. 

From clarity and readability to technical considerations and interactive features, we’ll cover everything you need to create a digital display that makes your business stand out. 


What are Digital Menu Boards, and Why Do They Matter in Food Service?

Digital menu boards are electronic displays that update in real-time, showcasing menus and promotions. They aim to clearly and engagingly communicate offerings to customers, replacing static, printed menus. 

Beyond displaying up-to-date information, these boards enhance the customer experience by integrating high-quality visuals and allowing for instant updates. This adaptability makes them a key tool in modern customer service and marketing, enabling businesses to respond swiftly to market trends, promote new items, and execute strategic campaigns. 


6 Things to Consider When Designing a Digital Menu

Designing a digital menu involves more than just listing food items and prices. It's about creating an engaging visual experience that guides customers through your offerings while enhancing your brand's appeal. 

In the following sections, we'll explore key factors, from readability and content management to integrating brand elements, ensuring your digital menu attracts attention and facilitates a seamless dining experience.

1. Prioritize Clarity & Readability

Clarity and readability are paramount. They ensure that customers can easily understand your offerings, leading to a better dining experience and quicker decision-making. 

Here’s how to achieve these crucial design elements:



Font Size and Type

Use large, clear sans-serif fonts like Arial or Helvetica to ensure legibility from a distance.

Contrast and Colors

Employ high-contrast aesthetics between the text and background (e.g., dark text on a light background) to enhance readability. Choose colors that reflect your brand but do not overshadow the text.

Layout Simplicity

Maintain a clean, legible, and organized layout with logical categorization and ample spacing to prevent overcrowding and facilitate quick decision-making.

2. Effective Content Management

To stay ahead in the game, prioritizing high-quality content is paramount. But not just any content—effectively managed, dynamic content that balances text and visuals, ensuring your menu isn't just seen but remembered. Here are ways to master this balance and keep your content fresh and engaging: 

Content Management 

Key Strategies

Balancing Text and Visuals

  • Create a visual hierarchy to guide attention.
  • Use high-quality images and videos to complement text. 
  • Ensure clarity with legible text and simple layouts.

Updating Content Regularly

  • Automate seasonal updates and daily specials.
  • Schedule promotions to reflect limited-time offers.
  • Use customer feedback to adjust menu highlights.

Engaging Customers with Dynamic Content

  • Use video content with smooth transitions to showcase the craftsmanship of food preparation or enticing dish details.
  • Leverage isolated motion to draw the eye to an important segment of the screen (i.e. coffee pouring in slow-motion or cheese stretching from a pizza).
  • Incorporate interactive elements like a social media feed or QR code for a more engaging experience.


3. Customizing Designs for Your Brand

digital menu board

Digital menu boards offer a unique opportunity to reinforce your brand's message and aesthetic. Instead of working off of a generic template, you can customize designs to reflect your brand effectively:

Incorporating Brand Colors, Logos, and Themes

  • Color Consistency: Colors evoke emotions and memories, making this an effective way to enhance brand recall.
  • Logo Placement: Ensure your logo is prominently placed on your digital menu boards.
  • Thematic Elements: Align the theme of your digital menu boards with your overall brand theme. The design should reflect the essence of your brand.


Creating a Consistent Brand Experience

The aesthetics of your digital menu boards should complement the interior design and ambiance of your physical locations. This holistic approach to design enhances the overall customer experience and strengthens brand identity.

If you’re wondering how to enhance the customer experience in retail through technology, don’t miss out on our blog on this topic.

4. Optimizing for Different Settings

Digital menu boards offer a unique opportunity to reinforce your brand's message and aesthetic. Here's how you can customize designs to reflect your brand effectively:





Design Synergy

Ensure digital menus complement interior design for a seamless visual experience.

Ambient Considerations

Adjust brightness, font sizes, and color schemes to enhance visibility and ambiance.

Dynamic Updates

Update offerings and specials quickly, leveraging digital menu flexibility.

Food Trucks

Strategic Placement

Position menus to flow with the layout, enhancing the dining experience.

Compact Design

Use sleek, compact displays for space efficiency without sacrificing visibility.

High Contrast

Employ high-contrast colors and bold fonts for readability from a distance.


Speed and Clarity

Prioritize simplicity and legibility for quick decision-making and efficiency.

Menu Segmentation

Organize items logically with best-sellers upfront to expedite ordering.

Visibility Across Conditions

Ensure readability in various lighting conditions, maintaining efficiency.

Outdoor Areas

Weather-Resistant Technology

Use durable, weatherproof displays for all environmental conditions.

Sunlight Readable Screens

Opt for high brightness and anti-glare screens for readability in sunlight.

Environmental Adaptability

Choose screens with automatic brightness adjustment for changing light conditions.

Learn more about personalization via digital signage in retail, through our blog. 

5. Technical Considerations for Digital Menu Boards

Implementing digital menu boards involves more than just choosing what looks good; it requires thoughtful consideration of various technical aspects to ensure they serve your business effectively. Here’s a concise list of the essential technical considerations:

Selecting Hardware and Software

  • Scalability & Compatibility: Choose scalable, compatible systems that grow with your organization.
  • Vendor Support: Prioritize robust customer support and warranties.
  • Integrated Platform: Select a vendor that can partner with your current and future media requirements. 

Screen Specs

  • Size: Match the screen size to the space and anticipated viewing distance so they can be seen from different areas within the restaurant. Common sizes range from 32-55 inches or larger, depending on the available space and the desired impact.
  • Resolution: Opt for high-resolution screens (Full HD or 4K) to ensure crisp and clear images and text, even when viewed up close.
  • Orientation: Determine whether the menu boards will be installed in portrait or landscape orientation based on the layout of the restaurant and the content being displayed.


Reliability and Connectivity

  • Reliability: Choose commercial-grade displays designed for continuous operation in a restaurant environment, with features such as rugged construction and built-in cooling systems to prevent overheating.
  • Connectivity: Ensure that the screens have sufficient input ports (HDMI, DisplayPort, etc.) to connect to media players, computers, or content management systems.

Interactive Technologies

  • Touch-Screens: To improve self-service and interaction, choose touch displays with excellent sensitivity, anti-glare coating, and robust construction. 
  • QR/NFC: Link physical menus to digital content like customer loyalty programs.


Integration with Online Systems

  • Seamless Experience: Integrate with popular apps for easy ordering.
  • Efficiency: Streamline operations and reduce wait times.
  • Data Insights: Gain insights into customer preferences.


6. Measuring Success and Compliance

digital menu board in a restaurant 

Here’s how you can measure success and maintain compliance:


Key Actions


Content Compliance

  • Review content for ad standards compliance.
  • Monitor regulations.

Ensures content is legal and meets advertising standards.

Accessibility & ADA

  • Implement ADA-compliant design.
  • Use readable fonts/colors.

Enhances accessibility for all customers, aligning with ADA standards.

Performance Metrics

  • Track engagement and conversion rates.
  • Measure content update impacts.

Gauges digital menu board effectiveness and optimizes content strategy.

Feedback & Sales Data

  • Collect customer feedback.
  • Analyze sales data and adjust content.
  • Conduct A/B testing.

Refines menu board design for customer preferences and maximizes sales effectiveness through data-driven insights.

You can learn more about digital signage metrics through our dedicated blog.



We've now explored the multifaceted world of digital menu boards, delving into their design, technical considerations, and strategic integration within various settings. We've underscored the importance of adhering to advertising standards, ensuring accessibility, and leveraging metrics for continuous improvement. 

We encourage businesses of all sizes to explore the potential of digital menu boards as catalysts for growth, customer engagement, and brand development. Embracing this technology means not only keeping pace with the digital age but also setting your establishment apart in a competitive market.

Interested in transforming your space with cutting-edge digital signage? Rockbot is at the vanguard of digital signage solutions, offering customizable, user-friendly options designed to elevate your customer experience. From easy-to-install hardware and intuitive software to digital asset management services, Rockbot's offerings are tailored to meet the diverse needs of modern businesses.

Take the first step towards redefining your customer interaction and operational efficiency. Contact Rockbot today for a consultation or demo of our digital signage solutions. 

Ready to discover how to leverage digital signage for your business? Get in touch today.

Sarah Fruy

Sarah Fruy is an entrepreneurial marketing executive with nearly 20 years of B2B and B2C experience in the online advertising, SaaS, influencer marketing, digital media, and website operations industries, along with numerous marketing certifications from the Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management. As the vp of marketing at Rockbot, Fruy is responsible for everything from brand and product marketing to growth marketing and demand generation.