We’re all drawn to the glow of a screen and, chances are, if you see one up in a restaurant, you’ll look at it, which makes it the perfect place to display your menu, and other messages. Although practical, you’ll want to make sure your menu looks appealing, too, so here we’ll take a look at some of the things you can do to help ensure your visual display is functional and appetising!
The Benefits of Using a Digital Display
Printed menus in sit-down establishments will never be obsolete—people like to sit at a table and hold something in their hand; plus they’re useful for those who might struggle with their vision, or aren’t positioned well enough to see your screen. They can be a great addition though, to include daily specials or items that change regularly. You might have a fast-food or primarily ‘to go’ restaurant where printed menus just aren’t practical.
You can change your display without any cost and without much fuss! Update items like daily specials, or have the menu change to reflect the time of day—lunch and dinner menus for example. If you’ve run out of a dish—no problem, just add the information to your display to quickly inform your customers.
A good digital display can be really visually appealing and draw people to look at it without much effort. You can include professional and appetising pictures of the food you serve, or other nice images for people to look at while they wait for their food—landscapes of the local area for example.
You can use your display menu to tell a story—are your
ingredients responsibly or locally sourced? Maybe you’re a family business with
a long history in the area and want to share some of that with your customers.
You can include recommended or related items that a customer might be interested in. Say you had chicken nuggets as a menu item, you might then have a recommendation of extra dips available as an add-on.
What You’ll Need
You need your visual display to look good and be easy to read, so it’s important to get the right screen for the job. While bespoke digital menu boards (mostly IPS panels) are arguably the best solution for large companies, you may want something a little more cost-effective. A good TV or computer monitor can do the job, just consider:
- The frame size—a thin frame looks sleek and professional.
- How it’s mounted to the wall, it needs to be safe and functional.
- How it will be powered and connected to a computer—always hide wires and make sure there are no trip hazards.
- Resolution—4k will help images look sharper and more vivid. Many video templates are available in 4k now too.
- Viewing angle—some TVs are hard to see if you’re not sitting directly in front of them.
- Media inputs—you’ll want HDMI and USB options, and the capability to connect to a wireless network.
- Playback options—you want the option to loop your media content and not stop, or go to sleep.
A Good Internet Connection
The last thing you want is for your WiFi to keep dropping out. You could run your video from a USB, but it’ll be easier and less fuss for you to update if you have your screen connected to a central computer or media player—maybe in the back office—so you can make changes and implement them without having to do anything fiddly with the display itself.
How to Update Your Promo Display
You can buy packages that are cloud-based and usually include a content management system, along with a few templates and stock images and so on. These can be really useful, but keep in mind there’s an ongoing cost—usually monthly—and you’re more limited in terms of design.
Using a template to create a short looping video of your menu is a great place to start if you want to keep things simple and you’re not planning on making too many changes too often—bear in mind you’d need to edit and re-render your video each time to do. You'll change the basics to match your brand, things like colour, font and logos.
This template for After Effects is simple and stylish. With a black background and white 'splatter' animation, it has enough going on to catch the eye and look interesting, whilst still being easy to read and functional.
This template is available through Envato Elements, where once you subscribe, you can download and try as much as you like.
Designing Your Display
When you’re working on your template, there are a number of things to consider.
High Quality Images
If you’re using pictures of your food, either have some taken by a professional, or if you’re confident you can do a great job, make sure you properly light and dress your set. Nothing spoils the mood like images of unappetising food in a place that you’re just about to eat, and a bad picture can make even the loveliest food look off-putting.
Personally, we recommend avoiding using stock images for your food items. It can easily trip you up or become a point of complaint from a diner expecting something entirely different than they get. That’s not to say stock images are out completely: you might still find them useful for backgrounds, or for extra touches like restaurant-themed icons.
Branding and Continuity
If you have a restaurant, you’ll no doubt already have branding that is recognisably you to your customers—great! Be sure to continue the same branding and colours throughout your video. Even though it’ll be on your premises, it still matters that it’s unmistakably yours, and that means including your logo, too.
Timing and Animation
You need enough time to properly read everything on the page, but you also don’t want people waiting an age for the information they were in the middle of reading to come back around. The best answer to this is actually to split your screen (or have more than one screen) with the menu on one side, unchanging, and your imagery and animated content on the other.
Animation and movement are engaging and catch the eye, but first and foremost your display should be functional and easy to consume, so keep movements subtle and don’t overuse them.
Fonts and Sizes
As with graphic design, keep your font simple and easy to read. It’s awful when you try to read a menu in a flouncy, curvy script and you can only make out every other word! San-serif fonts are considered the easiest to read, and be sure to keep sizes appropriate to the distance people are from your screen. You can read more about choosing a suitable font in this article, A Brief History of Display Fonts.
You're Ready To Go!
We hope you've found our guide on how to create a display video for your restaurant menu, helpful. Here are some more articles around restaurant video that you might also enjoy.
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