How to Design a Menu Board

When a customer enters a restaurant what they are looking to see is the menu to let them know what food options are available and for what price. What makes a customer stick around has to do with the good service, descriptive food blurbs, and reasonable prices for appetizing good. The whole process of making and keeping a happy customer hinges on the menu board. If a customer walks into a restaurant (particularly one they have never been to before) and cannot decipher the descriptions or prices listed on the menu, they may walk back the way they came in, likely never to be seen again. If the customer does have the patience to stumble a poorly designed board, they will be more likely not to return at a later date, even if the food is superb. Customers enjoy beautiful ambiance, they spread the word about friendly, top-notch service, but what keeps them coming back and makes them bring their friends in with them is the food they eat while they are in a particular restaurant. But an essential part of that is they have to know what their options are for ordering in the first place!

Step 1. Style of Board

Before you can design your menu board, you first need to own one. There are many options available to choose from. Depending on the feel and style of your restaurant, as well as taking into consideration how often the board will be changed (and therefore how easy it needs to be to work with, as well as accessible), will determine what kind to buy. The two most current popular styles are magnetic and “lift and drop” boards. Many people consider the magnetic option to be easier to work with compared to the “lift and drop” ones as they don’t require re-working an entire row to make one small change. However, the advantage of the “lift and drop” option is the microscopic changes they allow. New foods and sections of the menu can be made on a whim, without ordering new food description paragraphs or subcategory names. Of course, pre-printed boards are always an option for the restaurants that rarely change their food options. Whatever choice is best for your restaurant, just be sure than the font is clear and easy to read.

Step 2. Board Lighting

Decide what kind of lighting will best compliment the decor and style of your restaurant. But its most important to remember that the board, above all else, needs to be easy to read. That may mean going with an option that is back-lit. However, the most popular choice is to have a light source, sort of a small spot-light, focus on each panel of a board. Many boards are manufactured with a movable lighting track attached to the board for this very reason. If, however, the board your restaurant has selected does not have a lighting option built in, a comparable lighting track alternative is usually available in local hardware or lighting stores.