Static vs. Digital Outdoor Menu Boards: Which Is the Best for Your Business?

Static vs. Digital Outdoor Menu Boards: Which Is the Best for Your Business?

Static vs. Digital Outdoor Menu Boards: Which Is the Best for Your Business?

  • On June 8, 2022

If you operate within the restaurant industry, you understand that outdoor menu boards are more than just lists of various menu items. The reality is that modern signage should define your brand’s identity to your customers. Your menu system becomes an important facet of your marketing process.

If your menu board signage is persuasive, customers will easily understand what your business stands for. Your ‘ordinary product’ can instantaneously turn into a ‘hidden gem’ if you use the right restaurant menu for your business. There are two major signage types that you can use in your business: static and digital outdoor menu boards. The following guide compares and contrasts these two menu board models and reveals which one can best serve your business. First, let’s take a look at how outdoor signage can add value to your business.

The Value of Outdoor Menu Boards


Outdoor menu boards are essential for expressive selling and upselling, especially in fast food restaurants where preferences are always changing.

When you use signage in your business, customers are more curious to interact with your brand and get a better idea of what your business is all about. You can derive the following benefits from menu boards:

  • Menu boards enhance architectural design: Given the current technological advancements, menu boards are continuously integrated into all types of architectural designs. There are many materials and designs to choose from, so you never have to worry about signage sticking out like a sore thumb.
  • Creating connections with your customers: Another benefit is that menu boards are essential for interactive marketing and branding. These menu displays can help create a  more cohesive environment in your businesses by acting as engagement points with your clientele.
  • Creating value: Besides helping engage your customers, menu displays also create value for customers. This process occurs when you can offer what customers want by creating comparisons and measurements in the menu signage. When clients walk into your business and look at the menu board, they instantly decide what they want.

Now, let’s take a look at the two main types of advertising displays.

What Is the Difference Between Static and Digital Menu Boards?

Static menu boards are the more traditional options because they don’t have screens, so you can only display one piece of messaging content at a time. The content displayed there never changes unless you deliberately alter the message. Today, many businesses still use static menu boards to inform and decorate because they tend to be more affordable than digital menu boards. 

On the other side, digital menu boards are advanced display screens where business owners can constantly update the messaging content. These advertising signs contain collections of digital monitors operated from a central computer. You can use screens of different sizes and display video, animation, or text. Most modern businesses are making the switch to digital menu boards because they last longer, are more versatile, and give your business a modern edge.

Comparing and Contrasting the Two Options

Outdoor Static Menu Boards 

The following are the main characteristics associated with traditional menu boards:

  • Pricing: Static menu boards are fairly cheap compared to digital advertising displays. However, the overall costs in the long run are often higher due to the ongoing replacement costs.
  • Customer Experience: Traditional menu boards may get the job done, but most modern customers now prefer a digital experience. We live in a digital world with an increasing amount of digital brand experiences, so most people today prefer fast and visually appealing advertising features. When it comes to static signs, they may be harder to read from the text being worn down from time or weather.
  • Scheduling and Updating: Scheduling and updating have to be done manually. This process can become time and cost-consuming when you have to order new menu boards every time the menu changes.
  • Environmental Impact: Traditional menu displays are a major cause of pollution. Research indicates that deforestation eliminates 18 million acres of forest (with 40% of these going towards creating paper products). Static menu displays contribute to this environmental degradation because they require the use of glossy paper and other paper-based materials to create.
  • Management: It becomes difficult to align all the menus using traditional methods when you have multiple business chains. This can create confusion and business losses. 
  • Hours of Operation: Traditional menu displays cannot be used after working hours, which complicates the advertising function for businesses.
  • Visuals: The lack of modern visuals makes static advertising boards less appealing to the general public. 
  • Return on Investment: Compared to digital menu boards, static displays have minimal ROI. There are no major impacts on enhanced sales margins, upselling, maximization of seasonal opportunities, brand promotion, and environmental protection.
  • Foot Traffic: Finally, static menu bards don’t typically increase the levels of foot traffic into your business more than digital displays due to the lack of appeal. The human eye is drawn to digital content, especially moving visuals, so static displays can only do so much in terms of attracting customers.

Outdoor Digital Menu Boards

The following are the main characteristics associated with digital menu boards:

  • Price: Digital menu boards are more expensive to install but last longer. As earlier stated, these advertising signages contain collections of digital monitors operated from a central computer from where you can display video, animation, or text, so the price is higher for good reason.
  • Customer Experience: There is an enhanced customer experience due to the presence of visual effects created by the digital screens. The use of visually appealing digital content can attract customers from afar. 
  • Scheduling and Updating: You can easily create schedules and update content on the go. When new health laws are introduced, you can also align with them quite quickly. 
  • Environmental Impact: Digital boards have minimized the need to cut trees to post new messages every time. Therefore, the environmental footprint is minimized. Costs are also reduced because there is less printing involved. You can typically expect to use one menu board for 6 -7 years. In addition, digital menu boards use power very efficiently, so you don’t have to worry about your business having a detrimental carbon footprint.
  • Management: You can easily synchronize all your businesses’ menus at once. There are minimal menu discrepancies as a direct result while branding and marketing become more fluid. As long as you have an internet connection, you can control your screens.
  • Hours of Operation: You can use digital menu boards even after work hours. This process makes it easier for you to continue advertising even after you have retired for the day. 
  • Visuals: You can customize visuals to suit your business needs. As long as you have a clear message about what you wish to deliver to customers, digital menu boards enable you to integrate video, images, and text to create desired visuals.
  • Target Audiences: Due to the ability to integrate constantly updated content, digital menu boards can help acquire and retain target audiences better than traditional signage. You can always tailor your messages to appeal to customer needs. 
  • Return on Investment: There is a high ROI with digital signage due to its impacts on enhanced sales margins, upselling, maximization of seasonal opportunities, brand promotion, and environmental protection.
  • Foot Traffic: Finally, digital menu boards can increase foot traffic for your business more than traditional advertising. For example, when customers can select what they want from drive-thru menu boards without human interactions, you can receive more customers than before. 
  • Long lasting and durable: Digital outdoor menu boards are built to last in any weather conditions. Whether it’s raining, snowing, or sunny, digital signage holds up.

How to Get Started With a Digital Outdoor Menu Board

As an experienced digital signage that has worked with restaurants for years, we can confirm that digital menu boards are best for your business due to the many associated benefits. You can improve your overall business marketing, advertising, and branding strategy by transitioning from traditional signage to digital menu board solutions. If you find that you need help with the transition, Contact Keyser to ensure that you get the best services available.


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