Restaurant menu dayparts: what is it & why should you have one? How to create a daypart?

A scheduler icon is presented next to a digital menu board, suggesting menu dayparting


What is dayparting?

Dayparting refers to dividing the specific days and times during which a particular business wants to showcase its digital content. Each partition of the day is called a ‘Daypart.’

Many sectors, like the radio and television, advertisements, restaurants, apparel stores, and so on, daypart their media extensively.

For example, a television channel usually dayparts its broadcasting time into different slots: morning, mid-day, afternoon, prime time, and late night.

Similarly, a restaurant will daypart its menus, promos & offers according to the meal times, for example― breakfast, brunch, lunch, evening snacks, dinner, and happy hours.

The primary objective of dayparting in any business is to keep the content highly relevant to the specific audience demographic that dominates the consumption at a particular timeframe.

For instance, television programs are more family oriented during the hours between 8-10 pm on weekdays. That is because the channel knows that throughout the day, most consumers will be out of home working or at school, away from the television. It is only after 8 or 9 pm that families will sit together for dinner and watch TV shows.

The same philosophy applies when it comes to restaurant menu dayparting. As a food service business, you have to identify the consumption trends of your customers before dayparting your menus (but more of that later).

Now a valid question arises, how effective is dayparting for businesses in the food service domain? Let’s find out.

How can menu dayparting increase the efficiency of restaurants?

Most restaurant businesses have moved from chalkboard menus and paper-based flyers to digital menu boards, QR code menus, and dynamic ads & promotions using electronic displays.

With digital signage solutions like Pickcel, restaurants can create schedules for their ad campaigns and digital menus on the screen, allowing automatic content rotation.

Here are three benefits of dayparting menus:

1. Optimizes resource utilization

A digital menu saves time and money as the recurring printing & logistic cost gets slashed. You can use these savings to improve other fronts of your business― hiring more staff, offering better customer experience, or opening more shops.

Also, in business, time is money. Therefore, when you automate and daypart your restaurant offerings on digital displays, your employees’ valuable time is freed up. They can use their time for core business activities like preparing orders, managing inventories, and monitoring services.

2. Reduces food wastage

Nearly 1.4 billion tons of food is wasted every year! Much of it comes from eateries. But you are one step towards reducing food wastage when you daypart your menus. Let me explain how.

Imagine you serve sandwiches & burgers throughout the day. But after 4 pm, your demand for ham sandwiches sharply declines. Before dayparting, you were probably displaying the same menu throughout the entire day. And just because ham sandwiches are on the menu, your restaurant staff has to keep the ingredients stocked even when the demand is low.

Now, if you use two separate menus: one running from morning to 4 pm where you use your regular menu:

Dayparting menu example of a fast food restaurant - version 1

After 4 pm, you can schedule a different menu version where you add a discount on ham sandwiches so that the excess stocked-up food gets sold.

Dayparting menu example of a fast food restaurant - version 2

3. Helps in scaling the business

For a small business, you can manually update your menus for every meal offering, special occasion, etc. But imagine if a restaurant has branches throughout the city, in different cities, or across the globe. Would manual content rotation be rational?

To scale your business, you will invariably require the support of a digital menu board software to daypart your content.

Best strategies to daypart restaurant menus & offers

There are many reasons to daypart your digital menus as discussed above. But what should be the underlying logic and strategies to leverage this scheduling so as to get the best results.

Let’s find out.

Identifying target customers

Every restaurant has a different customer base. Identifying the customer type and targeting their time can help effectively daypart the digital content.

If I own a cafe, I would like to introduce my Happy Hour meals to the office goers during the evenings to lure in a crowd looking for relaxation after the day-long work.

Identifying the customer demographic will not only help in deciding the time and interval of dayparting but also the content.

For instance, if the highest sales of an ice cream shop on weekends come from teenage and young buyers, then two different ice cream menu designs can be scheduled: one for the weekdays and one for the weekends.

The weekend menu can have special offers, a bright and cheerful style, some young customers’ testimonials, and more.

Diversify the content

Rotating your digital menu board doesn’t necessarily mean showing different menu offerings at varying hours of the day. For instance, many smaller businesses like food trucks and drive-thru restaurants offer the same à la carte menu.

But they, too, can daypart their menus by having different renditions. There are different clever ways to diversify your menus for dayparting, such as:

  • Changing the layout, color, and visual appeal

  • Highlighting different items at different hours

  • Using separate templates and themes

Updating your screen content frequently is recommended not just to keep your customers’ eyes hooked to the screens and to improve sales but also to ensure that screen burns do not appear.

Using a content management system

Dayparting has to mean automation. Imagine having your employees change the menu 3-4 times daily, every day of the week, and every week of the month.

A significant wastage of resources, right?

That is why you must use a software to schedule your digital menus, restaurant advertisements & promos. You can simply create a rough timeline in a document and then go on creating as many schedules as you want). The software will automatically publish your content on the specified date and time.

Here’s how the Pickcel software helps restaurant businesses create dayparts to auto-publish menus on electronic signage:

Role of analytics in restaurant menu dayparts

Data analytics helps in making accurate decisions in any business, and restaurants are no exception.

Analytics can be a game-changer as they will help restaurant owners offer personalized services to their customers, not based on assumptions but on collected insights. This data also helps in the efficient dayparting of the digital menus.

One of the most prominent restaurant touchpoints to collect customer insights is the Point of Sale (PoS) systems. The PoS data can help you study:

  • food preferences throughout the day

  • daily changes in customer demographic, if any

  • comparison of data between different outlets of a restaurant

This information can benefit restaurant owners to daypart their digital menus and churn out the maximum revenue.

Let’s say a cafe sees a sharp decline in the sale of snacks and savories during the mid-morning, but your data shows that office goers prefer grabbing a quick coffee during this time.

You can use this information to create and daypart a variation of your regular menu just for the mid-morning hours. On this special menu, you can introduce finger foods like mini sandwiches or mini burgers, or a combo of coffee and these items at discounted prices.

Likewise, multiple variations of the same menu can be created and scheduled to increase sales.

How to daypart digital menus using Pickcel?

Pickcel offers an excellent platform for dayparting digital menus. Restaurants can benefit from this and create menu versions according to their business requirements.

Whether it is different slots of the day, separate menus for weekends and occasions, promoting new menu launches, or a combination of these― anything and everything can be created hassle-free using Pickcel.

Daypart timers ensure that pre-decided menus are displayed as per the schedules. Let’s go through the steps of creating a dayparting schedule using Pickcel:

Step 1: Getting Started

Pickcel is a cloud-based digital signage content management system (CMS). Meaning you can schedule any content, including menu boards, ads & promos, live streams, images & videos, and so on.

All you have to do is create a free account with Pickcel and log in to your dashboard using the set credentials.

Pickcel console log in page

Step 2: Pairing your displays

Once you land on your Pickcel dashboard, you can go to the screen module and remotely register your digital displays using a 6-digit alpha-numeric code. Unless you pair your screens with the CMS, you will not be able to schedule your content on those screens.

Use this guide or watch this video to learn how to register your screens with Pickcel:

Step 3: Creating dayparting schedules

Before we jump into the steps of scheduling, a quick side not: if you have a pre-designed menu or content (in a soft copy), you can upload it using the + Add Media button of the Media module.

Like this:

Pickcel console media add process

However, if you don’t have a pre-designed menu and want to build one using the Pickcel’s digital menu board app (free with the software), you will have to follow a few additional steps to design your digital menu before scheduling it.

Either way, once you upload or create your menu designs, it will get saved in the Media module of the Pickcel dashboard. Using your media, you have to create a composition before you can schedule that composition.

After that comes the steps of dayparting/scheduling your menu:

3.1. Creating Day Sequences

A. Go to the Publish module and click on the +Publish button.

Pickcel console publish your content process

B. Select the Schedule option from the list. It will take you to the screen selection page.

content publish process in console

C. On the screen selection page, you will find all your registered displays. Choose the screens for which you want to schedule your content or you can skip it and assign the screen later.

Slecting the screen in pickcel console to publish content

D. If you enter Select & Proceed, you will be taken to the scheduler page. Enter the name of the schedule and click on + Create New against day sequence.

scheduling the content in pickcel console

E. Click on the composition required, it will get added to the sequence manager on the right hand side.

By default it gets added to the 6am-7am slot, this can be adjusted by dragging. Multiple compositions can be added at different slots of a day, creating a day sequence.

scheduling content and choosing timing to publish the content

F. Next, click on Save Sequence. More day sequences can be added in the same way.

3.2. Adding day sequences to the calendar

Once your day sequence is ready, you have to assign the sequence to the dates on a virtual calendar. You can assign the sequence to very specific days or you can repeat the sequence everyday, every weekend, or Sunday, and so on.

Day sequences can be differentiated easily in the calendar using the color codes & the assigned names.

Assigning screen name in console

After assigning the day sequences on calendar, click on Publish.

And that’s all. Your digital menu boards will automatically play the content as per the schedules. You can always go back and make edits to your schedules.

Parting Words

Now that you know the benefits of dayparting your digital menus and restaurant signage content, what are you waiting for? Go for it and get your Pickcel subscription now!

If you are still not sure whether Pickcel is the best fit for your business, you can start a free trial to explore all the features.

Or, you can schedule a call with our team and discover the unlimited advantages of using Pickcel for restaurant digital signage. Our experts will offer you a free product demo and answer all your queries. You can also use this call to discuss complex customization and integration requirements to design a bespoke solution just for your business.

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Noirita Bhattacharya

Noirita is Pickcel's witty wordsmith who has been crafting content for over five years in various domains like digital signage, digital transformation, and digital literacy. When she's not busy tapping away at her keyboard, you can find her nose deep in a book or jet-setting to her next adventure.

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