March 7 2023
6 min read
In today’s fast-paced world of food and hospitality, digital menu boards have become a popular choice for businesses looking to keep up with the times. These dynamic displays offer numerous benefits, including real time menu updates, menu day-parting, and self-ordering.
In the recent past, many small and large QSR giants like Burger King and MacDonald’s deployed digital menu boards in large numbers, spending billions of dollars. Even local cafes & pubs worldwide are using screens to promote offers, showcase menus, and deliver in-store infotainment.
However, to make an informed decision, businesses should weigh the potential benefits of digital menu boards against their costs and determine the most suitable option for their specific needs and budget.
In this blog, I will walk you through the different factors that affect the cost of deploying an electronic menu board.
The cost of a menu board solution can be influenced by several factors, a few of which are as follows:
Hardware and display resolution
The hardware and display used to create a digital menu board play a significant role in determining its cost. The following specifications particularly affect the cost:
display size & resolution
complexity of installation
other specifications like advanced graphics
high-end interactive displays with touch capabilities and advanced graphics, the screen size and resolution- all contribute to the overall cost of the digital menu board.
For example, a 65-inch 4K resolution interactive touchscreen display with advanced graphics capabilities and built-in speakers, such as the one manufactured by Dell , can cost upwards of $4,300. On the other hand, a 55-inch screen without touch capabilities can be purchased within a $1000 budget.
Content management software
The cost of a digital menu board is also impacted by the software used to manage its content.
Your choice of software depends on how your digital menus will be used. Is it a simple digital menu that only displays offerings or an interactive self-ordering kiosk?
If it’s the latter, then the software has to offer transactional capabilities; therefore, it needs to be a solution with extra-security layers.
Do you want analytics to study the consumption patterns of your customers? Then your software will cost even more.
In summary, the cost of― simple TV digital menu board < interactive menu boards < interactive menu boards with analytics features
Essentially considered as a hidden cost or one that comes only after incorporating the technology associated with digital menu boards, maintenance costs include software updates, hardware repair or replacement due to natural wear and tear or any other damage, etc.
The cost estimates for the maintenance of digital menu boards might vary depending on the components that need to be replaced. For example, replacing a damaged display screen can cost several hundred to thousand dollars, depending on the size and screen resolution.
The cost of digital menu boards differs depending on the type of digital menu board selected. Here are a few different digital menu boards and their estimated costs:
Cost of non-interactive digital menu boards
A non-interactive flat-screen or TV digital menu board is the most basic and cost-effective hardware.
Examples include LCD screens usually seen in cafes, the price range for which can vary between $500 to $1000.
One good example is the Dell E5515H TV display which costs around $800.
On the other hand, LED screens have a brighter image resolution and life span. These are often found in high-end restaurants or franchises.
The price of an LED-based digital menu board varies between $1000 and $5000, such as LG 49UH5B, with an estimated cost of $1200.
Cost of outdoor digital menu boards
Usually placed at the entrance of take-out places or drive-through restaurants, outdoor digital menu boards are specifically designed for outdoor use. These highly resilient displays that are resistant to harsh climatic conditions or any sort of external damage.
A simple outdoor LED display could cost between $2,000 to $5,000, while a larger, highly customized menu board for a fast-food chain could cost upwards of $20,000 or more. Factors such as the integration interface, the complexity of the installation, and the type of equipment required can also impact the overall cost.
Cost of video wall menu boards
These days, video walls are becoming a rage in restaurant marketing. These are connected panels that collectively play digital content. The result is an enlarged version of a single-screen image or video.
On average, a video wall with four 55-inch panels with 1080p resolution would cost approximately $5,000 to $10,000, including installation and hardware.
For example, the NEC UN462A-TMX9P 46" Full HD Video Wall Display is priced at $1,700 to $2,000 per display while the Planar Clarity Matrix G3 MX55HDX 55" 4K Video Wall Display costs around $4,000 to $4,500 per display. The final cost of a video wall may include additional expenditures like video wall controllers, mounting hardware, and installation.
Cost of interactive digital menu boards
These offer an interactive experience to customers by allowing them to interact with the displayed content. Interactive digital menu boards have touch screens, motion sensors, and other advanced features that enable customers to self-order and self-checkout.
Roughly, the cost of interactive self-ordering kiosks can range from $3,000 to $10,000 per unit.
But the price can go up based on advanced features like multi-touch, gesture recognition, and the inclusion of payment systems such as cash acceptors, card readers, or mobile payment options.
If you include additional hardware like printers, scanners, or cameras, the cost of interactive menu boards will increase further.
The software can also impact the price; for instance, if the system is programmed will analytics features, the overall cost will shoot upwards.
The cost of digital menu boards can vary greatly, depending on the type of display, hardware, and content management system used. However, digital menu boards are often more cost-effective in the long run compared to other forms of in-store marketing.
For example, traditional in-store marketing methods such as print posters, flyers, and brochures can be relatively inexpensive to produce.
However, they require frequent updates and replacements, which can quickly add up. On the other hand, digital menu boards can be updated in real-time and can last for several years with proper maintenance, making them a more cost-effective option in the long run.
Digital menu boards can act as long-term cost-savers through reduced printing and design expenditure and the ability to keep refreshing menu items and promotions whenever required. Additionally, the enhanced customer experience and engagement provided by these can lead to an uptick in sales and profits. To summarize, a digital menu board is a worthwhile and sustainable investment for brands looking for a catalog-show revamp!
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