About The Howard Company


In business since 1950 and headquartered in Brookfield, Wisconsin, The Howard Company, Inc. is the nation’s leading branding signage and technology provider. As an employee-owned company, we have built our reputation by providing first-class customer service through our consultative process, a broad product line, and customization to fulfill our clients’ needs. We specialize in drive-thru systems, digital displays, illuminated and non-illuminated menu boards, building signage, interior design and décor, point-of-purchase merchandising, design services, digital services, installation services, and rollouts for restaurants, convenience stores, grocery stores, banks/credit unions/financial institutions, public entertainment venues, military bases, hospitals/medical centers, hospitality businesses, lotteries, car washes, and schools/universities.

Our primary goal is to connect our customers with their customers. How do we do that?

  • Customization: It's your brand. Our standard products are very versatile and can be made to reflect your brand flawlessly. But if you need something a little different - or a lot different - we are ready to listen, and we have a long history of designing custom products.
  • Consultative Selling: The first thing we do is listen. Then we ask questions. Then we propose ideas. The Howard Company has been designing branding signage for over 70 years. Our sales and product development teams collectively have more than 70 years of working with customers to develop their vision.
  • Broad Product Line: We are the branding signage experts. That's a pretty broad description because our product line is extensive. We want to be the single source for our customers for their digital and static signage, branding materials, and merchandising articles, for both the interior and exteriors of their businesses. 

A long list of return customers attests to ability to meet and exceed expectations. Our products remain on the top of their list when they are looking for new or replacement menu boards or merchandising items for their stores.

What We Value

Our Proven Process

The Howard Company's Proven Process

The process revolves around your vision. Our goal is to make it a reality.

  1. Listen to Your Vision by identifying key pain points and understanding your goals, needs, wants and your desired outcome. By sharing our core values with you early in the process, we hope you will gain some confidence about who you will be working with.
  2. Review Your Vision by restating what you told us about goals and pain points. We want to make sure we understand. Then together we will decide what success looks like for your project.
  3. Collaborate on Your Vision by introducing your dedicated team of professionals. We will now present a proposal. Hopefully we will get it exactly right the first time, but sometimes revisions are required. Working together we agree on the best solution.
  4. Execute Your Vision by putting our team to work. Our engineers, designers and digital support team will work closely with you during this stage, and we will set a delivery schedule.
  5. Deliver on Your Vision by shipping your amazing new branding signage pieces! We will follow up with you shortly after installation to make sure everything is going smoothly, and periodically check in with you so we can plan for future growth.

The Howard Company Building


Our History

Founded in 1950

The Howard Company was established in 1950 as Howard Displays by Al Howard. It was primarily a point-of-purchase display advertising brokerage. With an in-house design staff, Al Howard and sales personnel developed and contracted for point-of-purchase display advertising pieces and programs for national advertisers. All production, assembly, and services other than art were purchased from outside vendors. The company was incorporated in 1957 as The Howard Company, Inc., continuing in the same line of business.

Due to ill health, Al Howard appointed his son, Kent Howard as president of the company in 1969. Kent served as president until 1996 when he assumed the role of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Today, Doug Watson serves as President and CEO of the 100% employee-owned company.

Mainstreet Logo

Mainstreet Menu Systems Introduced in 1986

Until 1986 display programs were developed, produced, and inventoried against contracts with national companies such as General Motors, Ford, Dr. Pepper, 7Up, and Sherwin Williams.

In 1986 Mainstreet Menu Systems was introduced as a stock product based on fast food menu system experience the company had with Hardees, Dr. Pepper, Bonanza, and others. Inventory was built with no commitment, and menu systems were sold one at a time or in any quantity needed by the customer.

The Mainstreet Menu System brand is recognized as the market leader in indoor and outdoor menu boards. The product is sold throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and as well as in Europe, Japan, South Africa, and other selected parts of the world.

Howard Menus

Providing a proprietary, custom menu system was a natural outgrowth of the point-of-purchase experience. The Howard Company's design, engineering, and project management expertise delivers major indoor and outdoor programs including installation services for national accounts like Arby's, Noodles & Company, TCBY Yogurt, White Castle, Yum! Brands, and others.

How We Work:

  • We work with the customer to deliver what the customer wants.
  • Our designers, engineers, and model makers execute the concepts to reality.
  • Our project managers work closely with our suppliers to assure a quality product, delivered on time.
  • We assemble and test each display or menu system before shipment.
  • Most of the programs and systems purchased by our customers require very personalized fulfillment. We meet these needs with world-class pre- and post-sale customer service.
  • We eliminate the risk from our customers' program by delivering as promised.

The Howard Company has in-depth experience in many markets. Through segments of the company - Mainstreet Menu Systems, Howard Menus, Howard Displays, Mainstreet Schoolzone, and VisionQuest Digital Systems, we serve many vertical markets including quick service restaurants, convenience stores, hardware, mass merchants, automotive, banking, state lotteries, and schools.

We work with virtually all materials and we are as comfortable outdoors as indoors. Our focus on quality and service sets us apart in our various marketplaces.

Associations and Memberships

National Restaurant Association Logo

National Restaurant Association

International Sign Association Logo

International Sign Association

National Association of Convenience Stores Logo

National Association of Convenience Stores

International Car Wash Association Logo

International Car Wash Association