Howard Company Blog

September 17, 2015 | by Cheryl K

Updating your Menu Board: Is It Time to Redesign?


Howard Company


When is it time to re-evaluate the appearance of your menu board? Does it have to be almost falling off the wall before you realize you need to do something?

One of my pet peeves is to walk into a quick service restaurant (QSR) and see a menu board with half the back lighting burned out, tape holding panels together, dry marker crossing off items no longer served, faded and yellow picture graphics – I could go on! Consider this: your guests look at the mish-mash that is your menu board system and wonder if you are also as careless about how your food is cooked and served!

If your menu board is over five years old and you’ve not touched or updated it since you hung it on the wall, NOW IS THE TIME to take action! Whether you are a one location restaurant or a chain of 200, you should include budgeting for menu board system changes and updates in your fiscal planning from the day you open for business.  Nothing hits your pocketbook harder than realizing your current menu board is outdated and broken, and the outlay for a new menu board isn’t just a couple of dollars but in the thousands.

Make a strategy for your future – plan for your update. Here are some suggestions:

  • Create a 5 year plan that includes fresh paint, flooring, seating, menu updates, etc. It’s easier to spread out dollars spent on keeping current than having “that discussion” with your banker after watching your steady customer base decrease – after a while they won’t care about supporting you because they will think you don’t care about how you present your business!

  • We all know pictures sell food! If yours are faded and yellow, look into updating with new pictures – colorful, well designed food pictures are easily found in stock photo websites. You can update pictures even if you don’t change out your menu items.

  • Take a minute to change out those burnt out fluorescent tubes! Chances are your hardware store has those replacement tubes on hand at a cheaper price than ordering from the menu board company.

  • Consider cleaning up your menu listings: menu engineering goes a long way to help you feature your higher profit offerings. Re-evaluate your line items - your goal should be to increase your profitability per guest. Current studies are showing “less is more” in the foodservice industry.


Focus on your brand and what you want your guests to remember about their dining experience. Your menu board is the first real focus area your guests see when they walk into your restaurant. Make it a positive encounter!

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