Gregg Zinn Avatar

The Pros and Cons of Using Digital Menu Boards in Your Restaurant

The Pros and Cons of Using Digital Menu Boards in Your Restaurant

As the restaurant industry continues to evolve, digital menu boards have become a popular option for many establishments. Like any technology, digital menu boards come with their own set of pros and cons, which can be categorized into five key areas: Cost, Value, Presentation, Complexity, and Speed.


Pros: While restaurant digital menu boards can come with some initial cost, they can also provide long-term cost savings by eliminating the need for printed menus. With the ability to make changes in real-time, you won’t have to worry about reprinting menus every time you update your offerings. We have found that most restaurants start to see value almost immediately.

Cons: The initial investment in digital menu boards can be a significant expense, especially for smaller restaurants. Additionally, any technical issues that arise may require costly repairs or maintenance. One of the important things to know is that the cost of digital menu boards has come down dramatically in the past several years. Screen technology in particular has become more and more affordable.

For more information on a cost breakdown, read our article How Much Do Digital Menu Boards Cost?


Pros: Digital menu boards can provide added value to customers by displaying eye-catching visuals, highlighting specials, and providing a more personalized experience. With the ability to update in real-time, you can ensure that your menu is always up-to-date and relevant. We have found that restaurant operators who understand how to schedule content effectively have had the best results. Operators once thought in “day parts” and now they should think in “moment-to-moment parts”.

Cons: While digital menu boards can enhance the dining experience for many customers, some may perceive them as impersonal or lacking a personal touch. The absence of a physical menu may make certain individuals feel disconnected from the traditional dining experience they are accustomed to. Customers are becoming much more comfortable with digital menu boards as they are becoming a bigger part of the landscape.


Pros: Restaurant digital menu boards provide a visually appealing way to showcase your menu. With the ability to display high-quality images and animations, you can entice customers to try new items and highlight your most popular dishes. 

Cons: Overly complex or distracting visuals can detract from the actual food being served. It’s important to strike a balance between eye-catching visuals and clear, concise information. We have found that sometimes ambient animation such as steam off a hot item is just the right touch to bring a menu to life. People sometimes have the tendency to want to show all sorts of videos. This can be very distracting and actually take away from the experience.

Read 12 Tips for Digital Menu Boards for more information on proper presentation of digital menus.


Pros: Digital menu boards are easy to update and manage from a central location. With the ability to make changes in real-time, you can respond quickly to changes in inventory or menu offerings. SmarterSign was designed for the average person to be able to take complete control of their digital signage. It usually only takes minutes to learn how to make the most common changes.

Cons: Any technical issues with digital menu boards can cause frustration for both customers and staff. In addition, training staff on how to use and manage digital menu boards may require additional time and resources. It is also important to have the right Digital Menu Board partner who can provide the expertise and support you need to avoid frustration.


Pros: One of the greatest advantages of digital menu boards is their ability to adapt quickly to changes in the business environment. Whether you need to update prices, introduce new items, or promote special offers, digital menu boards allow you to make changes in real-time. This flexibility enables you to stay agile and responsive to market demands, ensuring that your menu always reflects the latest offerings and provides an up-to-date experience for your customers.

Cons: While digital menu boards offer the advantage of quick changes, the process of updating and managing them can be time-consuming if not properly streamlined. This is particularly true if the software you are using is not designed to be used by the average person. At SmarterSign it has always been our mission to provide easy to use tools that anyone can use.

So there you have it.  Digital menu boards can provide many benefits to restaurants, and the challenges can be overcome with the right software partner. By considering the pros and cons of digital menu boards across these five categories, you can determine whether this technology is a good fit for your restaurant. Regardless of your decision, it’s important to ensure that your menu boards are visually appealing, well designed and easy to manage.