How do digital menu boards work?

Understanding hardware and software concepts and use types to display dynamic menus on your digital menu board screens

WHAT ARE THE TECHNOLOGIES USED FOR DIGITAL MENU BOARDS?

You will traditionally find two types of digital menu board applications, outdoors and indoors. Most outdoor menu boards require ultra-bright screens and are oriented vertically while interior menu boards tend to use multiple screens and are laid out horizontally. For most part, screens used for menu boards applications must be suitable for 24/7/365 operation. This might explain why system-on-chip screens have become popular for these applications based on their relatively lower costs and their high degree of reliability.

Alternately, you may find Windows PCs running Navori Labs’ QL IPR player software to drive multi-screen installations. Dual-PC setups are also recommended for optimal reliability with one PC running the screens and a second unit as a backup media player. QL IPR is a perfect choice for this type of application since it supports up to 24 screens and can display unique content simultaneously on each screen.

For best results, we recommend using thin-bezel screens which provide a seamless canvas for large banners or video walls and synchronizing content across all screens.

WHAT TYPE OF CONTENT SHOULD I USE?

Generally, people display product shots and videos with product descriptions and pricing information. Prices are usually retrieved from a database such as a restaurant’s point-of-sale system. This ensures the information shown on screen is always accurate for each location. The whole point of using digital menu boards is to display dynamic content that is constantly updated.

HOW SHOULD I CREATE MY CONTENT?

QL’s Content Manager includes a user-friendly Template Designer app. The app’s interface was designed for casual users so anyone can create professional content in minutes. Graphic artists and web developers can also create content using HTML5 with QL delivering live data feeds to each screen for more advanced deployments.

WHY IS IT BETTER TO DELIVER GRAPHICS AND DATA SEPARATELY?

Here’s why you should always separate data from graphical elements when designing a digital menu board layout.

You get better control of your layouts and it’s easier to match corporate visual standards when you start with the graphical elements of each menu board. By layering live data on top of your graphics you can display product images, item names, ingredients, prices, and calories that are always up to date.

HOW TO ENSURE ONLY IN-STOCK ITEMS ARE SHOWN ON SCREEN

QL Player pulls POS server data dynamically so any item no longer in stock is automatically removed from the menu. When item are back in stock, they simply reappear on screen. This requires no manual intervention, so your menus are always 100% accurate.

In-stock Items Screen

HOW CAN I GIVE LOCAL STAFF MORE CONTROL OVER THEIR SCREENS?

QL Mobile is Navori’s answer to on-site screen control. With QL Mobile, staff members can modify what’s playing on their screens using a smartphone or tablet. Content can be triggered on-demand and left on screen for as long as needed which is great for instant promotions or when answering customer questions. They can also upload photos taken with their smartphone and instantly publish them on their screens. Store managers can use this feature to publish instant customer notices or for customer engagement purposes.

HOW CAN I MANAGE LIMITED TIME OFFERINGS?

Since QL Player interacts with a database in real-time, menus constantly adapt to show regular and promotional items. Whenever a promotion ends, or a new item is added, changes happen on-screen as soon as QL Player refreshes its data. You can also adjust at what frequency QL Player refreshes its data.

HOW DOES QL DEAL WITH DAY PARTING?

QL end-users define time slots for the various periods of the day and time slots can repeat daily or change depending on the store’s need. While some locations may want to display the same 3 time slots 7 days a week (breakfast, lunch, dinner), others may wish to display content that changes daily, or they may want to show different menus during the week and on weekends. QL can accommodate all these scenarios and more by assigning specific rules to individual content, such as a “happy hour” announcement that can only appear on specific days, and at specific times.

HOW DO I MAKE MY PROGRAMMING MORE DYNAMIC?

QL’s Dynamic Content Rules uses artificial intelligence capabilities to decide when certain items should show up on screen based on external data. Content can be shown based on stock levels, promotional status, or in the case of drive-through screens, show add-on items based on a customer’s order. You can also use environmental factors (temperature, weather, traffic levels, and more) to decide what gets shown on your screens. This technology operates in real-time, specific to each site, and is completely hands-free.

WHAT CAN COMPUTER VISION BRING TO DIGITAL MENU BOARDS?

Marketing analytics
Navori Labs’ AQUAJI marketing analytics platform uses computer vision and artificial intelligence for audience analysis. When interfaced with the QL digital signage software, AQUAJI can perform several useful tasks like adjusting a playlist according to customer time spent waiting. AQUAJI can also provide important metrics such as customer wait times so management can adjust staffing levels to meet corporate performance targets.

Knowing your customers
By scanning and analyzing your store’s traffic flow, AQUAJI can provide useful information about each customer’s demographic profile, and the time spent by each person visiting your store. This information is invaluable to marketing and planning managers.

Restaurant drive-through
AQUAJI can detect vehicle license plates and match them to POS data so drive-through menus can offer personalized choices based on past purchases. The software can also track time spent waiting which can be used to analyze employee performance.

Frequently Asked questions

WHAT IS A SYSTEM ON CHIP POWERED DIGITAL MENU BOARD?

In the digital signage world, it means a professional screen with an embedded media player running a digital signage software application such as Navori QL Player for Samsung SSSP, LG WebOS or Philips and Sony or Elo running Google Android

WHAT IS A MULTI-SCREEN CONFIGURATION POWERED BY A SINGLE PC AND NAVORI QL IPR?

It is an System on Chip alternative to deliver more sophisticated content such as multiple product videos being played simultaneously, or showing a video across up to 16 screens. This solution is a little more expensive than the SoC but displays much richer and more qualitative content.

WHAT IS A DYNAMIC MENU BOARD?

The menu which is displayed through several screens includes products, prices, caloric values and availability directly from the restaurant’s PoS system.

WHY USING COMPUTER VISION FOR YOUR DIGITAL MENU?

Aquaji computer vision software, produced by Navori, counts visitors, determines attendance statistics by time slot, determines media waiting time and, depending on audience demographics, adjusts the content of the digital menu board in real time.

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