COMMENTARY

Digital signage makes FDA compliance easy

| by Jeff Hastings
Digital signage makes FDA compliance easy

This May the FDA's long-awaited menu-labeling regulations went into effect, following a one-year reprieve intended to give restauranteurs more time to become compliant. This legislation is far-reaching, requiring restaurant chains with 20 or more locations to display nutritional information on their menus to help customers make healthful, informed choices. While these new rules squarely affect fast casual chains, the regulations are far-reaching in that they apply not just to fast casual, but to other chain locations offering food service such as movie theaters, convenience stores and even vending machines.

Fortunately for these chains, in-restaurant digital signage dramatically reduces the work required to comply with these new regulations. Rather than tear down and replace traditional signage, in most cases it's a simple matter of pushing new content to restaurants' digital signage networks.

And in many cases, this legislation was the catalyst that drove restaurants to make the leap to digital. Consequently, digital signage is more prevalent in restaurants than ever before. Restaurants that invest in a 4K-ready signage network are ideally positioned to thrive in the face of these new regulations. Squeezing detailed nutritional data onto a single screen becomes much easier when high-res source files are pushed to a 4K display.

Digital menu boards have evolved far beyond their initial function as a passive way for restaurants to display their menus. Content can be updated quickly via a tablet interface to adjust the menu in real time as specials are added and depleted menu items are removed. Restaurants can also queue up promotional deals to run at happy hour and other pre-determined times. In short, savvy restauranteurs are using digital menu boards as dynamic marketing tools to drive additional revenue.

Restaurants are also using other technologies to boost the customer experience, such as kiosks that enable patrons to order their meals without the need for a cashier.  Outdoor displays improve drive-through experience, and back-of-house digital signage can train employees and streamline kitchen efficiency. Digital signage is even part of the entertainment experience by delivering live TV and streaming music services. Restaurants are constantly finding new ways to enhance the dining experience with audio and video delivered via media players.

For restaurant chains that already embrace digital signage, incorporating nutritional information is quite simple. In fact, many chose to comply with the new menu-labeling regulations long before compliance was mandatory.

For restaurants that aren't yet compliant, fear not: digital menu board hardware costs are manageable, and intuitive authoring tools now make content creation and publishing a very straightforward process. Now more than ever, there's really no excuse for restaurants not to go digital. Regulatory compliance aside, integrating digital signage into the restaurant experience is a win-win for restaurants and customers alike.

Image via Istock.com


Topics: 4K Ultra HD, Hardware, Menu Boards, Outdoor Signage, Restaurants



Jeff Hastings
BrightSign CEO Jeff Hastings joined BrightSign in August 2009 while it was still a division of Roku Inc. In late 2010 with digital signage activities growing so rapidly, BrightSign became a separate firm. The holder of eight U.S. patents, he also has a history of tech industry leadership, including as president of mp3 pioneer Rio. www

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