FDA regulations open door for menu board innovation

| by Bradley Cooper
FDA regulations open door for menu board innovation

The FDA recently put its foot down on menu labeling regulations for restaurant chains with 20 or more stores. The agency is now requiring these restaurants to display key nutritional information on their menus, such as calories, sodium and fat content. Although many restaurateurs have dreaded this day, it presents a key opportunity for digital menu board innovation and improving customer experience.

It's about transparency

At the Restaurant Franchising and Innovation Summit, panelists at a panel entitled "Is your franchise ready for the tech revolution?" discussed how many restaurateurs hate dealing with these new FDA regulations, however, these new rules create an opportunity for being more transparent.

Customers typically have an idea if an item is healthy or not. However, by providing this information openly on a menu board, you can help build trust with the consumer.

If you fail to provide this information, however, customers likely won't trust you. In a survey entitled, "The Global 2017 SAP Hybris Consumer Insights Report," 66 percent of respondents said they wanted their brands to be more transparent.

It's not just about meeting standards, it's about meeting customer expectations.

Key opportunity for digital menu boards

Brad Gardone, vice president of IT, Long John Silver's, pointed out during the tech panel how it can be a major pain to put stickers with nutritional information on static menu boards. With digital menu boards, however, Gardone said it was a piece of cake.

It's no secret that digital menu boards knock static ones out of the park for the following reasons:

  • You can update content remotely
  • You can make content pop with animations
  • You can easily display nutritional information
  • You can easily change content based on the time of day or specials
  • You can integrate with your other POS systems.

With these regulations, there is no better time than now to upgrade. While it can be expensive to deploy these solutions, eventually these boards will become the norm rather than the exception. You don't want to be left in the dust.

Improve customer experience

Menu boards don't just offer pretty pictures, they also help improve customer experience if you use them properly.

For example, let's say a lot of customers request gluten-free options at the point of sale. One way to help improve their experience is to display a gluten-free section of the menu in clear view.

Or if customers ask for a lot of custom orders, the menu could have a section that explains the various options customers can expect. You could also use the menu board or another display in the restaurant to display the average wait time based on the current traffic.

The menu board can also be integrated with your POS and kitchen stock, so it can be updated based on availability or lack thereof of key ingredients. If you run out of hot sauce, for example, the menu board can temporarily take the item off the menu to help reduce customer complaints.

There are countless ways to use menu boards and digital signage in general to improve customer service and experience. This is why restaurants should look at these FDA regulations not as an annoyance but as an opportunity to stand out.

Image via Istock.com.

Topics: Customer Experience, Display Technology, Menu Boards, Restaurants

Companies: Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit

Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper is a Technology Editor for DigitalSignageToday.com. His background is in information technology, advertising, and writing.

wwwView Bradley Cooper's profile on LinkedIn

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