All Things You Need Know about Using Digital Menu Boards at Your Drive Thru

With 2020 being a year of major changes in our diaries and calendars, drive-thru restaurant digital menu boards seem to have struck the chord with major restaurant brands such as McDonald’s and Starbucks. They reported more than 90% of their sales through this medium in the second quarter of 2020.

With this, many huge brands in the restaurant sector like Chipotle, Shake Shack, Panera Bread and Wawa have announced their major investments in drive-thru restaurant digital menu boards.

Approximately 75% of all QSR offer Drive-Thru digital menu boards.

But what is a drive-thru digital menu board you may ask?

Have you seen those menu boards that you see outside a restaurant with a separate lane such that diners place their order from the car itself and collect it once ready? Well those menu boards are drive-thru digital menu boards – as the name clearly suggests. Customer engagement and convenience are a top priority for every business and these menu boards offer exactly that.

What are the real benefits of digital signage at the drive thru?

digital menu boards for drive thru

Easy to view anytime of a day or night

The drive thru menu boards are built to withstand the test of time and weather. There are digital signage that are designed keeping this factor in mind making it easy for them to be accessed from any digital signage hardware provider.

Cost-effective since they are a one time investment

Since drive-thru menus help you drive your sales more, their ROI surpasses the investment that goes in having them. By going for a named brand for your hardware and an easy to use software, you can offer a seamless order process to your customers making your place their go to for prompt orders.

Easy to update as and when needed

Unlike paper menus that ask for reprints, digital menu boards are far easy to manage. Any updates can be easily made be it price or food item. Any error made in the prices can also be instantly corrected. This is not offered by paper menus, making it a traditional and redundant way to get orders from customers in a restaurant.

Designed keeping the safety and convenience of users in mind

A customer does not have to park their car, come to your restaurant, wait to place their order, wait for the order to get prepared and have it. The simple process with a drive-thru menu board is that they simply place their order from the menu displayed outside and pay for it through the pick-up window. 

drive thru signage qr order and pay

To make it even better and safe, DotSignage offers the ability of having QR codes on their digital boards. The link of our online ordering solution can be converted into a QR code and placed on menu boards outside on drive-thru board. Customers can simply scan the code, access the menu from there mobile, place the order and pay for it. This can be done if the restaurant has its own website ordering solution. DotSignage offers both website ordering solution as well as the ability to have a QR code for it. 

Prompt offers can be pushed or pre-scheduled as and when needed

This is definitely a perk for restaurants to go for drive-thru menu boards. Operational efficiency is a very important factor driving the success of a restaurant. With digital menu boards, the task of updating the menu is eased out making you focus on other important things.

More engaging since they can be used to display videos or animated promotions

Beautifully designed offers and promotions tend to grab more attention of users and digital drive thru menu boards add on to it due to their placement that everyone has access to. This helps restaurants to increase their order value with these offers thus leading to more sales and revenue.

Drive-thru lead to more order value since a lot of it goes on impulse purchase when fries, cookies, brownie or coke are being offered for free!! Who doesn’t want them?!

Factors that work in favor for drive-thru menu boards

Convenience: With a fast paced life that we lead, it’s obvious that by the end of the day, all we want is some good food and quality time with family. If you are planning to order food from a restaurant, it is much easier for you to pick it up on your way. However, the very part where you park your car, go to the restaurant, place an order, wait and grab all of it sounds tiring.

With drive-thru menu boards, all you need to do is place your order, sit in the car and wait for it to get ready.

Speed: Drive-thru offer a speed paced ordering making customer order on their feet instead of spending too much time thinking what to order. Besides, whosoever goes for a drive-thru order is either desperately hungry and wants to get served quickly. With drive-thru, the speed is speeden up leading to a better turnaround of orders and customer satisfaction.

Safety: Desperate times require desperate(and safe) measures. With drive-thru menu boards, customers are saved from coming into contact with the dining premises since they are seated in their car itself. Restaurants can opt to go for payments through online modes or QR code scans instead of cash collection that was uptil now a mode of payment for drive-thru.

Types of outdoor drive-thru digital menu boards?

There are normally Single, Double and Triple screen kinds of outdoor drive-thru menu boards.

Which kind to go for mostly depends on the size of your menu and the way you are planning to use them to display offers and promotions. A single screen can be used for both but having two is always better. To have a third one would be a cherry on the cake but make sure it’s worth it.

It is always best to connect with a digital signage hardware manufacturer that knows all about the kinds of mounts to go for these drive-thru digital menu boards. When it comes to software to manage this, DotSignage is a solution provider that can work well with all kinds of needs of digital menu boards along with drive-thru.

Why do you need outdoor-rated hardware for drive-thru?

When it comes to menu boards to go for a drive-thru one must consider elements like weather, temperature control and lighting cause unline indoor TV screens or signage, these screens go through a very different treatment from factors that cannot be in our control all the time like weather. With snowfall, rains or bright sun shining, you need to make sure that your hardware is resilient to all these factors or else it would turn out to be a huge maintenance.

Below are the listed features to have in a top rated outdoor hardware for drive-thru:

– Must to have an anti-reflective display coating

– Should have an integrated heater as well as cooling system

– Built-in media player

– Needs to have High Brightness Display of minimum 2500 NITS Should have IP55 Aluminium enclosure and Ventilation

How to decide which type of drive-thru digital menu board to go for?

To decide which kind of menu board to go for, have a close look at your menu as well as the number of menu items. A few questions to consider while deciding:

– Will a single screen work for your entire menu to display as well as offers?

– Where will the drive-thru menu be placed?

– Do you have enough space to have a lane as well as menu boards to be placed?

– What will be the size of the menu board such that it’s not big or small to have a look at?

It is ideal to have only 15-20 menu items on a single screen so please consider having screens based on the number unless you are planning to make it difficult for the customers to read it.

How can you manage menu updates?

You will need a robust software solution provider that works with the hardware you go with. Make sure you understand the software and are able to fully use it and understand it.

Your hardware should have an in-built media player. If you go for DotSignage digital signage software, you will need Android hardware or you can go to have an Android fire stick or Amazon box.

Wondering what is a Digital Signage software?

A digital signage software is a tool using which you can create digital menus or use created designs to remotely update them on the display screens with ease. With DotSignage digital signage software, you can easily create menus from provided templates. You can also pre-schedule them as needed. Content like videos, images as well as HTML can be supported with DotSignage Digital Signage software.

Example of digital drive thru menu boards Design that work

1. Welcome screen

welcome screen display in drive thru

2. Easy to read menu

qsr menu display in drive thru lane

Small fonts of menu items make it difficult to read and this can get very frustrating for the customers. Make sure that your menus are easy to read and display good images making a customer stop to place orders.

Menus that are difficult to read lead to delay in order placement, unhappy customers as well as poor feedback despite you offering good food.

3. Highlight special offer on Food

show your special food on menu boards

We hope this is enough information to help you get an idea on using Digital Signage in Drive-thru. Are you looking to learn more about drive-thru or planning to have them at your restaurant? Please send us an email at and we will answer all the queries/questions you might have.

Smit Nebhwani

Smit Nebhwani is a tech entrepreneur with expertise in successfully building SAAS based products. Boasting over a decade of experience in the startup sector, he takes pleasure in sharing valuable insights on all facets of SAAS products. His extensive experience in the digital signage sector has established him as a reputable authority in the industry, and he channels this expertise through some valuable content. In his free time, Smit enjoys music, travelling and spending time with his family.

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