Anyone who is in the food service industry, or who simply frequents any fast food restaurant, knows how rapidly their menus have been changing. Fast food giants have been competing at record paces to try and outdo the deals of their competitors. Wendy's rolled out a four for $5 deal where customers could get four select menu items for $5. Burger King countered with a five for $5 deal. McDonald's upgraded their McPick two for $2 menu that allowed customers a selection of small menu items for their McPick two for $5 with larger menu items.

With restaurants constantly trying to update to the latest consumer trend and adapting to what their customers are or aren't buying, it can be difficult to keep changing their menus. It's costly to replace them for a new promotion that may not last long, but customers won't be able to take advantage of offers they can't see.

For many organizations, digital menu boards offer a solution to that problem.

McDonalds goes digital for increased flexibility
According to Food Business News, McDonald's restaurants across the U.S. and Canada have been making the switch to digital menu boards, and have seen a 3 percent to 3.5 percent increase in sales ever since.  

Not only have these quick-changing boards been good for short-term promotions and during the testing phase for new products, but observant managers are able to make quick changes to appeal to different customers.

"Say you have a group of high school students that come in every day, Monday through Friday, at 3 o'clock," said Mike Andres, president of McDonald's USA. "You can reposition the menu board to help them buy what you'd like them to buy."

The company hopes to have these new menu boards installed in each of their restaurants by November to help boost sales and highlight the best options for their customers.

"Touch screen menus make ordering even easier for customers. "

Sonic makes digital menus interactive
Another organization that has been experimenting with the digital menu board trend is Sonic. According to QSR Web, the fast food drive-in intends to expand the services their boards offer. Touch screen menus make ordering even easier for customers. 

The boards also play videos that can help keep customers' attention while they wait, while also making purchasing suggestions. Once customers complete their orders, the menu can play advertisements for complementary products,like suggesting a milkshake for dessert.

As restaurants continue to investigate what these digital boards can offer, companies can find new ways to help boost sales and appeal to their customers in this modern digital age. 

Hospitality and restaurant industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, a nationwide provider of commercial lending solutions for small and mid-size businesses. Marlin's equipment financing and loan products are offered directly to businesses, and through third party vendor programs, which include manufacturers, distributors, independent dealers and brokers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.