Many digital signage companies offer great-looking screens that seem like they would work well for your foodservice operation. After all, they specialize in digital signage, right? They must have screens that will make your menus look mouthwatering and attractive.

However, don’t jump the gun on buying from these providers too quickly, because in reality, their solutions are more likely to harm (not help) you in the long run.

Let’s take a look at three key reasons why:

General purpose signage is just that: general.

It may seem obvious, but when a product is created for general use instead of specific situations or people in mind, you’re likely to run into problems when you need more than what the product has to offer

For example, think of an average SUV versus an off-road vehicle. While an SUV like a Chevy Suburban or Honda Pilot will certainly get you to many places both in the city and outside of it, it’s not cut out for more extreme off-roading conditions. 

So if you love adventuring to destinations off the beaten path, your best choice is a tough, built-for-the-wild vehicle like a Toyota 4Runner or a Jeep Wrangler with all the right features and parts to get you where you want to go.

The same is true for digital signage solutions that are built for general purposes like event presentations or airport signs, versus those that are made specifically with foodservice operators and customers in mind.

And on that note…

Generic digital signage doesn’t cater to the needs of operators.

At first glance, digital signage made for general purposes may seem appealing to you. These boards might already be in use around other parts of your campus, or they might have designs or layouts that seem like an easy, attractive way to display your menus. 

Unfortunately, generic digital signage solutions do not focus on creating the best operator experience. They don’t make it a delight to deliver your menus, and if anything, can make this process even harder in the long term.

General purpose digital signage isn’t created with your database of foods, menus, and nutritional information in mind. This means you often have to manually enter this information or create cumbersome processes to regularly export and import this data, which ends up costing you time. For example, what happens when you run out of coleslaw before the end of the day? Who is going to update those screens, and how?  

General purpose digital signage doesn't work for foodservice

Generic signage makes it difficult to streamline and improve your digital signage processes. In addition to wasting time on manual data entry, you risk having your specific foodservice needs not supported at all, such as a lack of menu cycling features or proper FDA compliance.

Sure, generic digital signage can provide some support for operators -- you might even be able to integrate your menu planning and data software. But since these solutions aren’t natively built with such software in mind, you’re likely to run into syncing problems or even editing issues where your data can’t be changed before it appears in front of customers.

General purpose digital signage doesn’t provide the best customer experience.

Speaking of customers, generic digital signage doesn’t do them any favors, either. While you as an operator are suffering on the backend with non-foodservice signage, your customers are going to see a poor frontend situation, too.

For example, many digital signage solutions that aren’t built for foodservice provide basic layouts and templates that don’t allow you to display your menus the way you want. In fact, in order to customize these templates, you often have to pay the vendor to design them for you. When you can’t control what your menus look like, you risk showing customers an outdated style or even a broken template.

Additionally, as we saw above, you might unintentionally display inaccurate information to customers if your menu data doesn’t sync properly or stay up-to-date. These factors make a poor impression on customers, and can lead to lower satisfaction and trust in your operation.

If you want a digital signage experience that’s done right, ask yourself key questions about what you need, and quantify the value it could bring to your operation. Not sure where to start? Check out this post where we outline three initial steps for picking your digital signage!