The average restaurant today spends thousands of dollars printing menus each year. Thousands of more dollars are spent on a POS and kitchen order management systems. More money is spent on credit card terminal equipment and fees plus and don’t forget the inventory management system. Added to all these costs, are traditional print marketing and digital media costs. When you add up all these costs they become a substantial part of the overhead and operating costs of every restaurant.
Now imagine for a moment that an iPad or tablet could become the Menu, Wine and Alcohol List, Point of Purchase (at the table) Marketing Device, POS and Kitchen Order and Management Device, Credit Card Terminal, Inventory Management and Digital Media Marketing device. Once you consider the possibilities of an integrated digital menu strategy you can see that iPads and tablets will eventually replace the traditional printed restaurant menu and much more – it’s only a matter of time.
What about cost you say? Aren’t tablets expensive compared to printed menus. True equipping a restaurant with digital menus or at the table devices is costly, however the costs are often mitigated by the productivity, efficiency, marketing and control enhancements offered by digital technology.
As tablets and smart phones continue to become mainstream, substantial cost savings will be realized by offering a Virtual Menu option in the form of an App. Just like streaming media or digital newspapers, magazines and blogs, with a purely digital menu solution there is no printing or shipping cost involved. Digital menus can be changed daily or even adjusted hourly for last minute specials.
Got excess inventory of fresh produce or fish for example, which is going to spoil if it doesn’t move in the next 48 hours, we’ll with a digital menu, you can instantly create a Splash Feature Page or special to promote those items.
As the costs of tablets go down and technology continues to improve you will see more restaurant throwing away their printed menus in favor of digital or virtual App menu solutions.
Digital menus and Virtual menu apps are not just for the future, they’re already being used today in a tech savvy restaurants across the globe. Digital menus are the way of the future and here to stay the question is how are restaurants going to leverage this new technology and how rapidly is it going to grow and develop.
Here are some examples of digital menus currently being used in Restaurants today, several which are in Canada.