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Menu Board Ins and Outs

Interior and Exterior Menu Board Considerations & Myths

As you develop a comprehensively branded, effective and environment-worthy set of digital display menu boards, you will have a few factors to accommodate which are specific to restaurants and quick serve restaurants.

“Cohesive branding is a given, well within the capabilities of any professional sign shop. But sunlight can change an otherwise perfectly readable menu board into a foggy mess, unless you understand nits.”

You’ve got the indoor displays mastered. A cable drop, media player set, properly rated screens (16/7 or 24/7) and font sizes and images easy to digest.  Now comes the drive through menu system. Here’s what you need to know:

 Photo Credits: Toby Stephens, DSCE

Brightness: Your exterior menu boards, which will be properly housed in a purpose built enclosure complete with air cooling elements and sun shields, will have to be brighter than your typical indoor commercial screen. Plan on double the NITS you have for your indoor displays. (YOU know what nits are, you are in the sign industry!) Indoor units are anywhere between 200 nits and 350 nits, traditionally. Nit ratios are not 1 to 1. In other words, great brightness is seen in screens of 400 to 700 nits. A “super bright” screen with 1500 nits is not three times brighter than one with 400 nits.  You may not even notice a difference between 700 nits and 2000 nits!

The enclosure: This structure is manufactured specifically for outdoor menu board systems, and commands a hefty price tag. This is because not only must it withstand the elements itself, but it must keep the interior temperature moderated, and must protect vital elements from salt air, corrosion, and even vandalism. You will require electrical to the site, poured footings per wind-load engineering specs, and should strive to place the drive through system where more shade falls.

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