|Digital menu board at Neri's Restaurant, Koreatown, Los Angeles. Photo by Jamisin Matthews.|
The matter is complicated by the fact that digital systems can vary greatly in capabilities and cost. Some are just TV screens showing a digital file of a static menu. The menu changes only when you revise the digital file. If you go with this cheaper option, you'll get the up-to-date look of a digital menu. But you'll sacrifice some of the fancy dynamics you can get with systems for which you'll pay high startup costs and monthly maintenance fees. These might include moving or rotating images; real-time variable pricing, whereby prices change throughout the day in response to ebbs and flows in consumer demand; and the capacity to change offerings and promotions as often as the weather or current events. As you might guess, the most complex systems are more likely to be adopted by large chain restaurants. They have the budgets to start and sustain them and the impetus to vary menu contents and prices by hour and region.