you are looking to buy a menu system for your
place of business, some of the options and terminology
might get a bit confusing. What, for example,
is a magnetic trackless menu system? Or a backlit
static cling menu system? The purpose of this
article is to outline the basic things you'll
need to consider when buying a menu system, and
to point out the relative advantages and disadvantages
(Front Lit • Back Lit • Non-illuminated)
Front Lit, Our Specialty! -
Front lit menu boards make use of external light
fixtures that are normally attached to the frame
of the menu board. Our light fixtures are non-glare
spotlights. Front lit menu boards tend to be
easier to access and update than back lit menus,
and they are usually optional, you can choose
non-illuminated if the area is lit by other sources.
In addition, lights can be added or subtracted
at a later date if lighting requirements change.
Back lit - Back lit menu boards
contain internal light fixtures and translucent
(see-through) graphics. Back lit boards tend
to be more expensive, less flexible in terms
of design and layout, and prone to light leakage.
Although the look is
often dramatic and eye-catching, they
are also more costly to maintain and front lit
menu boards can look equally appealing.
Non-illuminated - Non-illuminated
menu boards do not require illumination. In well-lit
environments, lighting may not be a necessary
component of your menu system.
Technology (Magnetics •
Track Systems • Static Cling • Full
Magnetic - Magnetic menu boards
consist of magnetic graphics and menu strips that
adhere to metal boards or boards with metal properties.
Magnetic menu boards are easy to update and highly
flexible in terms of design and layout. They are
also easy and inexpensive to maintain. Though
easy to maintain, menu strips and price digits
can look sloppy if applied in a careless manner.
Track systems - Track systems
are common in backlit menu boards. In a track
system, graphics and menu strips slide into "tracks"
that are built into the menu face. The main advantage
of track systems is that they are conducive to
internal illumination. On the negative side, they
offer limited design flexibility, they can be
costly to maintain and they often produce light
Static Cling - Static Cling
systems contain non-permanent elements that "cling"
to menu board graphics. Normally, the static cling
option is only used for price digits, since it
would be unwieldy and difficult to work with static-cling
menu strips. They offer a good solution for price
updates on backlit menu boards, but their usefulness
tends to end there. They can look sloppy if not
handled with extreme care.
Full Graphics - Full graphics
are useful when menu and price changes can be
kept to a minimum. With a full-graphic system,
all images, menu items and prices are part of
a single printed graphic. This option provides
for a great degree of design flexibility, but
a new graphic will need to be ordered each time
there is a menu change (unless static cling prices
are being used). Full Graphics are a popular option
among chains and franchises that have uniform
pricing across multiple locations.
(Stainless Steel • Wood
There are hundreds of materials that can be
used to make menu boards. Our focus is on three
of the most popular:
Stainless Steel - Stainless steel
is the primary menu board material used by IDS
Menus. It is highly-durable, rust-resistant, and
stylish. It has become our material of choice
due to its attractive appearance and high customer-approval
ratings. It offers a contemporary look, which
may not appeal to those seeking a more rustic-looking
menu system. However, when coupled with wood trim,
its design possibilities increase significantly.
Wood - Wood menu boards offer
a variety of color options and design possibilities.
However, as a primary construction material, wood
can be subject to warping and chipping.
Plastics are a very common primary
material in both indoor menu systems and drive-thrus.
They can be cost-effective (though not necessarily),
especially when ordering in high quantities. On
the downside, plastic menu boards and especially
drive-thrus tend to look rundown after a few years.
Cantilevered - Cantilevered boards
are angled to provide optimum visibility. IDS
menu boards are cantilevered at a 15¼ degree
angle unless we are otherwise instructed. Most
menu board companies do not offer a cantilevered
Wall-mounted - Wall-mounted menu
boards are mounted to walls using brackets and/or
Ceiling-hung - Ceiling-hung
menu boards are suspended from ceilings using
chains or wire. IDS menu boards can be ceiling
hung while maintaining a 15¼ cantilevered angle
vs. Individual Boards
Menu boards can be connected to form a finished
system, or they can stand alone. The IDS glide-rail
system connects boards to create a finished look
while allowing for changes to board size and total
number of boards. In addition, the IDS glide-rail
system can be equipped with spacers, end units
and corner units to create a complete, eye-catching
centerpiece for your place of business.
–To learn more about Choosing
a Menu System, call IDS today: 1-800-542-9779.