From TV to Menu Boards: A Step-by-Step Guide for Restaurant Businesses

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A TV menu board shows colorful burger images in a QSR takeaway counter


As most restaurant businesses look to ditch their chalkboards and print menus for a dynamic digital menu board, many also take a step back thinking of investments.

Shouldn’t these hardware be costly?

Not always.

The best part about any digital signage software is that you can turn even your modest household television into a signage. The same goes for digital menu boards.

While commercial screens offer better image clarity and resolution, digital TV menu boards can be as good as these if you choose the right software.

How to use your TV as a restaurant menu board?

Creating a digital menu board on TV requires a combination of:

  • Hardware setup

  • Software configuration

  • Content creation & management

Let’s understand the steps one by one:

A. Hardware Setup

The hardware setup involves everything from buying the TVs up until downloading the menu board software on your device.

  1. Presenting your restaurant menu on TV means having one in the first place. While any Smart TV can work, a minimum of 55-inch TV size is generally recommended for restaurant TV menu boards.

  2. Your Smart TVs will come with an in-built media player, so the additional step of purchasing digital signage players will not be necessary. If your TV doesn’t have Smart features, you must buy external media players like Amazon Fire TV Stick, Android Player box, Mini PCs, etc.

  3. Next, connect your menu board TV to an internet source like Wi-Fi or Ethernet. Once connected, there may be an additional control setup (that varies between the TV brand and model. You can refer to your TV manual for that.)

B. Software Configuration

The digital signage software or the menu board software is the application that will successfully impart dynamic functionalities to your restaurant TV.

Every software application will require some common steps for the software setup. However, some granular details may vary.

Here’s an example of how to set up the Pickcel application to convert any Smart TV into a restaurant menu board:

  1. First, go to your Smart TV app store (before buying the software, check if your software is supported on your Smart TV device) and search for your menu board app. Install it on your device.

  2. After you register for free with Pickcel, you will be able to access the dashboard of your content management system.

Try For Free A laptop screen shows the Pickcel digital signage software application login page
Image : The Pickcel digital signage software console login screen
  1. You need to remotely pair your TV with Pickcel. It’s a simple step that works somewhat like pairing two devices using bluetooth.
A restaurant digital menu TV shows the Pickcel screen registration code for remote screen pairing
Image : A restaurant TV menu board shows a unique alpha-numeric screen registration
  1. In the next step, if you already have images & videos for your TV menu board, then you can simply import those files & create an excellent composition that you can publish immediately or schedule for later.
A screenshot of the Pickcel digital TV menu software dashboard shows different options to add/create media
Image : A screenshot of the Pickcel dashboard showing different Media adding & creation options
  1. However, if you want to create a dynamic restaurant menu on your TV, you can use the Pickcel digital menu board app (we’ll discuss it in the next step). The app offers exciting features like adding QR codes, labeling menu items & advanced visual customizations.

C. Creating Content for Your Restaurant TV Menu Boards

High-quality restaurant TV menu board templates from the Pickcel Menu Board app
Image : The Pickcel digital menu board app houses tons of exciting food menu designs

There are many ways to design your menus. You can use external graphic design tools, or if your menu board software offers an in-built design tool, nothing like it! For example, Pickcel offers its users multiple ways to create and publish menu designs on its restaurant TVs.

  • They can import files from their local storage

  • Create attractive menus using Pickcel’s in-built graphic design tool Artboard

  • Create dynamic and interactive menu boards using the Pickcel Digital Menu Board app

  • Use 1M+ free stock images

Here, let’s show you how to design your digital TV menu board with the Pickcel app.

  1. Go to the Apps Module in the dashboard and search for the Menu Board App.

  2. Once you click on the app, you can start designing; you can use our attractive templates or start from scratch. And when your design is ready, and you love it in the preview, simply save it and publish it.

Advantages of using TV as a menu board

The following are the benefits of transforming from a TV to a digital menu board for businesses:

1. Cost-effective

The cost of a digital menu board comes down when you use a TV screen instead of any commercial signage display. Businesses can utilize an existing TV on-site instead of buying a new display, helping save time and funds.

For instance, the LG 55" Class 4K UHD 2160P webOS Smart TV costs $400. Whereas, the LG 55” UR340C Series UHD Commercial TV will costs around $850.

2. Easy setup

Unlike some commercial displays, setting up a menu TV is relatively easy and requires no technical expertise. If your TV is a smart TV, you will not need any external media player. All you have to do is choose a suitable digital signage software, download the application on your TV from the app store, and pair your displays to the content management system (as outlined above).

3. Good for ROI assessment

TVs are widely available and can be found in any electronic retailer. This makes it easier for businesses to find a TV that fits their needs and budget quickly. TV menu boards are also an excellent option for school cafeterias, food trucks, local cafes & QSRs to gauge the digital signage ROIs. Without investing much, they can try out the features of their menu board software, practically experiment with the menu designs and assess their effectiveness before investing in a full-blown restaurant digital signage network.

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Disadvantages of using TV as a menu board

Non-commercial TV displays come with their own set of downsides:

1. Limited functionality

TVs run on limited capacities; TV menu boards often cannot display high-resolution graphics such as 3D images or heavy video files and support advanced options such as flash updates or interactivity features. A restaurant franchise wanting to add interactive elements to its digital menu board cannot do so on a TV and may need more commercial hardware.

2. Lack of durability

When investing in TVs for digital menu boards, considering the warranty is essential to protect your investment. A standard TV warranty typically lasts for one to two years, but extended warranties can offer additional peace of mind.

TV menu boards may not be sustainable as these are prone to normal wear and tear and have a maximum average life span of 7 years. In contrast, the shelf life of many commercial displays can go as high as 11 years. Another key difference between TV & commercial screens is that the former is not built for prolonged use. So, if your menu board TV is operational for 12 hours or above, it may quickly prostrate.

3. Cannot support interactivity

Many restaurants like to offer self-service to their customers through touch-points like interactive digital menu boards. Similarly, if you want your menu boards to be accessible to the differently-abled, such as by incorporating haptic touch sensors or voice outputs, a TV display will be unqualified.

3 Best TVs for digital menu boards in 2023

When choosing a TV for a digital menu board, businesses should consider the TV’s size, resolution, and features. In 2023, some of the best TVs for digital menu boards are:

Samsung QN90A Neo QLED

samsung LED TV
Image : Samsung

An ideal solution for a TV menu board due to its high resolution and refresh rate, the Samsung QN90A Neo QLED, offers the much-in-demand 4K resolution. Restaurants can use these to display menus on TV, festive or season specials, ongoing and upcoming promotions, and other relevant information, providing an outstanding visual experience for customers.

Additionally, the TV offers an ambient mode capable of showcasing pictures, videos, and GIFs even while not connected to power.

The cost of purchase and installation ranges between $1,800 to $3,500, depending on the screen size, however varying according to the location.


Image : LG

The LG CX OLED is a high-end model suitable for displaying restaurant menus on TV screens. It has various built-in features like voice controls, Wi-Fi compatibility, and multiple HDMI ports that can enhance the TV menu board functionality.

With a quick refresh rate and a wide-angle view, this display is ideal for showing detailed menu information such as ingredients in the food, calories, season-specific benefits, etc.

The LG CX OLED has a starting price of $1400, varying according to the advanced features of the models.

Vizio M-Series Quantum

vizio Smart TV
Image : Vizio

The Vizio M-series is a budget-friendly TV menu board option that comes with a 4K resolution. The television uses SmartCast technology, allowing users to control their digital TV menu board from their mobile phones using screen-mirroring instead of remote control.

The series also features a built-in Google Chromecast, allowing users to cast graphics and catalogs stored in their Google accounts on mobile devices to the TV. Additionally, displays come with a voice control function, enabling users to easily control and manage what shows up on their menu TVs.

The price range varies between $400 and $800, making it affordable and accessible for local cafes or QSRs.

Generally speaking, when selecting a TV for digital menu boards, understanding the differences between LCD, LED, and Plasma is crucial. LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) TVs are typically more affordable and widely available. They offer decent picture quality but may lack the brightness and energy efficiency of other types. LED (Light Emitting Diode) TVs, a subtype of LCD, use backlighting, resulting in brighter displays, better contrast, and energy efficiency.

On the other hand, Plasma TVs, known for their excellent color accuracy and high contrast, are heavier, more power-hungry, and prone to screen burn-in, making them less suitable for static digital menu displays.

Given these factors, LED TVs are generally recommended for their balance of cost, performance, and durability

From Saucers to Screens: TV menu boards are a welcome change!

We must admit that technology has penetrated our daily lives in a way we can no longer live without it. And businesses can make the correct use of it. Digital signage solutions have largely democratized business digital transformation. Today, even the most petite cafe on the quietest street can capture the passerby’s attention with dynamic food videos running on a modest domestic TV menu board. So, if you are tight on the budget, you can always invest in a powerful and user-friendly digital signage software and make the most of your home television. However, consider the limitations mentioned above to keep the counter-productiveness in check.

If you want to learn more about how digital menu board software can benefit your business, contact our team at Pickcel, and we will be delighted to give you a free consultation-cum-demo session on our software.

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Shivangi Chatterjee

Shivangi writes for Pickcel. She consumes knowledge on the world of business & marketing at the same rate she consumes her cups of coffee. When she is not writing, you will find her reading books, grooving to music or admiring art.

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