Ensuring Digital Menu Board uptime is one of the most important aspects of this unique medium.
Your menus are tools to drive revenue, and as such, they need to be up and running with the appropriate content on the screen, at all times the restaurant is open.
This blog post is written to help better explain how to create digital menus with the best uptime possible. Here we go!
Have a Robust Internet Connection
Enterprise Digital Menu Board deployments use the internet to deliver content to the many restaurants in the network. It’s important to have a robust internet connection at your site. Some sites even use cellular or satellite data technology to back up content delivery in the case of land line internet outages, or in rural areas where wired service is unavailable.
Don’t Use Streaming Services
Using media players that store content and continue to play when the internet goes down is better for content uptime than solutions using streaming services where the content must be flowing over the network to play.
Configure Your Firewalls Carefully
The security of your menu boards is also a high priority checklist item. If you use firewalls on your store network, you’ll need to carefully configure the access to the media players so they can function. Media players need to be protected from hacking or denial of service attacks, just like the other computers in your operation. It sounds funny, but displays should also be “locked down” so, for example, a person with a remote control can’t turn off your displays or change the input, causing a content outage condition in the restaurant.
Be Strategic When Making Software Updates
As with all software, updates are regularly made by software developers. The media player–and today’s sophisticated displays– each may have software updates to be installed periodically. These should be performed remotely, without any staff intervention. They should be done during off hours, so there is no impact on the operation of the boards during business hours.In the case of 24/7/365 restaurants, they should be performed one board at a time, during the least busy daypart.
Prepare for Display Fails
Media players and displays are both extremely reliable these days. However, we all know machines do fail on occasion. Working with top vendors, you’ll have access to a variety of support plans for diagnosing and troubleshooting equipment and software. You’ll also have choices of service plans, including onsite technician visits, advance exchanges for displays and media players.
Redundancy between media players (also known as “Failover” configurations) is also great temporary backup solutions for when equipment fails and you are waiting for a technician to arrive, or for an overnight delivery of a replacement display or media player covered by an Advance Exchange service contract. If a Failover-enabled display goes out, the content of that display can play on the display next to it. If a Failover-enabled media player goes out, its neighbor will take over the display it was driving and menu content will continue uninterrupted.
If you’re experiencing many issues with uptime be sure to contact your digital menu provider immediately. Often times there is a simple solution but there are instances where it may mean you are overdue for a hardware refresh or there has been a change in your security or software that is preventing menus from displaying properly.
The bottom line is if you’ve installed your digital menus optimally you should be seeing a high uptime. And if you continue to see repeated digital menu failures, be sure to reach out to your menu boards partner to develop a fix.