We’ll list the most common menu types that you’ll see on most food trucks and why you should (and shouldn’t) use them. The menu is easy to see and easy to read. If it’s not, the truck made a mistake, and we’ll explain where they got it wrong.
Let’s get down to business and list them all.
Whiteboard and dry-erase markers
This is a modern, cheap and fast alternative to the chalkboard. Good handwriting is mandatory, and these whiteboards will eventually get smudged beyond repair. Please buy a new whiteboard after a while, or your customers will get confused by the smudged writing. People like to buy when it’s convenient, and any little problem might deter them. A customer that had to awkwardly ask what’s on the menu might not come back, no matter how good the food is. The other downside is that they seem kinda cheap compared to the blackboard or the laminated display.
The rustic, nostalgic choice is still used in 2019! You need to have perfect handwriting, but these boards usually last forever. Having cute drawings and a bit of calligraphy really draws customers in. It’s easier to do fancy drawings on a chalkboard than a whiteboard.
The one drawback is that you can’t let the blackboard get wet.
This is a great solution, just let a graphics designer take care of the menu and you’re done. You should be 100% certain that this is your menu, because you can’t change it after it gets laminated. It’s also more expensive than the whiteboard/blackboard method.
A big metal sheet you can either laser cut, engrave or print on will last a long, long time, but is very expensive compared to almost every other option. It looks really fancy and if that’s the image you’re going for, a big, serious sheet of steel is the best option. Be completely certain that this is what you want, because you can’t change it.
Letter boards are comparatively cheap and pretty. They can have a certain nostalgic vibe to them. They’re a great choice, and be sure to buy at least two. Most of the time, they come with approx. 300 letters you can use; having 2 boards not only lets you have a spare one when something breaks, but you get twice the characters. The only drawback is that you should always have at least two (or at least one extra spare in the back), and lots of spare letters.
Menu cards aren’t the best option. You have to hand them to the customer, and they have to take their time reading and deciding, instead of just looking at your big menu on the truck. Menu cards get damaged easily unless they’re laminated, and even those don’t last long enough. They’re not that expensive and can look gorgeous, but we feel they have more drawbacks than pros.
TV screens don’t look that great, but some food trucks can pull of the futuristic look. While new TVs can be expensive, finding used, working TVs under $100 is easy. You’ll need something that displays videos or pictures, and an Android smartbox works great. It’s practically a smart TV HDMI addon that you can configure with the remote, and it uses USB Flash memories. For under $200 you can have a working display that’ll display your menu, or even show video advertisements. There are a lot of downsides to this, though. TVs can seem tacky and deter some customers, the TV could get damaged and if it does, you better have a good chalkboard in the back.
You can mix and match any displays from these; having a TV that shows ads and the cooking process (some daring food trucks even install webcams in the truck and show how the food is made) while having a nicely written menu in chalk in front of the truck. This is the best option in our opinion because the strengths of one system can cover for the drawbacks of the other (eg. your TV dies but you still have your chalkboard).