What’s that?

By ayr February 7, 2011

OK, if you’ve been by Harvard Square in the past few days you might have seen this thing and wondered what it was. If you’ve been reading this website for a long time you might have seen my early sketches (search for menu board).

So what is it? We have some special problems other restaurants don’t deal with, our menu changes all of the time. Not in a “here’s a holiday coffee” kind of way, or a “soup of the day” kind of way, but in much more serious shifts. So I’ve been thinking for a long timeabout how we will handle that as we grow larger. I love our whiteboards, but my employees think they are a complete hassle, and they’re not always as accurate as I’d like.

I started thinking that we could try to make an electronic menu board, one that reflects exactly what is available at any given time. Around the same time I started thinking about sharing real time data with customers, data about operations. And here we are. I’ve tried hard to make sure it looks like a menu board, not a TV. And that it is simple, not distracting. That’s a custom font, based on my whiteboard handwriting. Someday we hope to have each store manager create their own custom font.

It’s super experimental, but I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. Take a look at the sign when you come in. That little “X min” next to each item? That’s the time you should expect to have to wait if you order that item. It’s dynamic and changes throughout the day.

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