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Ronal Infante Transdisciplinary Design Lead
Digital / Physical / Service

Six dynamic restaurant menu boards using a custom WordPress CMS

“@Sammy’s brings together several delicious concepts to the Rice Student Center.”
Six restaurant concepts can be found @Sammy’s: Grillosophy, In the Loop, Use Your Noodle, Whoo Deli, 4.Taco, and Parliament of Chefs. Each concept had a logo developed by a previously-hired graphic designer. My job was to take each logo and expand its theme into a unique, dynamic menu design that would be projected on a monitor for guest orders.

Commercial menu board software proved to be frustrating and ineffective due to the client’s strict network restrictions. Thus, I was hired to build a locally-hosted system of menus. The database and all of the files were stored on an in-house computer, instead of on an online server. I installed a custom WordPress Multisite CMS that allows staff to update each menu item without interacting with code. The Multisite installation allows staff to effortlessly switch between restaurants to modify/add/delete menu data.

Each restaurant is functionally different: some have fixed menu items sold à la carte, some have a different menu based on the day of the week, and some have menu items that dependent on rotating chefs. Thus, I focused on homogenizing the user’s data entry experience as much as possible by using similar layouts and features. Many data entry features are consistent across all restaurants and the dynamic elements are simple and intuitive. Each menu item can be edited and rearranged using drag and drop functionality. Where relevant, the entire week’s menus are available to be customized with ease. Furthermore, each menu’s WordPress theme includes certain design elements that can be modified by the user.

This project proved to be a challenge but I’m thrilled with the results. It has been a pleasure to work with the many people who have contributed to making this system truly one-of-a-kind. Be sure to follow @diningatsammys and @4pointTaco for delicious updates!