Sophisticated Magnetic Dining Menus
By Kim Crowley
Printable magnets and accessories offer a high-quality finished product with simplified installation and alterations. Magnetic media is either a pre-magnetized or a magnetic-receptive substrate attracted to a magnetic surface.
With over 50 years of experience, Posterloid Corporation is a leader in magnetic signage systems and illuminated menus, especially in the concessions market. Operating with 100 employees in a 75,000 square foot facility in Long Island City, NY, the company provides signs and menu boards for most of the major concessionaires in the U.S.
The use of digitally printed magnets in menu signage revolutionized the industry, according to Eliot Cohen, design director, Posterloid. Prior to magnets, backlit signage was predominately used. “Suddenly people weren’t limited in colors and shapes. This material is indestructible and offers a nice matte surface. The magnetic strips can be divided into little pieces and look seamless when placed together,” notes Cohen.
The company’s adaptation of magnetics for menu boards coincided with the shift in the fast food industry to a more sophisticated atmosphere referred to as “fast-casual” dining. “It allowed businesses to create a more upscale feel to menu board presentations,” he says. Today the print provider celebrates a thriving business servicing clients with magnetic signs.
80 to 90 percent of Posterloid’s work involves magnets. The company is responsible for entire projects from concept and design to production. For example, they build registration systems onto steel hardware to ensure magnetic pieces or strips are perfectly aligned.
Most of the company’s projects involve printing on adhesive-back vinyl then laminating onto a magnetic substrate. A Roland DGA Corporation printer/cutter creates these projects. Much of the traditional magnetic material comes from MagX America, Inc. Magnet choice is typically made based on client requests.
Menus are lit with track or ambient lighting depending on placement. Components are durable and can be cleaned carefully. Shipping depends on magnet thickness and the type of base media. Magnets rolled for shipment will flatten once attached to their destined surface. Posterloid sends menu components in a plastic kit box that the pieces can be kept in.
For storage, the reverse magnets are rolled or laid flat. At restaurant sites however, space is often limited, so many clients store pieces on their refrigerators.
Magnetic materials make updating graphics fast and user friendly. To make the process even smoother, Posterloid developed its own FlipFrame design. It uses a menu panel that flips over to reveal additional menu content on the reverse side.
On the Menu
Fast-casual dining projects frequently include a rollout across an entire chain. Two years ago Posterloid created new, all-magnetic menu board systems for approximately 6,000 Dunkin’ Donuts across the U.S. The interior and drive-thru menu boards allow the breakfast chain to quickly change pricing and promotions while maintaining a professional look.
Posterloid produced many magnetic menu boards for the newly opened Target Field in Minneapolis, MN, where the Minnesota Twins currently play. All of the graphics were digitally printed in-house on the Roland printer/cutters, including the photos and menu areas.
The design was tailored to the type of concession stand and matches with the overall look of the stadium. “We coordinated the graphic look of each board with the graphic concepts for each stand type provided by SportService/Delaware North,” says Cohen. “The menu boards extend the architectural themes of the stadium into the concession stands through shapes and materials,” he adds.
A Dimensional Attraction
Posterloid recognizes the newest technology available for sign systems. In addition to printed and magentized menu boards, the shop offers solutions for implementing digital signage and managing content.
However, magnets are still a major player in the menu board industry. “Magnetics add depth because you can build up each piece of signage with another strip. It speaks to the customer differently,” continues Cohen.
Ultimately, durable magnets are ideal for high-traffic, small-storage environments such as restaurants and retail. They can be printed on and add dimension, all while looking professional.
Sep2010, Digital Output