With offerings as creative and addictively delicious as Green Tea Strawberry Crème, MojiTea and Teappuccino, Argo Tea, a successful chain of specialty tea cafés, wanted to update its static menuboards to cost-effectively improve their presentation and automate new content delivery.  Fifty BrightSign network-enabled HD1010 digital signage players are connected to 52-inch and 55-inch LCD screens to deliver engaging, high-definition menu boards at each of the chain’s 21 cafés.  Paired with BrightSign Network, Argo Tea can now update prices and menu items on each of the double-board menu displays from its Chicago headquarters.  

Key Facts

Industry: Specialty Café Chains

Location:  21 Argo Tea Cafes in Chicago, New York City and St. Louis

Integrator:  UCI System Analyst and Digital Networks

Project:  Networked Digital Menu Boards


  • 50 BrightSign HD1010 solid-state controllers deliver looped digital messaging for menu boards
  • Custom Zones screen layouts enable cafes to present mu;tiple impressions on a single screen
  • BrightSign Network allows Argo Tea to easily control and regionally target dynamic monthly content updates of product information, specials and pricing


  • Provide attractive, in-store menu content that connects with customers
  • Coincide with Argo Tea’s philosophy to maintain a green operation
  • Eliminate extra costs for printing and delivery of paper signage for seasonal/limited-time promotions
  • Provide the ability to immediately update flavor changes and pricing updates
  • Ensure ease of use, scalability, reliability, and affordability for every store in the chain


  • A single digital sign can provide multiple messages and the content can be updated within minutes using a secure network
  • BrightSign digital menu boards have completely eliminated the need for printed daily specials menu board signage
  • BrightSign Network simplifies monthly updates and keeps content fresh from a remote location
  • Content can be coordinated across the chain or specified for a single store location
  • Content can be easily created and uploaded by non-technical staff
  • BrightSign controllers require only 3-5 watts of power for a greener solution
  • Digital signage controllers are compact and can be discretely mounted behind the screens
  • Solid-state platform enhances reliability while lowering operational costs


“Using BrightSign as our menu board presentation has allowed for more flexibility in flavor changes, pricing updates and layout redesigns. We’ve also been able to completely eliminate daily specials menu board signage that was previously used to communicate seasonal offerings and other limited-time promotions.”

– Simon Simonian, Argo Tea’s Director of IT and one of its founders

The Challenge

For a growing chain like Argo Teas, where seasonal flavor changes, pricing updates and limited-time promotions are the norm, printing and delivery charges for paper signage was having a sizeable impact on the chain’s bottom line.  The use of digital signage continues to grow among the larger restaurant chains because it enables immediate updates and a more dynamic menu board presentation that engages the customer more effectively than traditional static boards.  Until recently, smaller chains often perceived these solutions as technically challenging and economically unfeasible.  By moving from PC-based devices to turnkey solid-state solutions, restaurants of all sizes can lower their costs and eliminate PC issues such as hard disk failures, high power requirements and the need for dedicated IT personnel to manage and maintain the solutions.    

With each Argo Tea Café open an average 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, reliability was a key requirement when selecting the BrightSign HD1010 digital media controller.  Cost, ease of use, scalability, energy efficiency, and having the ability to control their own content and updates over a secure network from headquarters were all top priorities.

The Solution

Each Argo Tea Café utilizes two ultra-compact BrightSign HD1010 media players, discreetly hidden behind slim 52-inch and-55-inch LCD monitors.  One menu board features looping high-resolution photos displaying colorful infusions of the beverages with pricing and the calorie count for small-, medium- and large-sizes. The second menu board is a multi-zone display featuring Argo Tea’s loose leaf tea varietals, coffee beverages and SpecialTea Food selection, all prepared and baked fresh in each café.  Other zones in this display are used to showcase Argo Tea’s seasonal specials and products.

“Using BrightSign as our menu board presentation has allowed for more flexibility in flavor changes, pricing updates and layout redesigns,” said Simon Simonian, Argo Tea’s Director of IT and one of its founders.  “We’ve also been able to completely eliminate the extra costs for printing and delivery of accessory menu board signage that was previously used to communicate seasonal specials and other limited-time promotions.”

BrightSign Deployment

Less than six months following the roll-out of Argo Tea’s pilot location in the lobby of Chicago’s Willis Tower, each of the company’s 21 cafés (15 in the Chicago Area, 5 in New York City and 1 in St. Louis) unveiled the new double-board digital menu displays.   Because BrightSign digital sign controllers include the hardware, software and networking capabilities for a complete, turnkey signage solution, virtually all potential compatibility issues were eliminated, making the entire digital signage project very easy to deploy. 

Priced significantly lower than PC-based solutions, BrightSign players are based on a highly reliable solid-state platform that has no moving parts that can fail.  In addition, due to its solid-state technology, BrightSign controllers have a power requirement of only 3-5 watts, compared to 70-90 watts for an average PC.  For additional energy savings, displays can be programmed to turn on and off according to Argo Tea Café hours.

Designed to make creating, publishing, managing and monitoring the company’s digital signage displays exceptionally easy, all BrightSign controllers include BrightAuthor software, a PC-based application.  BrightAuthor optimizes BrightSign Digital Signage by offering flexible scheduling and day-parting.  With day-parting, restaurants can schedule their menu displays to automatically change their content, enabling them to feature food and beverage items according to the time of the day.

Argo Tea designs, develops and manages the content for all of its locations at its headquarters in Chicago.  Using BrightSign Network, a secure digital sign management and monitoring application, Argo can add and manage content for all 50 BrightSign players remotely.  Updating is further simplified by using the network’s software interface to organize the players into groups, ensuring each location receives the exact content intended. 

“The BrightSign Network’s interface makes it easy to group them by the content,” explained Simonian. “For example, when different cities have different pricing, it requires certain menu board images to be different, but we can group these updates rather than having to send them one at a time.”

The Outcome

Still growing, Argo Tea’s future plans include incorporating BrightSign digital menus into several more stores in New York and Chicago.  In addition, because the players are fully scalable, displays can be easily upgraded and added as the company continues to spread the “Argo experience.”