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An overwhelming 93 percent of customers will look at restaurant menus online before they go out. This puts the onus on you to show a menu that is legible, helpful, and easily accessible.
When done right, adding your restaurant menus online can be the deciding factor for a purchase decision.
The trick to making your restaurant menu visible is that you’ll need to post appealing and clear versions of it in two different places:
- Your own website.
- Third-party sites (like Google)
Posting Restaurant Menus on a Website
Restaurants with their own website should include a copy of the menu on it. This process might sound as simple as uploading a PDF file or a screenshot of a physical menu, but there are some best practices to keep in mind when adding a menu to a website.
It’s tempting to just drop a PDF copy of your menu on a site, but it’s an outdated method that doesn’t take advantage of your site’s branding and presentation. PDFs also can’t be crawled by Google, which means that you don’t get any SEO benefits from it.
Instead, give the menu its own page within your site. Add some flair to it with custom effects and typography that reflects the restaurant brand.
Creating a dedicated menu page also makes it easier for those who might be viewing your menu on mobile devices. Smart phones often download the PDF files, which forces users away from your site and creates a bad user experience. Make sure to test the appearance of your menu on desktop, mobile, and tablet devices.
A Simple Menu
It’s easy to get carried away when describing a signature dish or a popular appetizer. You might think that a long description will make a dish sound appealing, but it may actually turn customers away from ordering it.
A Harris Poll revealed that 29 percent of diners believe that some menus are more confusing than they should be. The lesson? Keep it simple.
Use simple words, which makes it easy to digest the food information and allows diners to try a new dish. You can also include images, which alone would convince 53 percent of diners to order an unfamiliar dish.
Adding Your Menu on Third-Party Sites
Diners aren’t just looking at your restaurant’s website for an online menu; they’re also finding it through local search, which accounts for 35 percent of all searches.
Specifically, customers are looking at four major listing sites:
Over 63 percent of consumers visit a business’s Google My Business (GMB) listing before visiting, which makes it a prime location for your menu. By default, Google will grab your menu from other third-party sites, but you can add your menus manually via the Google API or by editing items through the GMB dashboard.
The social media platform is home to a plethora of restaurant Pages. Just like GMB, Facebook can grab a copy of your menu from a third-party site, but you can also upload a PDF copy of the menu on the Page. Menus will appear on the “About” section of the Page.
Different industries now have their own Yelp listings, but restaurants still hold a majority of the entries on the website. Yelp will automatically pull your menu if it’s listed on Eat24 (now GrubHub) or SinglePlatform, but you won’t be able to edit its contents on your Yelp page.
If you don’t have a partnership with either of the two third-party sites, you can copy and paste the URL to your menu on the listing.
In addition to providing basic information about the cuisine type and price range, your TripAdvisor business listing also allows you to copy and paste your menu URL onto the page to make it easy for users to access.
TripAdvisor also has partnerships with other third-party sites that can host your menus. These links are automatically added to your listing, but it will take 10 – 14 days to show up on the page.
Menu Hosting Sites
Aside from business listings, you can add your menu on multiple menu hosting sites. Some are partnered with online delivery services, which can make it easier for you to gain and retain new customers. These sites include:
Ensuring Consistent Restaurant Menu Information Online
Placing your menu on a website, listings, and hosting sites increase the restaurant’s exposure. Appealing images with descriptions that are easy to understand can bring in new customers and increase the amount of loyal diners.
When adding your menus to these sites make sure that the information on every single copy of the menu is correct and accurate. The smallest typo in the description or even worse – incorrect items or pricing – can detract hungry diners from visiting your restaurant.