Sep
30
2011

Why Every Restaurant Should Post a Menu Online

A headline on the National Restaurant Association website reads in big bold letters, “The restaurant industry is fast-paced and ever changing.” Like many other industries, the Internet has affected the way that restaurants operate and advertise.

Besides being listed on sites like Yelp and Google Maps (which has turned into a major player in the yellow pages game), having a menu online is one of the essential steps in being found and attracting more customers. Posting a menu online provides an edge over the competition. As this article on Neuromarketing.com puts it, “menus are printed marketing pieces, much like catalogs, magazines, ads, etc.”

Many restaurants, whether they are franchises or small independent venues, have chosen to include a menu on their websites. Not having a menu can make your business look out of date, and therefore less competitive. From the point of view of an online-savvy customer, this lack of information is a likely deal breaker. Sybil Yang, a doctoral student at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, goes a step beyond and says that “menus are a way restaurants build trust between them and the guest.”

If your restaurant has a website (which is highly recommended) make sure that you include a menu that is easy to find. And the more detailed the descriptions in the menu, the better. You might include

  • Ingredients
  • Prices
  • Daily Specials
  • Combos/Promotions
  • Nutritional Information
  • Other specifics, i.e. kosher, gluten-free, vegan, etc.

Make sure to include your menu as high up on the page as possible. Readers tend to scan a page in mere seconds, from left to right, and are highly unlikely to scroll down to find more information. So from a marketing point of view, your best bet is to make your online menu readily available and highly visible.

Another benefit of having an online menu is SEO. Menus are chock-full of keywords that will pop up on search engines. It’s easy content to keep up and a possible traffic-driving tool to your website. If you don’t have a website for your restaurant, get one. In the meantime, you can use different online directories that offer restaurant menus, often searchable by area. These are

A fast and easy way to make your menu digitally available is to make a Facebook page for your restaurant. This is a great option for restauranteurs who are on a tight budget, since it’s free and also doubles as a marketing tool. Facebook Users can “like” your page, peruse the menu, and you can post discounts, special deals, or announce new items to you followers.

 

Photos courtesy of popofatticus & HikingArtist.com.

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About the Author: Cecilia Camps

Writer, Editor, and Social Media Expert at Merchant Resources International. Our company specializes in providing funding for small and medium-sized businesses in the form of cash advances. We also like to explore all issues and news affecting the small business community in our blog.

2 Comments + Add Comment

  • I agree with Ceci. Sometimes a restaurant has favorable reviews on Yelp.com but doesn’t have its own website. Other times, it has a website but it neglects to display an updated menu. I’d also like to see restaurants post their latest accolade. For instance, I’m more likely to go to a well-rated Zagat place or Winner of …Food Festival.

  • Thanks for your input, Renee. Accolades should be a standard addition into any restaurant’s website/menu. It helps with credibility and marketing.

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