Why You Need To Stop Using PDFs On Your Restaurant’s Website. Now

Using a PDF to display your menu on your website can prevent customers from finding your restaurant when they search for a place to eat on discovery sites like Google, Yelp or OpenTable. If you don’t appear in the search results on those sites, you could be losing customers.

To many restaurant owners, it seems easier to make a PDF menu and use it in the business and online, one and done. Unfortunately, important menu information on PDF menus is virtually invisible online to search engines like Google and Yahoo!…and PDFs are difficult to read on mobile devices.

While a PDF menu appears to save you time, you are actually making it harder for customers to find your restaurant in addition to creating a difficult online experience.

Manage your menus online and make it easier for consumers to find your restaurant 

For your restaurant to show up when consumers search online for where to get their next meal, Google and other discovery sites have to add your business details, like what is on your menu, to their index. It works just like the index in the back of a textbook, a guide for finding all the information you need quicker and easier. 

Google’s index lists all the webpages, but only lists the information on those webpages its processor can read, then ranks their relevance. When hungry consumers search online for food they crave, like “gluten-free tacos,” “best cheeseburger” or “brunch near me,” Google searches its index to find those menu items and brings them to the top of their search results.

Can search engines index PDFs? Kind of. 

Properly formatted websites also include structured data markups (known as schema.org vocabulary) that help search engines read key information like business hours, your address, and your specific menu items.

When the discovery sites have the correct information about what is on your menu, then customers searching by menu item can find your restaurant right away. This makes it easy for hungry consumers to decide on a place to eat, get directions and head to your website for more information.

On PDFs all that information gets lost. To search engines, your beautifully designed menu looks like a long string of text, and customers won’t be able to find critical menu information about your business. Unless your restaurant has “gluten-free tacos” in your name, you lose that customer.

Optimize your menu in html to help customers find the food they crave, fast.

Experience matters more than branding

PDF menus are great for visually pleasing layouts and custom logos that define your brand. But your website page gives you more space for the drool-worthy food photos that influence 60% of customers. Website pages with PDF menus load slower with those than text and add friction to the customer journey.

And besides, if customers order delivery through online platforms or make a reservation on OpenTable, they’re not going to see your branding. It’s more important that your menu information is easy to find and consistent everywhere, especially on third-party platforms like Facebook, Yelp, OpenTable, TripAdvisor and Google. 

 

Ditch PDFs and save time on updates.

It might seem faster to just use one version of your menu, but PDF menus can actually cost you hours to maintain. To change prices or replace a menu item, you have to edit the original file and reupload it. But other websites, like Zomato and Foursquare, will already have pulled the old information and published it on their third-party sites. It’s a hassle to fix your menu information everywhere so customers get the accurate menus they need.

This is where SinglePlatform will save you time.

To make updates fast, SinglePlatform offers a flexible one-stop-shop solution to keep all of your menus fresh and relevant. We make sure your online menu is correct everywhere, so it’s easy for customers to find you on the web.

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To learn how we can keep your online menu accurate and looking good on every platform, click here to schedule a demo. On the call we’ll show you how SinglePlatform works, answer all your questions, and even start processing your menu. 

It’s easier than you think—and seriously, we do all the work.

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How to Make Your Menu Stand Out with Google My Business

Hungry consumers are using Google to search for restaurants like yours, every second, every day. In fact, every month, there are over 5 billion searches on Google for restaurants.

Customers need information about your business, such as your address, phone number, hours of operation and, what’s on your menu, to be able to make a decision to dine with you.

 

With location services, Google can help customers find what they crave in their area. In the last two years, searches for phrases like “near me now” have grown 150%. These searches are the exact points of decision when consumers are looking for a restaurant to dine at immediately. 

Good news: among smartphone users, 84% of those “near me” searches are for food.

Customers don’t want to have to wait until after they’ve driven to a restaurant, stood in line, and been handed a paper menu to be able to look over their options. They want to know now if a restaurant has the dish they’re looking for — they need quick, convenient access to relevant information online, or they’ll choose to dine somewhere else. It’s imperative to update your online menus and appear in map and organic search results, so you don’t risk losing customers

How can you control this information about your restaurant and ensure your customer’s journey?

 

Why Do I Need Google My Business?

Google My Business is a “free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps.” Using this tool can help drive more people into your restaurant. 

When customers use Google to search for a menu item or restaurant type on their smartphones, the results they see are powered by information included in your Google My Business profile. Users can click on your business listing to see your full menu, hours, and reviews.

business location search concept: young woman searchin for a restaurant in a 3d generated smartphone. Screen graphics are made up

Google My Business gives potential customers a quick look at your restaurant that can nudge them in the right direction to decide to order or visit your business. Even if you have high-quality food on your menu with out-of-this-world flavor, you’re losing out on potential customers to competitors by not listing your menu and other important information online. 

Getting Started with Google My Business

The first step is to add or claim your business on Google My Business. Put yourself in the driver’s seat and get more control over the information customers find about your restaurant. If you haven’t already, create a Google My Business account and search for your restaurant’s address. 

From there you can choose a category — the options “food and drink,” “health and beauty,” and “services” allow you to create a menu as long as it hasn’t already been provided by a third party. 

Once you’ve claimed your listing, sign into your Google My Business account and click “info” from the menu. From there, you can update information like your business name, website, and most importantly, your menu.

According to Google’s internal data, “The average Google listing that has been well-maintained with Google My Business gets 5X more views than listings which haven’t been claimed by their owners.” They also report that “consumers are 38% more likely to visit and 29% more likely to consider purchasing from businesses with more complete listing info.

Businesses with complete listings are 2X as likely to be considered ‘reputable.’”

The Time-Consuming Process of Menu Updates

Under the “info” tab on Google My Business, you should see a menu or services icon that allows you to add or edit services. Group items or services into sections — like entrees, appetizers, sandwiches or catering— to keep your menu organized. 

From there, you can manually type in the item name, price and a brief description. When customers find your business listing on Google, they’ll see your menu items listed under either “Menu” or “Services.”

If you have a comprehensive menu with lots of options, this can take hours to type in. Then, every time you make an update to prices or offer seasonal specials in the restaurant, you’ll need to also update your online menus on Google My Business.  Additionally, customers will need your menu information on other major discovery sites like Facebook, TripAdvisor and Yelp and you’ll make sure you’re updating them as well. 

Making all those changes to your online menus is time consuming. This will mean spend more time away from running your restaurant to update your online menus It takes an enormous effort to track down all of these listings, check them for accuracy and make all the updates. 

Software like SinglePlatform doesn’t just update your Google My Business for you. SinglePlatform can handle all of your changes everywhere — on your website, Google, and top websites like FourSquare, Yelp and many more — so you can focus on running your restaurant. Just send us your updates and we’ll do it all for you.

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The Overwhelming Number of Places Where People Can Find Your Menu

Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare, OpenTable, YP, TripAdvisor… Hungry consumers are searching these websites for where to eat their next meal.

Is your restaurant’s menu there, along with all the dishes you offer, photos, prices and catering options?

People use those apps, review sites, and search engines to look for where to get their next meal (“best grilled cheese near me”), where to meet friends after work (“happy hour specials”), and catering options for office and holiday parties. When a customer is deciding where to dine, your menu is the most important information they need.

To help your business show up on top of menu and food searches online, you need to give consumers the information they’re looking for in the moment that matters: when they’re making a decision about where to eat next. That means having up-to-date menus on ALL the sites that people use to choose where to dine.

If you want to attract new customers and ensure they find the information they need, the first step is to get control of your menu on all of the sites listed above, known as “publishers.”

The problem is that these “publishers” are just the top of the pile. To verify business information, popular sites like Google also check other discovery websites, review sites and networks to see if their information matches all the information available about your business.

Because most business owners aren’t like you, trying to get control of their menu online, sites like Google have to pull information from other places, like review sites, outdated information from aggregators, and even customer suggestions.

There are hundreds of sites, apps, maps and networks online that host information about your business. It would take a Herculean effort and hundreds and hundreds of hours each year to claim and update every single one of them. That’s time that you could better use to actually run your business, organize payroll, manage employees, source better pricing from your vendors, or fix the sink that just started leaking…

The right software can help you get control of your menu online and publish it all over the internet. The right software makes it easy to update your information everywhere, whether you need to run a special holiday promotion, promote a new menu item, or change your entire menu.

SinglePlatform has a network of more than 100 publishers to whom we can send your updated, accurate menu every time you make a change. We’ll even do the work for you. All you have to do is send us a quick email with the changes and our customer service team will update all of your online menus, everywhere they live online.

Do you want to ensure customers get the information they need about your menu when they are searching for a restaurant online?

Do you want to save hundreds of hours and focus on running your business?

Do you want more hungry consumers to find your restaurant today?

Get Started Today

Update Your Summer Menu Online Before You Miss Out on More Business

Americans blow more money dining out in the summertime than the rest of the year, a new survey from MarketWatch finds.

87% of Americans spend more money on dining out in the summertime than any other time of the year. This includes both local dining and eating out while traveling on seasonal vacations.

According to statistics released by Capital One, dining at a restaurant is a top priority for spending in the US. In fact, 65% of people’s budget, up to 77% for millennials, is going towards dining experiences.

Consumers look at menus online before choosing a restaurant.

Knowing the importance of menu information to your customer’s journey, we examined 1.2 million menu views from more than 950,000 unique locations across all of 2017 and 2018. From that study, we discovered that June into July represents the last increase in menu views until October.

People are dining out in the summer and they are looking at menus on sites like Google, Yelp and Facebook before they ever even get to your website. If you are not in control of and updating your online menus in all the places people are searching for where to eat in the summer, you are losing customers to your competition.

Update your restaurant’s menu online now, before the summer begins and every time you add or subtract an item on it ensures that customers will be able to find your restaurant when they are making plans to spend money at restaurants over the summer.

 

Here is more info on U.S. Summer dining trends that can help you plan to attract more customers into your restaurant during the warmest months of the year.

 

Need to up update your Summer menu on sites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor and more?

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How to Boost Incredible Restaurant Revenue with Catering Menus

While restaurant industry growth creeps along year after year, a new study shows that the catering business is booming.

According to Restaurant Dive, catering grew 50% faster than overall restaurant sales in 2018. Catering allows you to reach a new audience of businesses and party planners with the same menu items, kitchen, and staff you already have — and best of all, you know the exact costs and profit margin of catering orders!

Don’t let this explosive opportunity pass by.

Create a special catering menu to reach customers who are looking to make large repeat orders. Customers can fall in love with party platters of your deli sandwiches, hot pasta dishes or passed hors d’oeuvres while you could add up to 18% of your total sales. Not to mention, if they love it they can come back to your restaurant even after the event is over.

If you already have a catering menu, make sure it’s complete and up to date online.

Restaurant Dive’s survey found that 61% of restaurants said their catering orders came primarily business-to-business (B2B). When customers plan an office event or party, their first step is to look for catering options on search sites like Google, Yelp or Bing. In the midst of their busy work day, B2B customers need to be able to find the information they need, when they need it, or they’ll choose a more convenient catering option.

An accurate online menu allows potential customers to discover your restaurant and explore your options before they decide to order.

Only 20% of online searchers look for a restaurant by name: instead, customers are looking for the options they need, like “catering near me” or “party catering with delivery.” Without an online menu, you lose opportunities to be discovered by customers.

Unfortunately, creating and posting your menu to your website isn’t a one-time effort. Your online menu also lives on other third-party sites like TripAdvisor, YP and Foursquare who pull your information and post it on their websites, which can spread old information about discontinued menu items and pricing.

Customers will get frustrated if they find an out-of-date menu on sites like Google, and call to order without knowing your prices have gone up. To make your restaurant easier to find online, you need to update your catering menu everywhere, every time you tweak a price or add a new dish.

SinglePlatform can help you get your catering menu and all your menus online in all of these places in only a couple of minutes.

With one convenient platform, you can quickly log in and make a change to update all over the web, or just send us the updates and we’ll do the work for you. Your catering menu is a powerful tool to attract new customers — make it easy for event planners to choose you.

Get Started Today

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Dad’s Want to Eat Out on Father’s Day: Update Your Menu

The stakes are high for restaurants hoping to do big business on Father’s Day.

When it comes to dining out, Father’s Day is in the top 3 (along with Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day) holidays for popularity. Dad’s like to eat out with their family. In 2018, 77% of Americans showed their love for Dad by spending an average of $133 per person totally up to more than $15 billion.

If your restaurant is planning a special menu or limited time menu items to help bring in more business on Father’s day, planning starts right now. Consumers look at menus online before choosing where to eat on Father’s Day. It’s imperative to update your menus online before they start planning and searching for a restaurant to take Dad.

With 50 million people in America plan to eat out for Father’s Day and 10 percent of those plan to eat in more than one restaurant! In fact 25% of Dad’s think going out to dinner is the perfect gift!

93% of people want to see a menu online before dining out. That means if your Father’s Day specials are not available or outdated, customer’s could be choosing to dine with your competitors instead.

Here is more info on Father’s Day trends that can help you plan a successful Father’s Day promotion for your restaurant.

Fathers_Day_Dining_2019_Statistics_SinglePlatform_Online_Management

 

Want to get your Father’s Day menu on sites like Google, OpenTable, Yelp, TripAdvisor and More?

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How East Village Pizza Used SinglePlatform to Let the World Know How Great Its Garlic Knots Are

Just over 60 percent of new restaurants close before their hit their first anniversary — so by longevity alone, East Village Pizza, which has been around since 1997, has already more than beaten the odds. But every year brings new challenges as customers’ tastes and behaviors change — and even established local favorites need to adapt.

When Frank Kabatas took over East Village Pizza in 2003, he had plenty of experience making great pizza, but he says he was “like a freshman” when it came to marketing his business.

East Village Pizza - NYC's best garlic knots

He looked around and saw that all of the other pizza places in New York City were distributing paper menus as their main form of marketing. For many years, he too used to go door-to-door, leaving printed menus all around his neighborhood every six months. Customers would keep them on their refrigerator or in a drawer, and when they were hungry they would call East Village Pizza for delivery.

Kabatas says back then, whenever he distributed menus, the restaurant would soon see a lift in business — an increase of maybe 10% over the next few months.

The system worked, so he kept doing it — until eventually, it didn’t. At first, he started noticing in 2008 that the percentage lift he got from his physical menu distributions was dropping. “Either we were doing something wrong, or something else was happening,” he says.

Then, around 2015, after years of decline, his main marketing method just stopped working. He would distribute the paper menus and there was barely any lift at all.

THE CHALLENGE

Customers’ habits had changed. People no longer wanted to pick up a paper menu, let alone a phone. Instead, they had migrated to third-party sites and apps like Yelp and GrubHub (and many more) to both discover restaurants and to place orders. He realized that this meant he needed to find a new way to reach new customers and to keep his menu up to date across all of these new platforms.

Looking for ways to capture more people’s attention online, Kabatas started using social media to promote the business, posting on Facebook and Instagram, making his pizza live on camera every night, and getting into conversations with customers.

He noticed that replying to people who left reviews or commenting on their posts created a much deeper connection than any photo he shared — and he started hunting down influential people online and inviting them in to try East Village Pizza’s food, in the hopes that they would share their experiences online.

The more Frank promoted certain items online, the more people asked for them when they came in.

That’s when Frank realized he could set his business apart by focusing some of his marketing efforts around an item that every other pizza shop offered but didn’t promote: garlic knots. He was confident his knots were better than anyone else’s. If he could get people’s attention on them, not only would they choose his pizza shop over a competitor’s, customers would order not just a slice but also garlic knots, increasing his average ticket.

East Village Pizza's famous garlic knots

Frank started featuring his garlic knots on social media, suggesting them to customers in-store and highlighting them on his in-store and printed menus. The problem: when you searched for “best garlic knots east village,” his wasn’t the top search result — despite having a leg up because of the “East Village” in the restaurant’s name.

THE IMPACT

Part of the reason that Kabatas’s garlic knots weren’t ranking high in searches was structural.  On his website, his menu was posted as a PDF. He had reasoned that this format allowed customers to download and print it, but he hadn’t realized that this meant the menu text wasn’t searchable by Google, Yahoo or Bing. It didn’t matter how many times he posted tantalizing photos and videos of the cheesy garlic knots on social media if customers couldn’t find them when they searched on Google, Facebook, Yelp, Yellow Pages, TripAdvisor or even on the East Village Pizza website, it created a hole in the customer journey.

He had been diligent about going to multiple online platforms to update menu information and make changes, but the process of going to each of them one-by-one was time-consuming and onerous — and doing so still wasn’t propelling him to the top of the relevant search results.

Then earlier this year, Kabatas started using SinglePlatform to manage his menus — not only on his website but also on sites like TripAdvisor and Google My Business — and he began seeing changes very quickly.

THE RESULTS

SinglePlatform published Kabatas’ menu to his website, replacing the PDF,  and then to Google My Business — and in just five days East Village Pizza was the number one search result in the area. Kabatas was also pleased to discover that he no longer had to spend time communicating with various online platforms to make updates.

And because it has become much easier for him to change the items on his menu online, he does so more frequently.

“The world is now online — and when the world is online you need to control your online menus,” says Kabatas. “And it’s tough to do on so many platforms. SinglePlatform is really helping me and saving me time — at least 40 minutes a day on average. The money that you are paying is nothing. You’re going to save time and make much more money than what you are paying for SinglePlatform to handle your menu.”

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