When Is Updating Your Menu Most Important?

It’s not only important, but it’s also critical your restaurant’s menu is up-to-date and accurate online. If it’s not, potential customers won’t find the information they need in the moments that matter.

About 80% of the time, consumers don’t search for a restaurant by name.  Instead, they’re searching for what they crave, like pepperoni pizza near me, or gluten-free menu or best Mother’s Day Brunch.

best-pepperoni-pizza-near-me

Hungry customers search for restaurants online to feed their cravings with a phone in one hand and wallet in the other.  They’re ready to eat and they need your information now. Making sure your online menu is accurate all the time is table stakes for a restaurant. It not only ensures the customer journey but also makes you more searchable.

 

Knowing the importance of menu information to a customer 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 some amazing trends that can help you to strategize key moments to update your menu online.

What’s driving these menu views? Customers with intent.

There are 3 incredibly important times of the year that you should put into your calendar and make sure you’re updating your menus online.

  • April into May – the biggest month over month increase in menu views.
    • 2017 – 27% increase of month-to-month menu views
    • 2018 – 9% increase of month-to-month menu views
  • November into December – This starts the biggest run of month over month increase in views, running through March.
    • 2017 – 8% increase of month-to-month menu views
    • 2018 – 17% increase of month-to-month menu views
  • June into July – The last increase in menu views until October
    • 2017 – 8% increase of month-to-month menu views
    • 2018 – 3% increase of month-to-month menu views

What does this mean to you and what action do you need to take?

Simple. November, April and June are the most important times of the year to update your menu.

The following months reap the rewards for your work the preceding month.

APRIL

The jump from April to May is obvious: Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is one of the top holidays to drive revenue for  restaurants. It’s been reported that nearly 2 out of 5 people will dine out on Mother’s Day. The bump in menu views means people are planning a special meal with Mom up to a month in advance.  So making sure your Mother’s Day menu, as well as the rest of your menu, is up to date in April is imperative to helping you capture business on Mother’s Day.

NOVEMBER

A November into December increase in menu views happens for obvious reasons: holiday dining. Restaurants see an increase in business during the month of December in all segments. The holidays bring about more lunches on the go for busy shoppers, more corporate dining, more drinks with friends and more catering for families who don’t have the time, or patience to cook 5 trays of meatballs.

JUNE

A lift in menu views in June correlates to a seasonal lift restaurants experienced due to tourism season / summer travel. With nicer weather, more people are out and about which means less cooking indoors and more on-the-go meals. That means more consumers are online searching for what and where to eat. The next significant drop in menu views doesn’t happen until September which means that updates in June hold through the end of the summer and travel season.

REACH NEW CUSTOMERS

Your menu is your strongest asset for finding new customers. Making sure it’s accurate and up to date everywhere online is important for searchability –  giving customers what they need when they need it. The more places that your menu is published online, the more searchable you become.

And the most important times of the year to make your menu searchable are November, April and May as the following months have the biggest increase in menu views.

If you are using software to maximize your coverage and searchability, on average it takes 2 weeks for top tier publishers to update your menu so the following would be optimal times to update your menu:

  • Mother’s Day (May) – End of April
  • Holiday dining (December) – Mid November
  • Summer increase – Mid June

mothers-day-out-brunch

If you are thinking about using SinglePlatform, you would want to be signed up at the latest by the following schedule to allow time for onboarding:

  • Mother’s Day (May) – early April
  • Holiday dining (December) – late October
  • Summer increase – Mid May

Do you want to save hundreds of hours trying to update your menu everywhere it lives online? Our team uses proprietary software to do this for you, saving you time and giving you the confidence that customers will find your restaurant when they search for what you’re serving.

Book a demo today and we will show you how easy it can be.

Book Your Demo >

You should be managing the menu for your restaurant online. Why?

When a hungry customer is searching for a restaurant online, they’re looking for what they crave: “pizza,” “salad,” “Thai food” or whatever it is will satisfy their hunger.

With their wallet in hand, they’re ready to make a decision on where to eat next. One of the best ways to help them find your restaurant is having your menu online where they’re searching. That way the chicken dish you worked so hard to perfect, the sandwich your customers rave about or those lunch specials you’re sure people will love are found by those hungry customers.

get-found-by-more-hungry-customers

When someone is searching for something to eat and they find those items on your menu through sites like Google, Yelp, Facebook, OpenTable or TripAdvisor, it gives them confidence that your restaurant is the right fit to satisfy their craving, at that exact moment. Having control of your menu to guarantee it’s correct ensures the customer journey. Now they can click to get directions, call you, get your hours of operation and more.

If they don’t find your restaurant when they’re searching, you just lost that customer. 93% of people will look at your menu before stepping foot in your door.  So, if you want to be that restaurant, an important step is to claim, control and update your menu everywhere it lives online, including your website.

Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. You’re busy running your business, hiring the right people, cooking food, dealing with payroll, purchasing products and fixing that leaky sink. You don’t have time to update dozens of sites with your dinner menu, let alone handle those delivery orders that just came in.

We understand. Let us do that for you. All you have to do is verify your business info and send us the menu. We’ll do the rest.

Our software manages your menu in one place and with the push of a button, we can send it to dozens of websites that publish menus online. Need to update your menu because you’ve deleted or added a dish or launching a whole new brunch menu? Not a problem. Just send it to us and we can update those sites for you.

We can also help you monitor and manage your customer reviews on those sites. Really.

Want to learn more? Just click here to schedule a demo. On the call we’ll show you how it works, what it does, answer all your questions and even get the process started for you. It’s easier than you think and seriously, we do all the work.

Incorporate These Key Winter Ingredients into Your Restaurant Menu This Season

The winter solstice is a month away, bringing cooler temperatures and a desire for more wholesome comfort food. A delicious hot meal is just as comfy as your favorite cableknit sweater. Are you releasing a winter-exclusive menu?

Introducing a new seasonal menu boosts profits, so you should consider them to bring in new business. Plus, the release of a new menu is the perfect opportunity to incorporate some winter-inspired ingredients. Maybe you’re not dropping a new menu, but simply offering some monthly specials to keep guests interested. Whatever the case may be, consider using seasonal ingredients that are fresh this time of year.

Today, we’re giving you some ideas on cold-weather items to incorporate into your winter restaurant recipes.

All Hail Kale

The kale craze has been going on for quite some time now, so you might not be surprised to see it on the list. But, winter ‘tis the season for kale, so kale your guests shall have! Kale is best when it’s rich green in color. The leafy green has a somewhat bitter component, which will add an element of diversity to any dish. Plus, it can be used in so many ways! Raw, baked, or sauteed, you decide how you’d like to incorporate it.

Kale is a bright addition to a winter soup, can be devoured as a snack in chip form, or simply sauteed with garlic and lemon as a side to any entree. Plus, it’s one of those most nutrient-dense food items on the planet! One cup of kale has just 33 calories, but 3 grams of protein and is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. If used creatively, kale will be the gift that keeps on giving at your restaurant this winter.

My Sweet Clementines

A clementine can add a pop of sunshine and sweetness on an otherwise chilly winter day. The citrus fruit is happily eaten solo by many, just peel back the skin and you’ve got a quick, healthy snack. But, when incorporating clementines into winter recipes, you may feel like you have a challenge on your hands.

Cut up a few clementines and throw them into a fresh spinach, goat cheese and walnut salad that will be perfect for health enthusiasts. Combine them with brussel sprouts, onion, and olive oil to create a vibrant vegetable salad. When it comes to dessert, you can use clementines to top a chocolate mousse or as part of a trifle.

It’s A Date

Date fruits are used in many dishes these days, especially vegan recipes. They’re sweet in nature, but that doesn’t mean they can only be used in desserts. Add a new dimension to your brunch menu by combining dates with oats and fruit, which will pair perfectly with a morning mimosa. When in doubt, wrap them in bacon for a deliciously savory and sweet appetizer. Or, get creative and combine them with the above ingredients to create a citrusy sweet kale salad. You can even offer a sweet end to the meal with date caramel candies.

In a Pear Tree

According to the 12 Days of Christmas, partridges hang out in pear trees this time of year, so why not pluck some for your menu? We mentioned comfort food before, and nothing screams comfort more than grilled cheese. Combine bacon, your favorite cheese, and pear between the bread to create an elevated version of the lunch classic. Pair the sandwich with a signature soup for the perfect combo. Roasting pork loin? Incorporate pears and potatoes to round out the meal. Or, create a dessert focused on the full-bodied fruit. Stick to the classic, like poached pears, or use the ingredient in a tart or a pie. How about a cheerful cocktail? Make your guests’ dining experience merry and bright by adding a pear martini to your drink list.

Don’t Take Pomegranates for Granted

Pomegranate season runs from October through February, making it the perfect winter ingredient. Pomegranate seeds add bright, crunchy bursts of flavor and are great toppers for overnight oats, puddings, and even ice cream.

Although pomegranates can be tough fruits to crack, they’re well worth the effort. They’re also a great addition to your cocktail repertoire to add a bit of holiday cheer. Pomegranate gin fizz anyone?

Spreading Winter Cheer

Winter is coming soon, and will last until mid-March (for some of us that’s a good thing, and for others, not so much).  Whatever your opinion may be, the winter season gives you plenty of time to introduce a new winter menu at your restaurant and advertise it for a few solid months.

With a new menu, consider incorporating unique ingredients that are fresh and in season. There are plenty of options to choose from, from kale to pomegranates, and many different ways to use each item. Get creative in your recipes and in the descriptions of your menu items to entice your diners and keep them coming back all winter long. Cheers!

How to Increase Online Delivery Orders for Your Restaurant

The success or failure of a restaurant has been typically pinned on its location. But as a growing number of customers are moving away from traditional dining to ordering food online through apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats, factors like location and decor no longer play a central role in the success of a restaurant business.

Just how large of a factor do online orders play in a restaurant’s business? The proof is in the search. “Delivery near me” heeds over 1,500,000 Google searches every month! And people are looking for “restaurants that deliver near me” over 246,000 times per month, too.

Understanding what makes restaurants tick in this evolving online ordering trend is important to the sustainability and growth of your business. As long as your restaurant (or just your kitchen) is close to a high demand location, and can cater to these new delivery expectations, you can increase your business by incorporating an online ordering arm.

Below, we highlight advice on how to incorporate online ordering into your restaurant strategy, with considerations like consumer behavior, competition, and ordering app efficiency.

Understanding Customer Behavior

Restaurant owners who are just opening up to the online ordering trend tend to prefer building their own app or website. The reasons are obvious – having your own app gives you complete control of your operations. Also, it gives you a lot more insights into consumer behavior than relying on third party apps.

However, the decision to have a standalone app needs to be thought through carefully. Studies show that an average person uses just about 9 apps per day. Accounting for essential apps like WhatsApp, YouTube, Instagram, and other messaging and media apps, the chances of a customer installing or using your app to order food is pretty slim.

While a native app may make sense for popular chains like Dominos, it is not necessarily the case for most other restaurant businesses. Collaborating with app services like DoorDash, GrubHub, or UberEats may be a better idea. With millions of dollars at their disposal, these food-delivery apps have already been fighting for market share and have been driving consumer behavior in the online ordering space. As a restaurant, you do not have to reinvent the wheel and may rely on these apps to grow your business.

What Makes Restaurants Popular Online

Word of mouth marketing has always been vital to a restaurant’s popularity. This has evolved into the present day where online reviews and ratings can determine the popularity of a restaurant.

Reviews – According to a study published by TripAdvisor, an astounding 94% of US diners read online reviews before dining out or ordering food. This is a challenge for restaurants since every app has its own unique ranking and rating algorithm. Understanding what online customers prefer and how they rate restaurants on an app plays a role in your visibility.

Photos – Visuals work wonders. In the culinary world, food photography has an impressive effect on restaurant publicity. Studies show that photos have a perceptible impact on 60% of US customers. Engaging visuals of the most popular dishes can create the right impulse for customers to buy your food.

Improving App Visibility

The online ordering space can be extremely competitive and merely having your restaurant listed on an app may not be enough. Even though every delivery app is unique, there are a few standard parameters that can be used to improve visibility on each one of them.

Sponsored Listings

If you are just starting out on an app, sponsored listings are a great way to initiate your marketing program. These listings are often displayed higher than organic listings and thus provide a restaurant with excellent exposure. This translates into higher order volume, more reviews, and thus a more sustained organic visibility. It’s then your job to provide the quality food that will inspire people to order from you again.

Omnichannel Marketing

If you are an established restaurant with active marketing channels, then using these platforms to push your online orders can work wonders. For instance, Instagram is a highly popular social media platform for food businesses. Studies show that hashtags like #instagood and #love tend to see higher likes than #food. A sustained campaign using these hashtags to promote your coupons and listing on a platform like Postmates or Seamless could get a number of new users to search for your restaurant on these apps while ordering food.

So how exactly does this help? A lot of apps use machine learning to understand restaurant popularity among various demographics. When a customer looks up for specific restaurants on the app, these restaurants are accorded a higher level of importance and this improves their visibility. In essence, while it may not be possible to use your other marketing channels to increase orders directly, you may drive customer behavior through these apps and this contributes to improved organic visibility.

Discount Marketing

Many marketers do not favor a discount strategy considering the low margin nature of the restaurant business. The intense competition among various restaurants in an app however makes it a necessity.

One way to make discount marketing work is by offering exclusive discounts on order frequency and volume. In a low margin business, this may seem like a waste of money. However, similar to sponsored listings, discount strategies help with increasing your order volume which brings in more reviews, and thus increased organic exposure. Even doing as little as offering a free delivery can help you get a leg up among the competition.

Investing in the Right Delivery App

As is often the case, budget and time constraints make it impossible to advertise and focus on various delivery apps all at once. Therefore, investing in the right app is of great importance. Certain factors can help you decide on the right app for your business. Check out our blog on online ordering options here.

Market Share

Apps with the highest market share tend to see the highest volume of orders. Investing your marketing resources on such apps could deliver high ROI. A McKinsey study found that nearly 80 percent of users stick to an online delivery platform once they sign up. Aligning with the market leader guarantees longevity with respect to client retention.

Speed of Delivery

On average, 60% of consumers cite delivery time as a key factor in ordering online. Food delivery apps constantly struggle with capacity utilization and route optimization of the delivery executives.

In addition to this, navigational training is another critical factor. An app that does not do these aspects well could routinely see food orders getting delayed. Overpromising and under-delivering is the worst thing you can do to a hungry customer. In essence, your restaurant could see dwindling sales or poor reviews due to factors outside your control. It is important to invest your marketing efforts on apps with quick and efficient delivery.

In Closing

Online food delivery is becoming an important component of the restaurant industry. The lower costs of operations here also mean higher competition. In a society where instant gratification is expected, and where options are aplenty at everyone’s fingertips, considering online ordering as part of your restaurant business is crucial. Use these strategies to help your restaurant build a presence on online ordering apps to increase business.


About the Author: Anand Srinivasan is the founder of Hubbion, a suite of free business apps and resources.

What Is Menu Engineering & Who Is Gregg Rapp? Menu Engineering Article Series Part 1

When you hear the word “engineering” what comes to mind? I’m sure you may be thinking of a civil engineer, an electrical engineer, or even a railroad engineer. The word is diverse & encompasses many different skills, disciplines, and careers. But, have you ever thought of engineering in the sense of menus?

Yes, menu engineering is a real thing! By definition, engineering is:

“the creative application of science, mathematical methods, and empirical evidence to the innovation, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of structures, machines, materials, devices, systems, processes, and organizations.”

Menu engineering takes into account the elements of both science & art that go into perfecting the structure of a restaurant menu. Pretty cool, right?

If you’re a new restaurant owner just building out your first menu, or even if you’re a seasoned vet looking to switch things up, menu engineering can be a secret weapon to your success. Engineering has proven to not only influence customers’ decisions but boost sales.

You’re probably wondering how exactly this works. Nope, it’s not magic. But, there are many elements and strategies that go into perfecting menu design. In a team-up with menu aficionado Gregg Rapp, we’ll be discussing different elements of the engineering process. Topics will include everything from boxing certain menu items to name dropping in your menu descriptions. But first, we’ll introduce the man behind the menus, Gregg Rapp.

 Gregg Rapp with an engineered menu. Gregg Rapp with an engineered menu.

Gregg is the menu engineer. With over 35 years of experience in the restaurant industry, Gregg has reimagined menus for some of the most well-known restaurants across the globe. He transforms menus based on research, statistical data, and cost. Gregg continuously hones his craft by working with professors at Duke University, Cornell University, and the Culinary Institute of America.

Gregg’s expertise has been featured in the Wall Street Journal & the New York Times, and on news programs, including The Today Show, ABC News, and CBS News. He has traveled the world giving restaurants advice on pricing strategies and menu design.

I sat down with Gregg to talk about his history and experience.

How Did You Get Your Start as the Menu Guy?

Like many young entrepreneurs, Gregg began his journey in menu engineering during college. At the time, he was going to college while running a restaurant in Seattle. During that time, he was tasked with coming up with the restaurant’s new menu. When he started the process, he realized there wasn’t much information available when it came to menu design and structure, so he decided to find information hidden in other sources. Gregg studied newspapers and magazines since there was a science behind how people read them.

Another great source of influence for him was the supermarket. He studied item placement, from how products are placed (which encompasses not only the location on a shelf but also where the items are displayed within the store), to the abundance of items and how that plays into how well it sells. A lot of the tools he uses today in menu engineering are derived from his grocery store research.

Gregg also credits his former professor and mentor, Don Smith, for inspiring him to begin a career in menu engineering. Don’s research helped lay the foundation for menu engineering, and his work in conjunction with the Boston Consulting Group actually developed tools for the menu engineering quadrant (which we’ll discuss more later in the series). Gregg worked with Don closely for 36 years during his career to develop new processes for menu redesign.

When Did You Make Menu Engineering a Full-Time Career?

I asked Gregg about how he finally decided to make menu engineering into a business. He specifically remembers when the lightbulb went off for him. He realized that there was something to make of all of this information about menus and that he wanted to share this knowledge with restaurateurs everywhere. At the time when Gregg got his start, which was in the early 1980s, menu printing was a booming business. Different printing companies were competing for business and were charging hefty prices for full-color printing services. They were focused on their own profit, not the layout and design of the menus. Gregg knew that this was an opportunity to really help restaurateurs design menus that would result in their profitability. And so from there, he went to Denver to work with his first client – Dean Peterson. Dean ran a group of restaurants in Denver and was a restaurant innovator who drew inspiration from other restaurants in diverse locations. Gregg helped him to restructure and redesign his menus.

Over three decades later, Gregg Rapp is still a successful menu engineer who is just as excited about coaching restaurateurs to build better menus as he was when he started. He’s worked with hundreds of restaurants across the country and has helped them to achieve profits they never thought were imaginable. Gregg has branched out from Denver and still frequently travels across the country to provide his expertise to restaurants everywhere.

So, how exactly will this engineering pay off for a restaurateur? Gregg is confident that within 30 days after a restaurant puts out their redesigned menu they will see new profits of at least $1,000 (or else he provides a money-back guarantee). One high-volume restaurant even saw $18,000 in new profit PER MONTH after working with Gregg to redesign their menus. That’s a lot of cash!

Gregg makes sure to note that he is a coach in the entire menu engineering process. He is against going into a restaurant and simply redesigning the menu on his own and calling it a day. He hosts boot camp sessions, works one-on-one with the staff, and gives them the tools they need to create the new menu together. This way, they can use the knowledge they gained in the meetings to re-engineer menus on their own in the future. The hands-on approach to Gregg’s business is what has helped restaurateurs walk away with not only newly found profit, but valuable information to be used in years to come.

So, now that you know a bit more background about Gregg, you’re prepared to dive into more detail about just what goes into menu engineering.  In our exclusive series, we’ll discuss Gregg’s menu engineering process and provide you snippets of tools you can use for your own restaurant menu. Stay tuned to see what’s next.

Interested in working with Gregg? Check out his website & contact him for more information!


Does your restaurant have a solid online presence? 93% of people are looking at menus online before dining out, so it’s essential to be everywhere they’re searching. SinglePlatform can help! We get your menu and business information across a wide range of relevant search engines, review sites, and social media channels so you can be discovered by new diners. Want to stand out everywhere that matters online? Get in touch with us today.

How to: Change the Order of Your Menu Items

You’ve already mastered uploading your menu in the SinglePlatform portal, linking your menu to Facebook, and claiming your business on important search engines and review sites. What’s next? Well, maybe you’ve decided that after learning a little more about menu engineering you want to switch up the order of your menu items. You’re in luck! Within the SinglePlatform portal, making changes to your menu is easy as dragging and dropping. We’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of reordering your menu, menu items, and sections so you can always keep your content up to date.

Reorder Published Menus

The order of your menus (if you have more than one) is seen in the Menus section of your account. When a customer clicks on the More Menus pulldown menu on your SinglePage and other listing sites, they can select which menu to read. If you want to change the order of your menus:

  1. Click Edit on the menu whose position you want to change.
  2. Click inside the box to the left of the name and change the number to be the new position you want it to be.
    Note: The menu in the top position is number “0”.

3. Click on the Menus section button in the left navigation bar to                  verify the menu order is correct.

4. Note: This is how it will look on your SinglePage.

Reorder Menu Items

  1. Once you’re in a specific menu, place your cursor over the item you want to move, and click down on the handle to the left that appears.
  2. Drag your item to its new position.
  3. Release your mouse.

Reordering menu items is as easy as that! Let’s take a look at reordering sections next.

Reorder Sections

  1. Place your cursor inside the section you want to move, but not inside of a field.
  2. Click down and drag the section to its new position. You will not see a handle or the cursor change shape.
  3. Release your mouse. Now the item will be in its new position.

Congratulations – you are now a menu reordering master! Need help or want us to do the work for you? No problem – contact us via email or at 929-254-0250.

How To: Add Your Menu to Facebook

With SinglePlatform you can link your menu and services to your Facebook business page to ensure your information is accurate and updated on the social platform. And this is important! Facebook has the most users of any social network, with over 2 billion active users. Sixty-eight percent of adults use Facebook! Plus, people aren’t just using it to see photos of old high school friends and relatives, they’re looking for events to attend and engaging with marketing advertisements. As a restaurant owner, you want to be visible on the social accounts that people are spending countless hours on. In this guide, we’ll show you how to connect your SinglePlatform menu with Facebook.

Step 1: Log into the SinglePlatform portal.

Once logged into the portal, click Location Settings on the left-hand side of the portal, and then click Link Your Social Media:

Step 2: Click the Link button next to Add SinglePlatform content to Facebook.

Step 3: Sign into the Facebook account for the business using your Username or email and Password.

  • It’s likely your personal page serves as an Admin for your business Facebook page. You will need to log into Facebook using the Username and Password for your personal page. Once logged into Facebook, your personal page will be bypassed to link the menu or services tab to the business page.

Step 4: Once logged in, you may have to click through a prompt or two allowing the feature to sync with Facebook. Click OK on these prompts.

Step 5: You will be asked to select the Facebook account to which you’d like to add your menu or services content. If Facebook is displaying the correct business page, click Add to Page.

  • If Facebook is not displaying the correct business on this page, click “Not the right page?” to choose the correct business manually from a list.
  • If you are already logged into your Facebook account, you will not need to login, you will be brought directly to the “Would you like to add to Facebook?” prompt:

Step 6: Once you’ve successfully added your menu or services to Facebook, you will see the Menu tab in the left-hand navigation bar.

Adjusting Tab Name and Position
If you’d like to move the tab higher in the navigation bar or adjust the tab name to say something other than menu, you can click Settings toward the top right-hand corner of the page, and then click Edit Page in the left-hand side navigation bar.

Adjusting Tab Position
To move the Menu tab, all you have to do is drag and drop it! Click on the tab and hold while dragging your mouse to the position you’d like the tab to appear. Once you have the Menu tab in the desired position, release your hold on the mouse to lock the tab in place.

Adjust Tab Name Step 1: To change the tab from saying Menu to something else, click Settings to the right of the tab.

Adjust Tab Name Step 2: Click Edit Settings again to open a pop-up window.

Adjust Tab Name Step 3: From here, you can type in what you’d like the tab to say, click Save and then click OK.

  • You can also click Change next to Custom Tab Image to add your own photo for the tab thumbnail. Click Save and OK.

Congrats! You’ve successfully linked your SinglePlatform menu to your Facebook business page.

Like these how-tos? There’s plenty more where this came from! Check out our blogs on Claiming Your Listing on Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google My Business.