Mother’s Day is one of the biggest days in the restaurant year. According to OpenTable, the day dedicated to Mom was one of the 3 “hottest days for dining” in 2018 (along with New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day.) Mother’s Day spending was predicted to be more than $23 billion.
Mom’s want to be taken out to eat on Mother’s Day. In fact, 46% of them want to be taken out to dinner (which has a higher check average) over lunch or brunch. Mother’s Day means serious revenue for restaurants.
If your restaurant is planning to offer something unique for Mother’s Day, like a prix fixe menu or one-day special, planning starts months in advance. If you want to attract customers searching online for where to take Mom for that special meal, they need to see your menu.
93% of people want to see a menu online before dining out. That means if your Mother’s Day specials are not available or outdated, customer’s could be choosing to dine with your competitors instead.
This explores dining trends that can help you plan a successful Mother’s Day promotion for your restaurant.
Want to get your Mother’s Day menu on sites like Google, OpenTable, Yelp, TripAdvisor and More?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Did you know that there are over 63.5 million searches every month with some derivative of “restaurants near me” on Google alone? It’s true. Clearly, hungry diners are taking to online search engines and other discovery sites in order to find their next favorite place to eat.
According to a study by xAd and Telmetrics, 65% of smartphone users looking for restaurant locations are looking specifically for locations within walking or driving distance. If you’re in close proximity, you want to be there in those search results.
Searchability is a need-to-have today if you want to remain relevant in the restaurant industry. With over 600,000 restaurants open for business in the United States, competition is copious, and you should be doing everything in your power to stand out from the crowd. How?
Menu Management Can Help
As a menu management company, our goal is to make sure you’re visible where it counts online. We want your restaurant to be accurately represented whether someone is searching on Google or browsing on TripAdvisor.
Having your menu and business information readily available on these different sites is crucial to your visibility, and in turn, your profitability.
We’ve already done the heavy lifting to build lasting partnerships with search engines, travel sites, and review forums, among others. This synergy allows us to ensure your menu is distributed across all these sites and apps where people are performing searches for restaurants, cuisine types, and menu items.
But, it goes further than just getting a menu online in all of these places. Getting it online, and making sure it’s correct, is key to your restaurant’s success.
Accuracy is Essential
If your menu is available online in all these other places besides just your website, that’s great. But, what good will it do if the information you provide is inaccurate?
Let’s say your concept focuses on farm-to-table ingredients with a menu that rotates every 3 months. You don’t want your online representation to be outdated with last season’s menu. Customers will be disappointed if they come for the pumpkin risotto they saw online only to find out it was replaced a few months ago.
Even if you have a fairly stagnant menu, prices change and even descriptions of your dishes can stand to be refreshed every so often.
With a menu management tool, you can easily make updates and edits whenever necessary.
With a company like SinglePlatform, we’ll even do the work for you. As long as you give us your menu changes, our dedicated team will make sure they’re up-to-date as soon as possible.
Avoid Customer Disappointment
As we mentioned in a previous blog, new BrightLocal research reveals that 93% of consumers are frustrated with incorrect information in online directories. Don’t risk customer frustration because the details you provide online are inaccurate.
We’re Taking It To The Streets
Having your menu online is a necessity and will delight hungry searchers who are hoping to find a new place to dine out (or order in). But, how about when they’re on the go?
When people are cruising to a destination, headed on an adventure, or just visiting a friend, they typically turn to GPS navigation to get them there. I know I do.
Whenever I’m driving (or walking) just about anywhere, I’m typing the address into my phone’s GPS and waiting for my direction-savvy friend to guide me there.
But, how would you feel if you heard that 70% of listings in navigation apps are incorrect?
A Wrong Turn In Navigation
It might pain you to hear that in the last year, 22% of consumers visited the wrong location because the listing address was incorrect!
Imagine finally finding a restaurant you want to try, typing in the location’s address you found online to your smartphone, and driving there, only to find that you’re at the completely wrong place. I don’t think frustrated would be the word to describe that situation.
Providing The Solution
In the latest powerboost to our technology, we’ve mitigated this issue by extending our services on navigation platforms. We’re pushing the correct business information to these top navigation service providers to ensure accuracy when your customers are looking for you on their travels.
Our network now includes navigation tools like AppleMaps, Waze, TomTom, and more.
Just to be clear, we’re talking about business address and phone number here, not your menu. Of course, with the use of our platform, your menu will be up-to-date when these roadtrippers are searching online for a place to make a pit stop. But, once they’ve discovered you, we make sure they’ll be able to find you on their travels by providing correct business information via GPS.
With the SinglePlatform Navigation Pack, we’re making strides to get people where they want to go by providing the information they need to get there.
With the availability of information at everyone’s fingertips, it’s important for your business to be represented correctly online. Millions of searches for “restaurants near me” are being performed every month, proving that when people are hungry, they’re looking for a solution within walking or driving distance.
You need to provide accurate information online in order to maintain customer loyalty and trust. Your menu should also be readily available on search engines, review, and travel sites where people are discovering new places to eat.
With the help of a menu management company like us, all of this is taken care of for you. Just provide us with the correct menu, and we’ll disperse it in all the places it needs to be online. And in order to close the loop, we’ll get your accurate business information across navigation tools people are using to get them to your restaurant.
Drive business to your restaurant’s door with SinglePlatform. To learn more, get in touch with us today.
Inaccurate business information online is detrimental to your restaurant’s reputation. Hopefully, you already know that having the wrong information about your business online is a no-no. Now, there’s brand new research to back it up.
Today, we explore the results of this research and how you can avoid inaccuracy online for your business.
68% of consumers would stop using a local business if they found incorrect information in online directories. (Local Citations Trust Report, BrightLocal, 2018)
The amount of consumers who’d boycott a business due to inaccurate information isn’t surprising, as I’ve even had this experience myself.
Not too long ago I checked online for a local Italian restaurant in my area and found one with great ratings on Google. Their Google listing said they were open until 9 pm, so I walked there for dinner, just to find that they were closed (lights off, chairs stacked, no staff in sight). I was extremely irritated that the restaurant did not have their correct business hours online and my hunger only made it worse. Needless to say, I never returned to that location because I was frustrated by the wrong information I was given.
BrightLocal also found that 93% of consumers say they are frustrated by incorrect information in online directories. I was definitely annoyed that day and understand why so many respondents expressed this same disdain.
30% of consumers would go to a competitor if they couldn’t locate a business because of incorrect information found online. (Local Citations Trust Report, BrightLocal, 2018)
You don’t want to lose any business to your competitors, but of course, it’s going to happen from time to time. Poor customer service and quality of food are valid reasons for a diner to choose to eat elsewhere, which is why business owners put effort into training their staff and perfecting their recipes. However, how your business information is represented online may not be top of mind for you. It should be.
The majority of people use search engines to discover new businesses and you want your restaurant to provide accurate information on all of those platforms they’re searching on. If there is a wrong address or phone number on one of the major search engines, you’ll be disappointing a large number of potential customers.
80% of consumers lose trust in local businesses if they see incorrect or inconsistent contact details or business names online. (Local Citations Trust Report, BrightLocal, 2018)
The ability to trust someone is the cornerstone of any interpersonal relationship. Although your business isn’t human, you should treat it like one when it comes to trust. How you conduct business, as the owner, is a direct reflection of yourself as a person. Your business’ online presence is just as important as how you manage operations in-house.
Think about it in the context of social media. Most of us have social profiles that we update with posts, photos, and comments. Many of our followers form opinions about who we are based on what they see on our social channels. If you’re posting content online that isn’t a true reflection of yourself, other individuals are going to be confused, and even disappointed, when they meet you in real life.
Similarly, if your business doesn’t accurately represent itself across websites and apps, people will form opinions about it that may not even be based on an in-house experience. A lot of the time, the discovery of your business begins online, which is why it’s extremely crucial to have all of your business information correct in all the places that matter.
Where to Begin?
It’s clear that consumers are extremely disappointed with inaccurate online information about a business. As they should be! In a world where 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, it’s obvious that most hungry researchers are using search engines on their laptops and smartphones to discover new places to eat. First impressions are everything, so make yours count.
When looking to improve the accuracy of your business’ online presence, the process can seem overwhelming. Think of all the websites and apps people are using for discovery. One individual may use Google to find a restaurant, then head over to TripAdvisor to read reviews about the place, look at user-generated photos on Yelp, and then finally book a reservation there on OpenTable.
As mentioned, you want your business information (and your menu) correctly posted on all of those sites, plus many others. But, the task of making multiple updates on multiple sites, like seasonal hour changes and new phone number, will become a time-consuming chore. Plus, it’s easy to forget to make a change on just one of the many sites people use on a daily basis. We’re not saying it can’t be done, but the process will be tedious.
As a restaurant owner, you’ve got a lot going on. Running your business is top priority and we understand the demands of the hospitality industry. That’s why we’re here to help when it comes to bolstering your online presence.
A menu management company’s prime concern is to get your restaurant’s information and menus across all of these places people are searching. We do the heavy lifting so you don’t have to. We’ve already formed partnerships with publishers, like Google, Bing, Yelp, Yahoo, AppleMaps, and many more, to get your information accurately in the places it needs to be. Why waste your time making manual updates when you can just hand off the work to us?
When working with a menu management company, like SinglePlatform, you can rest assured that you’ll be providing your customers with accurate information, whether they’re looking for your updated business hours or the seasonal dinner menu. Never let a potential diner become a lost customer because of inaccurate online information again.
To learn more about what SinglePlatform can to do help your business’ online visibility, contact us today! We look forward to working with you to help you stand out everywhere that matters online.