Turn Discovery of Your Restaurant into Action

We’ve talked a lot about social and content marketing best practices, marketing ideas, and promotional options for your restaurant. The end goal, of course, is to drive more customers, boost sales and increase profits. But, wouldn’t it be great if you could convert a consumer’s discovery of your restaurant into action immediately? There’s good news. You can.

With all of the ways to build a brand presence online, it may seem difficult to quantify the effort you’re putting into it. You can gain thousands of followers on social media and monitor your monthly website traffic, but how does that translate to in-house sales?

As a restaurant, you don’t operate as an e-commerce business, so you need customers to either come in to dine with you or order food for delivery. With a goal of converting people from online researchers to restaurant diners, it’s wise to provide the opportunity for an individual to act on their interest in your business immediately.

How?

Online reservation companies like OpenTable and Resy allow people to book tables for specific dates and times with a few clicks.

ChowNow, Postmates, UberEats, and Seamless offer app-based delivery services in major cities.

These companies were created to make it even easier for diners to visit or order from you. In a world where we’re getting more dependent on technology (and arguably lazier) they’ve enjoyed huge success.

But, when a customer is checking out one of these sites or apps directly, they already have intentions. They’re either starving right at that moment or planning an event in advance.

Capturing these unique opportunities for more business elsewhere helps to increase foot traffic and sales.

But, where?

Social Media

We already know social media is popular. How popular? Over 3 billion people use social media each month. And social media users spend an average of 135 minutes online per day. They’re liking friends’ photos, scrolling through feeds, looking at ads, and finding new businesses like yours. This is the perfect opportunity for your restaurant to turn that discovery into an action.

Instagram realized this opportunity for conversion and acted on it. They recently launched their brand new restaurant reservation service.

According to a report by The Caterer:

[The new service offers business account users the option to link directly to their reservation page through the social media site’s smartphone app. The service can be used to access several reservation sites, including Opentable and Quandoo.]

So, what does this mean for your restaurant? Diners can now book a reservation with you without having to close out of their Instagram app. This is convenient. But, it goes beyond that.

It’s an opportunity to capture a customer at the moment of inspiration.

Say that social scroller just stumbles upon a really delicious-looking steak you just posted to your account. It inspires them to go directly to your restaurant Instagram page to find more delicious photos.

They start looking through new posts, old posts, and customer comments. They think “Wow, I really need to try this place out.”  Now, you’ve made them hungry. Before they know it, they’re clicking on your reservation button to secure a spot for Saturday night.

Without the influence of social media and that discovery, they may have never dined with you.  A discovery was turned into an action immediately. And now you’ve not only gained a loyal social follower, but a customer.

Your Online Menu

Your online menu matters for a number of reasons. Having it distributed across the sites that people are searching on helps you gain visibility. Being able to easily update your menu with new specials and prices is essential to keep customers informed. It’s a powerful marketing tool for many reasons. But, it can do more than just show what cuisine you offer.

If your online menu is in the right format, like on a SinglePage, (which is your SinglePlatform menu on its own webpage), it can host online order and reservation buttons. What better way to turn a discovery into an action than being able to order or reserve right after you’ve checked out a menu?

People viewing your menu have high-intent. They’re hungry right then and there, or they’re looking to plan a special event for a later date. What your restaurant offers is of most importance to them when performing an online search.

Once they can see that you have want they’re looking for, the next step is to act. Book a table. Place and order. Turn discovery into action.

When using SinglePage (available to all SinglePlatform customers), you can choose to incorporate an action button. It will appear in the right hand corner of the menu.

 Example of a SinglePage with an action button Example of a SinglePage with an action button

Once a customer clicks on the “order online” button, they’ll be immediately be redirected to the delivery service (or online reservation) service you use.

From there, they can place the order, checkout, and wait patiently for their meal.

Just like that, an online menu view was converted to an in-house sale. There’s no better way to close the loop.

As technology continues to advance, there are more and more ways to do things easier and more efficiently. As a restaurant, you still need your in-house business, whether it comes from a person dining with you or ordering takeout. But, just because your business is brick-and-mortar, doesn’t mean you can’t turn an online discovery into a tangible action.

Instagram is the first social media channel to make it easy for consumers to take action right within the platform. Here at SinglePlatform, we already give your customers the opportunity to take action too. We understand the importance of giving consumers a chance to act at the moment of intent in order to drive more sales. That’s why, in the last six months alone, we’ve powered over $2 million in online ordering sales through our action buttons.

Like anything else, we’re sure more social channels will follow suit on this reservation concept, but the opportunity to provide action is available to you now. Consider taking advantage so you can start turning more researchers into customers today.

To learn more about how SinglePlatform can help you turn discovery into action, contact us today.

TripAdvisor’s 2018 Hospitalist Sector Report Reveals Online Presence is Important to Business Owners

Today, our partner site TripAdvisor announced the results of its 2018 “Hospitalist Sector Report,” and we can’t say we’re surprised by their findings.

TripAdvisor’s report revealed that online reputation management, mobile experience, and driving direct bookings are now critical areas of focus travel businesses like hotels and, you guessed it, restaurants.

TripAdvisor’s press release reads:

[“We asked travel business owners and operators in the U.S. and around the globe about the key industry trends that are top of mind for them in 2018, and the results provide a rare look into today’s evolving digital travel marketplace,” said Martin verdon-Roe, Vice President of Business-to-Business Product of TripAdvisor. “What’s clear is that the overwhelming majority of owners and operators are concerned about their presence online and how they are using mobile and social platforms to attract the right customers.”]

The owners and operators’ concerns are justified. After all, 93% of diners regularly check online menus before selecting a restaurant, and nearly 60% of customers’ searches are now performed on mobile devices.

Clearly, business owners like you recognize the growing importance of a solid online presence. But, maybe you just don’t know where to begin.

Read on to learn how you can manage your business’ online efforts.

Online Presence

If you want new customers to find your restaurant online, you need to make sure that all of your owner-verified information (like your most up-to-date menu, address, phone number, and hours) can be easily found online. And that information should be just as easy to obtain on a smartphone as on a computer.

That means that you should make sure your restaurant’s website is optimized for mobile viewing (87% of owners and operators surveyed by TripAdvisor said that having a mobile-enabled website or app is important).

In this day and age, having a restaurant website is not enough. You need to be found on all of the websites, like TripAdvisor, that people are searching most (96% of people noted they use TripAdvisor when looking for restaurants while travelling!)

Your online menu should also be mobile-optimized for easy reading. A lot of people are looking for places to eat on the go, so you don’t want to frustrate them by having an unreadable or unavailable menu.

Online Reputation

Managing your online reputation on those crucial search sites is important. That’s why 97% of those surveyed by TripAdvisor said that online reputation management is important to their business and 98% said online reviews are important to their business.

Those numbers are so high for a reason. 88% of consumers report reading online reviews and say that positive reviews influence their buying decisions and 85% of consumers report reading up to 10 reviews before feeling like they could trust a business.

Instead of passively letting the reviews roll in, you should do your best to respond to reviews—especially the negative ones. A thoughtful response and apology can help moderate the effect of a negative review and may even help you win back the dissatisfied customer who left the review. This is not only a courtesy but a smart marketing strategy.

Social Media Presence

Social media management is crucial for restaurants. Potential and repeat customers are looking for places to eat and drink and engaging with social sites to find the next best thing. Enticing photos and an interactive presence can help you attract more diners.

Restaurants and other small businesses should have a firm grip on their social presence because these platforms provide business owners the opportunity to engage with their customers, post photos, and communicate timely information.

Of course, as a restaurant owner, you’re busy doing so much that you probably don’t have time for social media. But, there are tools available to help you schedule social posts ahead of time so you can maintain a social presence without being on apps all day,

Online Booking

In addition to online reputation management and social presence, 71% of respondents also said they prioritize driving direct bookings. One of the best ways you can drive direct bookings for your restaurant is to make it as easy as possible for customers to make reservations online.

If you don’t already offer online reservations, consider partnering with a third party site like OpenTable.  On OpenTable, users can search for the platform’s over 45,000 partner restaurants to check availability. If there’s a table open at the customer’s desired time, the customer can make a reservation with just a few clicks. No phone call needed.

Users can also search by cuisine, location, and even ambiance, which means that diners who hadn’t heard of your restaurant before visiting OpenTable could be making reservations too.

That was probably a lot to take in. The good news is that SinglePlatform can help you manage everything we’ve talked about, from your menu and website to your online reviews and social media postings.

To learn more about SinglePlatform, get in touch with us today!

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.

How to: Claim Your Business on Tripadvisor

Tripadvisor is a popular travel and review site that focuses on hotel & restaurant reviews. It has become the #1 travel review site, with more than 460 millions users. As a restaurant, you want to be visible where people are researching not only local restaurants but places to dine when they’re on vacation or just passing through. Luckily, with a claimed business on Tripadvisor, you can manage your profile, respond to reviews, and check out your analytics.

Have you claimed your Tripadvisor business listing yet? If not, read our step-by-step guide.

Please note: Tripadvisor requires business owner verification for any listing content changes.

Step 1: Go to your Tripadvisor business page.

 

Step 2: Click “Improve this listing” on the right of your screen.

Step 3: At the top of the pop-up window, click “Visit the Management Center to manage your Tripadvisor Page.”

Step 4: You will be taken to the your restaurant’s Management Center. Click the “Register now”
button at the top of the page.

Step 5: Sign in or create a Tripadvisor account.

Step 6: Once you’re signed in, click on your name in the blue bar at the top of the page. A menu will drop down. Click on “Claim This Listing.”

Step 7: Fill out your restaurant’s information in the pop-up window. When complete, click on continue.

Step 8: Verify your email address either through your Facebook or your credit card. The Facebook account must match the email address you used to create your Tripadvisor account. If you use your credit card, no charges will be made.

Success! You’ve claimed your listing on Tripadvisor! You can now take control of your presence & interact with the community.

Ready to claim your listing? Head to the Tripadvisor portal to do so.

Does this claiming process seem too time-consuming? We’re here to help! We can claim your listing on your behalf. Just contact us today.

Contact us here: 

Want to learn more about our DIFM (Do It For Me) approach? Read our blog here.

Interested in claiming your business on Yelp? Read our how-to.

How To: Claim Your Business on Yelp

Yelp is an extremely popular consumer-facing review site that has a serious influence on decision-making for people looking at places to dine out or order in. Restaurants are the second highest reviewed category on Yelp, with 17%. Diners are leaving reviews, and potential customers are reading that feedback & taking action on it. Your online reputation is just as important as good old-fashioned word of mouth. Claiming your business on Yelp helps to build your credibility & allows you to engage with the ever-growing Yelp community. In this how-to, we show you step-by-step how to claim your Yelp listing.

Please note: Yelp requires business owner verification for any listing content changes.

Step 1: Go to your business’ Yelp page

Step 2: Click on “Claim this business” on the right.

Step 3: Create a Yelp for Business Owners account or sign into your existing account.

Step 4: Confirm that Yelp has the correct phone number for your restaurant. Once Yelp has the correct number, click on “Call Me Now.”

Step 5: When prompted, enter the code Yelp has provided into your phone.

Success! You’ve claimed your business listing on Yelp. With a business account, you can log in and manage your presence whether on desktop or mobile. You can also read & respond to reviews and get insights into customer views, leads, and other analytics.

Ready to get started? Head over to Yelp to claim your business today.

Does this claiming process seem too time-consuming? We’re here to help! We can claim your listing on your behalf. Just contact us today.

Contact us here: 

Want to learn more about our DIFM (Do It For Me) approach? Read our blog here.

Interested in claiming your business on Google? Read our how-to guide here.