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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can search engines index PDFs? Kind of. 

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

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

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

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

Experience matters more than branding

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

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

 

Ditch PDFs and save time on updates.

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

This is where SinglePlatform will save you time.

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

sung

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

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

Get Started Today

How to Make Your Menu Stand Out with Google My Business

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Why Do I Need Google My Business?

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

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

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

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

Getting Started with Google My Business

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

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

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

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

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

The Time-Consuming Process of Menu Updates

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

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

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

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

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

Get Started Today

Accurate Information Ensures the Customer Journey To Your Restaurant

When was the last time you added or removed a dish on your restaurant’s menu?

Have you recently changed the price of a dish you serve?

When (in some cases if) you update your menu, did you update it on your website? What about where people are looking for it, like Google My Business, Yelp, TripAdvisor and Facebook?

If your online menu is old or incomplete, you’re missing out on customers.

Diners use the internet to make decisions about where to eat. 69% of customers looked up local businesses on the web each month in 2018, up 16% from the previous year.  

Accurate, up-to-date menu information is crucial for customers deciding whether to order from your restaurant or somewhere else.

the restaurant customer journey starts with the internet

Attract more customers.

When people use Google to search for a place to eat, they typically don’t type in a specific restaurant name. Sixty-three percent of diners say that type of food is the biggest factor in picking a restaurant. Instead, customers search for the food they crave: “kid-friendly restaurant with chicken nuggets,” “tacos near me” or “vegan restaurant Manhattan.” This is known as an “unbranded search.” And every month there are more than 300 Million unbranded searches for a “restaurant near me”.

These are the potential customers you want to attract—they’re hungry and looking for a place to eat ASAP. An up-to-date and accurate digital presence, where customers are looking, makes it easy for people to take the next step in the customer journey.

Satisfy specific cravings.

If you’re a pizza restaurant that also offers amazing chicken wings or garlic knots, you need to make sure people know about all of your delicious options. An accurate online menu allows hungry customers to search “wings near me” and find you on Google or Zomato.

Once you appear in unbranded search results, customers take an action like making a reservation, get directions or put in an order for delivery. Online menus give people confidence that you can serve them exactly want they want at the moment they want it. This helps customers decide to dine with you.

your menu helps you get found with unbranded searches

If your menu is incorrect, missing menu items or hard to access, though, customers are quick to give up. In today’s digital world, users expect information in as few clicks as possible. If your menu takes too long to find, customers might get frustrated and choose somewhere else to eat.

Showcase your freshest offers.

Restaurants with seasonal specials, like a heart-shaped Valentine’s Day pizza or the launch of a brand-new Instagram-worthy acai bowl, should highlight new menu items on and off of their website. Complete and easy-to-find online menus can attract customers looking specifically for that trendy new dish.

On the flip side, you also don’t want to advertise items your restaurant no longer offers. If customers find a limited-time-only burger on your online menu but can’t order it at your restaurant, they’ll be disappointed. With accurate menus, you give customers access to the information they need when they’re ready to decide where to eat.

Keep menus consistent everywhere.

Does online menu management already sound time-consuming? It gets worse. Menu updates aren’t a one-time fix.

Customers find your menu not only on your website but on dozens of sites like Google My Business, Yelp, and TripAdvisor. On these third-party sites, also known as publishers, your menus can even change without you knowing. User suggestions, data aggregators and the sites themselves can make edits to a menu without notifying the page owner.

SinglePlatform can help you manage all those menus in only a few minutes. You can quickly log in and make a change in one place to update all over the web, or just send us the updates and we’ll take care of it for you. Your menu is an essential tool for attracting new visitors—make it easy for hungry customers to choose you.

To learn more, click here to schedule a demo. On the call we’ll show you how SinglePlatform works, answer all your questions, and even get the process started. It’s easier than you think when we do all the work.

Get Started Today

People are Searching for “Restaurants Near Me.” Are You There?

The “Near Me” Factor

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.

Over three-fourths (77%) of smartphone owners regularly use navigation apps.

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.

85% of smartphone users convert after searching to call, look up directions or look up businesses nearby.  With the help of our tools, we’re determined to get more conversions for your restaurant.

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.

In Closing

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.

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.

Get Discovered in Local Search

Word of mouth isn’t what it used to be. With 88% of consumers reporting that they trust online reviews as mush as personal recommendations, it’s time to face the fact that times have changed. Consumers are finding local businesses in new ways, and business owners need to adapt their marketing strategies to make sure their business is making the most out of their online presence. We’ve created the below infographic to show you how the digital landscape has effected local businesses:

Your business’s online presence is key to getting discovered. Managing your listings on search engines, review sites, and mobile apps helps you take control of your business’s reputation and gain more customers. Learn more about how SinglePlatform can help you stand out everywhere that matters online.

Ways to Make Your Local Business Stand Out in 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Well – almost.

But the New Year is right around the corner and it’s time to start plotting out some resolutions for the upcoming year. Setting aside a New Years resolution is a way to personally better yourself and maybe even those that surround you on a daily basis.

For local business owners, the new year can be seen as a time for a fresh start. It’s a time where they can continue to harp on the things that were successful in the past year and it’s a time to learn from any mistakes they might’ve made in the previous year.

In order for these local business owners to find success, they must take advantage of the resurgent listing sites to advertise their businesses most appealing attributes and products. With New Years approaching, they can continue to find success on many listing sites (Yelp, TripAdvisor and FaceBook to name a few) by following these four steps and protocols in 2016.

1) DO IT FOR THE ‘GRAM!

instagram1

Instagram was everything in 2014. It somehow got bigger in 2015. It’s set to take over the social media game in 2016. Instagram has become one of the most powerful marketing tools due to it being so easy to access and it is fun to use. Many businesses have  seen success and a larger audience due to an active Instagram handle.

Over 53% of adults  ages 18-30 used the device in 2015 and that number will only continue to grow in new  year. It is a way to promote and advertise a company’s most appealing attributes with just  one click of the button (and maybe a couple of filters in between). It is vital to stay up-to-date with Instagram because more pictures will bring more viewers.

2) Can We Yelp You?

It should come as no surprise that more and more businesses are showing up on Yelp, but for local businesses to continue to thrive in their respective areas, they need to advertise that they are on arguably the most popular search engine. You’ll see the sign in the front window of the building ‘Find Us on Yelp.’  

See? Told ya.

This is because businesses want to see what their customers think of their product/items. It shows that they care about their customers. Happy customers=happy office. Which leads us to #3….

3) The Customer is Always Right

It comes with the territory of owning a business – there will always be criticism about your product or your items. People are expressing their joy and distaste with companies all over these search engines daily. However, it’s important to take that criticism with a grain of salt and learn from your mistakes.

As Yelp, TripAdvisor and these other listing sites continue to grow in 2016, more customers and critics will write their reviews on these pages. Even if the review could be seen as discriminating or out of line, learn from what they say and make your business better so no one else will write those reviews again.

4) Create Local Buzz About New Items

It’s important to follow the top trends and fads of the new year, whatever they may be to attract new customers. But hypothetically, let’s say no one knows about the new products yet and it hasn’t been published on any search engines.

Have your friends and your most frequently visited customers spread the word to create a buzz around town about the new product. And hey – if word gets around to enough people, maybe throw in a company discount? Remember – happy customers=happy office!