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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can search engines index PDFs? Kind of. 

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

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

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

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

Experience matters more than branding

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

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

 

Ditch PDFs and save time on updates.

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

This is where SinglePlatform will save you time.

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

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

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

Get Started Today

The Overwhelming Number of Places Where People Can Find Your Menu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get Started Today

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

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

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

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

Consumers look at menus online before choosing a restaurant.

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

Get Started Today

How to Boost Incredible Restaurant Revenue with Catering Menus

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

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

Don’t let this explosive opportunity pass by.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get Started Today

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2018 Small Business Tips for Success

2017 is coming to a close and businesses are gearing up for what is to come in the new year. A new year means a clean slate and a chance for new opportunities. As a small business, you’re probably reflecting on the successes of the past year and thinking about what you’d like to change as you move forward. We highlight four ways you can make 2018 your best year yet.

1. Evaluate your brand:

What do you want consumers to say about you (to themselves or to their friends) after their next visit to your business? Your brand defines how consumers perceive you, so you want to make sure it is still relevant to your business goals in the new year. Are your strategies still the same as they were in 2017? Do you still want to convey the same message about what your business is and what you offer to customers? The term “brand” doesn’t only include your logo design and color scheme, but how you tell your business’ unique story. With the increasingly influential presence of technology, it is key to make sure your brand is consistent across all channels and mediums. And first impressions matter! With a new year just beginning, you’re sure to want to attract even more customers than the year before. First impressions are incredibly important to develop loyalty; 48% of consumers report that they are more likely to become loyal to a brand during the first purchase or experience.  If you start the new year with a consistent brand message and feel, your business will be more likely to gain trust from consumers.

2. See the significance in being social:

In today’s world, where millennials and Generation Z have the most purchasing power, you simply need to keep up with their fast-paced, tech driven demands. Do you have a strong social media presence? Are you interacting with your client base online and on different social platforms? 62% of millennials saying that if a brand engages with them on social networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer. A consumer may reach out to you via direct message on Twitter to ask a question about a daily menu special, and you’ll want to be able to respond in a timely and helpful manner. You may even want to post a survey to Facebook to find out what new services clients want to see at your salon. Knowing that their opinion matters will show consumers that your business goes the extra mile.  Don’t miss out on an opportunity to gain loyalty from this generation. After all, they’ll be spending an estimated $3.39 trillion by 2018. Putting in the extra effort to build your brand presence online and on social channels can significantly help your business not only be recognized, but be trusted for years to come.

3. Stay on top of trends:

Consumers are fueled by trends and are often looking for the latest and greatest products and services. Being knowledgeable about what currently attracts crowds can come in handy for brand acknowledgement. As a restaurant owner, do you have a new recipe that has the potential to receive recognition from bloggers? It’s no secret that food videos are viral on social media and inspire people to visit restaurants just to try that buzzworthy dish. I’ll admit, I’ve driven far out of my way just to visit a pizza place I discovered on Instagram. As a salon, are you prepared to keep up with the latest in nail trends? 2017 gave way to geometric patterns and metallic polish, but 2018 spring trends predict a more natural and pastel approach. Having what your clients are looking before they walk through your door is sure to impress.

4. Keep it current:

A new calendar year is the perfect time to reevaluate your products or services. Have you thought about making changes to your menu? Are you running any holiday specials that you didn’t last year? You want to make sure that you’re clearly communicating your current offerings both in-house and online. If a returning customer comes in for their favorite burger that you removed from your menu, but is still showing as available online, they’ll probably be extremely disappointed. Utilize the power of technology to make your job as an owner easier and the customer experience better. With 3.74 billion internet users in the world, your online presence matters. You want to be easily searchable and accurate. Start the new year off right by having the correct business listings and information available to consumers. Keeping up with consumer demands and the trends of the times is key when entering into a new calendar year.

With 2018 quickly approaching, it is the perfect time to evaluate your business and prepare for a successful year ahead. Utilize these tips to make sure you have a competitive edge moving forward. To get more content like this, subscribe to our blog!

Google Adds Menus to Search Results

If you’ve searched for a restaurant menu on Google in the past week or so, you may have noticed something different. As of last Friday, menus are now being displayed directly in search results pages, rather than requiring searchers to click through to a restaurant’s website or third party review site such as Yelp. So far, the feature has only been deployed in the U.S.
Restaurants with more robust menus feature tabs with different sections that you can click through to see drinks, wine lists, appetizers, main courses, desserts, and more.

Menu Content in Google Search Result

You can also click on the “More about” link at the bottom of the menu; this opens a new page of search results that includes the business’s Google Local information in the right frame.

More About Menu Link on Google

Where is this menu data coming from? Google partners with a few third party menu providers, including SinglePlatform, who aggregate and distribute menu information for thousands of businesses across the U.S.

While Google is just pulling in basic menu item information right now, there’s great potential to do more with these menus by enhancing them with rich content such as photos, specials, announcements, and coupons.

For restaurants and other businesses with menus to share, this new feature provides a great way to engage online consumers who are searching specifically for their menu. However, the feature isn’t very useful for users who don’t have a specific restaurant in mind—a more general search string such as “Italian restaurant menu Brooklyn” yields no menu results from Google. Review sites and apps that specialize in restaurant listings still have an important role to play in helping consumers discover new local businesses.

If you don’t see a menu for your business in Google’s results, or see a menu that’s out of date, never fear: SinglePlatform can create a menu for you or update your existing one! Find out how on our website

Why Holiday Shopping and PDF Menus Don’t Mix

It’s holiday shopping season – which means millions of people in North America are spending more time out and about in malls or dense shopping areas where stores are plentiful and the best restaurants are in high demand.  It also means that there is a lot of on the fly searching going on via people’s mobile phones for the right place to shop or eat.
For most of us, holiday shopping  is a pretty stressful task to begin with and anything that makes it more difficult to get the job done is going to make us (even more) annoyed.  So when I pull out my iPhone to find a place to have lunch, while struggling to keep my two year old nearby I don’t have the patience, or ability, to try to zoom in and squint at a pdf menu on a restaurant’s website or that I found on a search engine.  For me, it’s not a matter of judging the restaurant for having a hard to read menu, I just end up dismissing it altogether in favor of a place I can be confident will have what I am looking for.

As consumer behavior evolves and mobile devices become an integral part of shopping experience, it’s more and more essential that your information is mobile friendly.  For restaurants that means turning your menu into a digital menu which is easy to read from anywhere.

I mean, which of the following two restaurants are you more likely to choose from your phone?

Mobile Menu

Want to make your business’s menu mobile-friendly? SinglePlatform can help!

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