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.

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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.

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