The Menu: One of the Most Efficient Restaurant Marketing Tool

When it comes to marketing a restaurant , there are various strategies you may consider. Nowadays, customers increasingly turn to the internet to discover restaurants, and that’s where you should be too.

It is important to ensure that your restaurant’s website presence is always optimised, especially its most primary marketing tool – the Menu. 

If you don’t have a website, we suggest you make use of other platforms including social media.

As the main focus of your business, the Menu wields significant power. It provides a quick snapshot of the restaurant and it’s the one piece of information that every customer will read.

So, we’ve compiled a list of 6 ideas to help you promote your F&B business using your menu:

  1. Create a searchable menu.

Customers rarely begin their search for a place to eat with the name of a restaurant. In fact, most people conduct online searches without having a specific business in mind.

Instead, they look for specific food items, such as “Thai food Shah Alam”. If you are a Thai restaurant in that area, you want to appear in those search results – but this wouldn’t be possible if your menu came in a PDF form.

Why?

In simpler words, for a menu to appear on search engines, it must be readable by a “crawler”.

A “crawler” is an automated script or programme that search engines use to scan and analyse content of web pages. “Crawlers” are specifically used by Google. They are used to “read” web pages in order to determine whether they could be useful to their users. They are also used to determine whether the content on those pages directly responds to one or more searches.

If content of a menu is written in HTML text, it will appear in search results as crawlers are able to read it. Unlike HTML text, a PDF is essentially an image on a page and Google cannot easily crawl the image to understand the content that it displays.

If you insist on promoting your menu in PDF format, you may do so by including a link in your text menu, and mark it as, for instance, “Click here to view our printed menu”.

  1. Create a mobile-friendly website and menu.

When potential customers search for dining options, they frequently do so while on the go. Furthermore, when people conduct local searches, the vast majority of them intend to visit the searched location within the hour.

When it comes to selecting a restaurant, most people base their decision on search engine results and online reviews. Hence why you should modify and adapt your restaurant marketing strategies to reflect your target market’s behavior.

To be considered mobile-friendly, a web page must be designed to resize to the size of a phone while keeping everything proportional. Unfortunately, when a web page is published, it is not always automatically coded to work across all devices.

Nowadays, popular website-building tools such as Wix and WordPress can quickly generate responsive layouts for your restaurant’s website and web pages.

If your website is not responsive, on-the-go searchers will be presented with a crowded, short, or badly formatted menu, and this could cause them to search elsewhere for a meal. 

  1. Keep the Menu Updated

Just like how you wouldn’t want potential customers to show up on a day when you’re closed, the same is true for your menu. It is your responsibility as a restaurant owner (or manager) to provide accurate information to your customers.

Having an old and outdated menu available online could actually harm your business’ reputation and irritate customers. For example, they would be disappointed when a food item they crave has been discontinued or the price has been increased.

When you make changes to your menu, don’t postpone the update. Make sure it is reflected on your menu wherever it appears.

  1. Make Your Menu Available on Every Online Platform

Your menu should be available on all relevant websites to ensure it reaches the widest audience pool and also to make your restaurant as searchable as possible.

To get you started, here are a few relevant websites to consider:

  • Google My Business
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • TripAdvisor
  • Yelp 
  • Jalan Jalan Cari Makan App
  • Foursquare App

Some social media platforms only allow PDF(s) to be uploaded. While other platforms only allow the upload of a menu via a menu management company like SinglePlatform. Alternatively, you can opt to partner up with an online ordering platform GetOrders that is managed by our team at Slurp!. 

Customers who search for restaurants online would use a variety of methods and do not always search for the restaurant’s website first. This is why uploading your menu to multiple platforms such as the above, is important.

Here’s an example: on Facebook, Garsa Kitchen has “Menu” as an option on their navigation sidebar:

  1. Ensure your menu is easy to be shared online

Word-of-mouth and traditional marketing are no longer sufficient to maintain the stamina needed to survive in the F&B industry. 

Shareable content goes hand in hand with engagement. Making your menu easily shareable via social media platforms allows your restaurant to connect with the audience as well as extending the online reach. 

The more people that see your menu, the more free advertising you’ll get for your restaurant. An image of the menu can influence the viewers to visit your restaurant.

  1. Promote Your Menu Specials on Social Media

If your restaurant is offering a limited-time special menu, share photos of the menu across all your social media platforms. This type of menu’s searchability is less important because it is only for a short term. Hence, you may use a photo or a PDF to spread the word.

You may also share photos of your specials on Instagram or Facebook stories, which will disappear after 24 hours.

If you notice that a significant number of orders are coming in for one of the special dishes, you might want to consider adding it to your regular menu too. If you do make that change, share it on social media with a message such as:

“We hear you! — We heard feedbacks that many loved the Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cake from our Valentine’s Day Special Menu. Thanks to your feedback, we’re incorporating it into our regular menu!”

The Takeaways

Obviously there are many ways to manage your restaurant marketing strategies, but your menu is at the heart of why your customers keep returning. Any hungry customer in your area should be able to find your menu online easily. 

A well-designed menu not only informs consumers about the dishes you sell, but it also creates a positive first impression for your restaurant. Customers can already predict the quality of your food based on the effort you put into your menu.

Ensuring that your menu is visible online and appears in search engines may just be the most powerful organic restaurant marketing tool you can have.

By posting your menu online, you’re placing your restaurant’s best foot forward by highlighting the amazing food. So, if you want to reach as many people as possible, you must do more than just saving your menu in a PDF file and uploading it online.

It’s pretty clear that in today’s tech-driven world you have to be where people are searching online. Your customers have changed their habits. 

Have you kept up with the trends that are driving their purchase decisions?

Tap here to learn some simple tricks on how to boost your restaurant’s online presence.

Good luck & all the best!

Let’s stay connected on our social media.

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