Any business can create marketing assets that are designed to help attract new customers and generate profits. In the restaurant industry your menu is not just an ordering tool – it can also provide a way to support all your other marketing channels and attract new customers. Why? Well because more than 90% of consumers will check out a menu online before committing to eating somewhere. So, how do you use this level of interest to make your menu work better for you?
Add your menu far and wide
You probably already have your menu on your own website but did you know that most people searching for somewhere to eat out are unlikely to land there first? Some consumers who come across your business on another site might take the trouble to navigate to yours to find out what’s on offer but many will not. That’s why it’s so essential to add your menu to a wide range of different sources, from Facebook to booking sites like Open Table. The more people your menu reaches, the harder it will work.
Update your menu on a regular basis
If the menu online is different to the menu in your restaurant you’ll potentially confuse and disappoint your customers. It’s essential to ensure that any changes you make to your menu, whether they relate to pricing or ingredients, are reflected anywhere that your menu appears online.
Optimise the menu on your website
Many restaurants today simply upload a pdf menu for customers to view. From the point of view of providing essential dining information to those who are already on your site this is very effective. However, what about those diners who haven’t found you yet? Research tells us that when consumers search online they often do it without a specific business in mind but will use terms that relate to a product instead (e.g. Chinese food or vegan cake). Instead of having pdf menus on your site, make sure the menu is typed out in HTML text. It can then be located by search engine crawlers so that it will show up in diner search results based on the specific terms used in the menu that relate to the food you offer.
Make sure everything is mobile friendly
That goes for your menu, booking system and website as a whole. More than half of all worldwide traffic was mobile in 2018 and this figure is continuously increasing. If your website isn’t optimised for mobile then accessing the menu or restaurant information may be challenging for consumers – who will simply move on and find another business that makes it easy.
Use your specials as a marketing tool
There are many ways to make your menu work harder when it comes to your specials. These could be limited time seasonal specials, weekly promotions or daily discounts. Consider promoting specials widely across social media, including images and using tools such as Instagram Stories to get your message seen. Use this to drive traffic to your website, general menu pages or booking options so that diners can quickly move from initial interest to making a decision to visit or book.
Your menu is a business asset that is often underestimated but which could be a very powerful marketing tool for your business.