When it comes time to decide which restaurant to visit on any given night, a vast majority of adults now turn to the web for guidance. Unfortunately, the information they’re likely to find about locally owned establishments is often sparse. According to a 2012 survey by Restaurant Sciences, a provider of restaurant industry information and analytics, 50% of independent restaurants maintain their own websites. Of those, only 40% display current menus online.
Menus are among the first things that a customer looks at when trying to decide which restaurant to visit, and restaurants with outdated menus on their websites — or even worse, no menus at all — are likely to be passed over by consumers. Here are seven popular marketing platforms that make it easier for busy restaurateurs to publish and update their menus online.
Locu is a platform that restaurateurs can use to upload, design, edit, and publish menus on their own websites, mobile apps, and social media pages. Uploading new menus and changing out certain prices or dishes is incredibly simple, which allows business owners to update their menus with new specials each night. Any changes that a restaurateur makes to his menu from within the Locu platform are reflected on his own website, mobile apps, and Facebook page automatically. Locu offers a basic service to business owners for free, and charges $25 per month for additional support.
Since being acquired by Constant Contact earlier this year, SinglePlatform has continued to offer restaurants a way to publish their menus on hundreds of websites and mobile apps. Businesses upload their menus and make edits to the design or content from within the SinglePlatform system, and the information they publish goes out to popular destinations like Foursquare, UrbanSpoon, and YellowPages. Businesses can also use SinglePlatform to create their own mobile websites. SinglePlatform charges $495 for a one-year account.
When they join the Delivery.com network, restaurants can request a custom built landing page where they can post their complete menus and other pertinent business information online. Customers can also find a restaurant’s menu by browsing through the Delivery.com site. Delivery.com charges restaurants 7%-12% of each order that is placed through its system. The company also offers restaurant partners free marketing tools including websites and online ordering buttons.
Restaurants looking to consolidate the process of updating both their printed and online menus can use MustHaveMenus for the job. The company offers 3,000 menu templates, and provides users with a platform for quickly making edits online. Once an update to a menu has been made, a restaurateur can publish his menu on his own website or mobile app, along with his Facebook page and various Internet directories. MustHaveMenus is also developing a printing service that creates printed menus that restaurateurs can use at their physical establishments. Pricing plans start at $15 per month.
Restaurateurs in eight major cities can submit their menus to MenuPages by uploading them to the site, or sending them in via email or fax. In order for a menu to be published on the MenuPages platform, the business owner must include a physical address and a printed menu (which excludes anything handwritten). Restaurateurs can also submit updated menus as frequently as they wish to reflect changes in price or item selection. MenuPages is free for businesses.
Restaurants that partner with Seamless to offer take-out and delivery can publish their menus on the platform for free. Seamless has already published more than 40,000 menus online since acquiring MenuPages in 2011, which means restaurants that have submitted their menus to MenuPages might already have their information posted on Seamless without even realizing it. Seamless charges restaurants a fee of 12% to 18% of each order placed through the platform.
Business owners looking to take a hand-off approach to online menus can rely on Yelp. The consumer reviews platform recently created “visual menus” by aggregating the data from reviews that mention specific dishes, and combining that information with user-uploaded food photos. Restaurants can also add links to the menus they’ve posted on their existing websites to their Yelp business pages, as well. Businesses can claim their pages on Yelp and add links to their menus for free.
Know of other platforms that restaurants should use to post menus online? Leave a description in the comments.
Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.