Make Your Menu a Marketing Tool

Make Your Menu a Marketing Tool

These days, we’re trying to capture the very short attention spans of our customers—and getting really creative with it. Marketing a restaurant can be difficult, to be sure. Like other small businesses, you’ve got to stand out from the pack. How do you do that? One unique way restaurants are gaining attention is by using their menus. Here’s how…

Is it searchable? 

A staggering amount of patrons will search for your restaurant’s menu online before choosing to dine at your establishment. Others will also search for a type of food rather than a specific business. Think “the best pizza near me” and the like. In order for your restaurant to pop up as a top hit, you’ll need to make sure your menu can be read by crawlers. Per Cloudflare, the job of a crawler is to “index the content of websites all across the Internet so that those websites can appear in search engine results.” To help your menu be more easily uncovered in search results, you’ll want to avoid posting a PDF of your menu (it’s harder for crawlers to read PDFs). Instead, consider incorporating your menu as HTML text on your website.

Is it on every platform? 

there are a boatload of websites out there that house restaurant menus. This includes OpenTable, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and more. You can upload your menu to these places to make sure diners all over the country are able to view it. This can take a bit of time, but it’s worth it. Why do we say that? Because as we noted above, folks aren’t necessarily searching for your restaurant in particular. They’re searching for things like “outdoor seating,” “takeout,” or “great Italian food.” If your menu appears on all these different sites, the odds you’ll pop up are that much higher.

Is it current?

This one is critical. Imagine having an outdated menu living in the internet universe. A customer comes across that menu and then heads to your restaurant, excited for a dish that appeared on your outdated menu and is no longer offered. You’ve just lost a customer (unless you can entice them with something else!). Your pricing also needs to be as up-to-date as possible, in addition to any specials, changes in dining protocols, etc. An updated menu is a great way to market some of the more unique things happening at your restaurant, too—like open-mic nights, 2-for-1 deals, or cooking classes.

As the leading financial lender for the restaurant and hospitality industry, it’s our job to understand your business needs and financial goals—and work hand-in-hand with you to determine a loan solution that will help you take the next step toward even greater success. We’re also always covering marketing tips and strategies for small businesses over at the Financial Pantry. Be sure to check back regularly for our latest articles, plus information on everything from small business financing to expansion projects and so much more.