How to Build a Great Online Menu

Even if you didn't embrace online ordering before, it's likely that the surge in popularity for curbside pickup and delivery orders during COVID-19 lockdowns in the past year has changed your mind. Any restaurant owner should recognize the importance of running an efficient and mobile-friendly restaurant website. These days, potential customers are more likely to just hop online looking for places to eat than to rely on the recommendations of those around them.


You need to attract new customers to your own website, and to do that, you'll need to rank in search engines. Your page load speed and friendliness toward Android devices and other mobile devices are major factors in how you'll rank. Whether you're a small restaurant or part of a franchise, however, you'll need to go beyond just posting pictures of your most popular dishes and ambient scenes from your restaurant. The restaurant industry lives and dies on customer support, and customers demand convenience. You'll need to provide it with an online menu for food orders.


Why You Need an Online Menu

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Having an online menu is great, especially for small restaurants, coffee shops, and food trucks because it increases the odds that patrons will find what you're offering. Not only that, but it helps to set expectations for your restaurant as well since customers will gain insights on your cuisine and prices and be able to compare them to other food costs.


Of course, even if you can't offer the best prices, everyone in the hospitality industry knows that exceptional service can be the deciding factor in your favor. Even wineries, breweries, and bakeries are starting to embrace online menus, so potential customers can decide what they want before they walk in the door.


Your online menu is also a great thing to share on your restaurant's Facebook page or other social media accounts to boost your online presence. You could even put some of your items up on Facebook ordering. This makes it more likely that you'll appear in local searches on mobile devices when users search for nearby restaurants.


Increase your presence, even more, when you leave detailed menu information on your profile for Google My Business and other business aggregates. An online menu is also a great help to customers looking to make reservations, so they'll be more prepared when they arrive. Now that you understand why you need a detailed online menu paired with your online order system, here are some ways that restaurants of all sizes can build the best possible menu.


1. Keep it simple.

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While it's important to make sure customers can easily understand what you have to offer, whether they're using a desktop or a smartphone, you also don't want to overload them with too much unnecessary information. If possible, it's best to fit all of your items on one page.


You may need to develop two different versions of the online menu: One for larger screens and one for mobile apps. If you can't limit the entire menu to one page, then divide it into separate pages based on the breakfast, lunch, and dinner servings.


Of course, you'll want to include some sort of call to action with each menu item ("order now," for example) to encourage a customer to reach for their credit card and go through your online ordering platform. You could also give an option to go to your reservation system, so a customer can reserve their menu items in addition to their table reservation. Key features like this with an easy-to-understand menu will go a long way toward customer retention.


2. Make your menu searchable.

Remember the importance of showing up in local searches if you want a customer to make a mobile order for takeout or delivery? The best way you can increase your odds of showing in search engines and thereby increase profits is to make your menu rank for popular industry keywords.


You don't have to load every menu entry down with focus terms, but you can at least include them in your description of your restaurant and services. Every bit of information you're able to pack into your menu can make a big difference.


3. Use your POS system to make improvements.

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Every restaurant, online ordering feature, and even menu can use some tweaks now and then. Fortunately, your point of sale (POS) system can help out with that, especially when it's combined with customer relationships management (CRM) software. Your POS can automatically track online payments, takeaway orders, dine-in orders, and even delivery orders, whether payments are made through cash, credit card, or even PayPal. It can do this with unlimited orders, and it even makes inventory management easier, since it can track what's being used and alert you to call your vendor for more supplies.


Combined with customer relationship management (CRM), you can take advantage of advanced features, like automatically storing and retrieving important customer data. These real-time analytics can be used to determine who your best customers are, and you'll be able to easily track which menu items are the most popular as well. If you want to reward customer loyalty, you can use this information in promotions that make special offers, like discounts or coupons, to your best customers.


You could even offer the ability for a repeat customer to make a custom order for their favorite item. You could even advertise loyalty programs on your menu to encourage repeat visits. Once you've identified your least popular items, you can make updates to your menu and replace them.


4. Advertise your delivery system and other conveniences.

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If you're offering convenient options that your competitors don't, your online menu is the perfect place to mention it. If you offer delivery along with online orders, you can expect a lot more activity in the kitchen. Some restaurant owners decide to pair their online ordering functionality with delivery platforms like ChowNow, DoorDash, or Grubhub.


This makes it easy to find your restaurant on mobile applications, but managing multiple delivery platforms gets complicated, especially with each one taking a commission fee. What you need is a way to keep all of your online ordering and delivery options in one place.


That's exactly what we offer at Cuboh. Our solution was made with the convenience of restaurants in mind first, and for a one-time setup fee, we can consolidate all of your third-party delivery apps on a single device. You'll also receive a centralized dashboard for reports from your restaurant POS, so you can review its analytics and prepare for growth.


We can get you set up with seamless POS integration in one to ten days, depending on the complexity of your restaurant operations. Once that's done, you'll just have a flat monthly fee for continued service. Update your online menu for the best online ordering system today, and start improving your bottom line today.



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