Food delivery has been around since the 1800s, when European royals would have pizza delivered straight to their doors. The concept has only increased in popularity since then, with more and more people appreciating the convenience of having delicious, restaurant-quality meals in their homes. By 2025, it's expected that food delivery will be a $200 billion industry.
Nowadays, restaurant owners are capitalizing off the delivery trend by opening ghost kitchens, or digital restaurants. Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants, ghost kitchens have no dine-in area — rather, their business revolves around online ordering. Thus, it's essential that they offer a high-quality, appealing online menu where people can learn more about the restaurant. Here are some factors that show the importance of an online menu.
Customers Want To Do Research
If a customer is looking for a new restaurant to order from, chances are they're going to go online. If you don't have a ghost kitchen menu available, they probably won't even realize your restaurant exists.
Even if a customer does know about your restaurant, it's still helpful to have a menu available. According to a survey conducted by OpenTable, approximately 86% of customers look through a menu before placing an order. If you don't have an easily accessible menu, you may lose out on those consumers.
Menus Boost Your SEO
Creating a digital presence is a great way to spread awareness about your brand, especially if your brand depends on online ordering. To connect with people, you'll need to rely on search engine optimization (SEO), which involves increasing website traffic through organic search results. You can boost your online visibility using the following methods:
- Create high-quality content: Low-effort websites with minimal designs, numerous typos and poor images are less likely to be promoted by search engines. In addition to improving your website, you can share high-quality content online (such as through Google Posts).
- Connect with locals: With over 80% of customers consulting online menus prior to eating out, it's essential that people in your area find your menu. You can increase your local SEO by getting online reviews, using location-based keywords and creating a Google My Business account.
- Optimize your menu for mobile devices: With 81% of consumers searching for restaurants on mobile devices, it's important that you develop a mobile-based search strategy.
- Get on social media: With nearly four billion people on social media, online platforms are a great way to connect with new customers and show them what your business is all about. For instance, posting Instagram stories gives potential consumers a visual representation of your menu items.
When done right, online menus don't just increase your brand awareness — they add to the customer experience. If you make the effort to appeal to your consumers by providing a beautiful, accessible and legible menu, they can trust you to deliver on the food portion as well.
Menus Represent Your Brand
Traditional restaurants are often judged by their setting. A pleasant atmosphere, attentive servers and intricate designs can make up for a lackluster menu. Virtual kitchens, on the other hand, have no dine-in area to attract people — they have to rely entirely on menus to bring in new customers.
Because online menus are so instrumental to ghost kitchen owners, they deserve considerable thought and devotion. While a plain white background with black text can get the job done, it sends out the message that your business is boring and lacks imagination. A portable document format (PDF) may be simple to create and easy to upload, but mobile users struggle to read them. Ultimately, you need a menu that's accessible to everyone and catches the eye. Some design trends you can try out include:
- Bold colors and fonts
- High-quality photographs
- Compact menus (separate tabs for different meals)
You can also personalize the buyer experience by allowing customers to save menu items they're interested in, which lets them easily find what they want to order next time they visit your site. Just a bit of restaurant innovation can go a long way with your customers.
Developing Your Menu
Now that you understand the importance of online menus, it's time to develop your own. Along with selecting your menu items, you should consider the following technical aspects:
- How much your menu items cost
- Which delivery applications you plan to work with
- How you intend to manage your online orders
There's no point in spending time and effort building up your menu, only to struggle with order management — if you want to be a part of the virtual restaurant revolution, you'll need some high-quality restaurant tech by your side. Cuboh, a rising food technology, offers an online platform that lets you streamline your orders to a single device. The result is a faster, more efficient workflow that keeps your customers coming back.