Restaurant and café owners have unique issues with regard to the management of their websites and online properties, since menus and daily specials tend to change frequently or sell out on busy nights. MenuPlatform is a marketing tool from Locu that helps address this issue by making it easy for restaurant owners to update their menus and specials online in real-time.
How It Works
The restaurant industry is fickle, and diners today are savvier than ever when it comes to researching the dishes and prices at local establishments. When a restaurant doesn't offer an online menu—or when that menu is available only as a PDF file, making it difficult to view on some smartphones and mobile devices—a typical customer will leave the website and abandon any plans to visit the restaurant in person. By using MenuPlatform, restaurants can bypass many of the complaints and issues that drive customers away from their websites.
Customers who visit websites with MenuPlatform menus can view a list of current dishes, specials, and prices without downloading any PDF files or worrying that the posted information may be out of date. They can also view current menu items by checking out the restaurant's Facebook page, since MenuPlatform offers tools that let businesses update their social networking pages at the same time they update their traditional websites and mobile properties.
MenuPlatform In Action
Restaurants, cafes and coffee shops can use MenuPlatform to update their menus and specials online without having to upload new files or reach out to their webmasters for help. Restaurateurs can sign up for MenuPlatform and claim their venues for free by typing in the name of their businesses. MenuPlatform will automatically pull up the address and phone number of the business, and put in an automated call to verify that the person signing up for a MenuPlatform account actually works at the establishment. Once a business owner has gotten his restaurant signed up and integrated MenuPlatform into his existing website's code, he can edit, publish and manage menus from the MenuPlatform dashboard page with ease.
Business owners who've integrated MenuPlatform into their websites can begin updating their specials, menu items and dishes in real-time—letting customers know immediately when popular dishes are sold out or when seasonal dishes have been added to their menus. They can also update any menus they've posted on Facebook with one-click, which ensures that customers aren't receiving out-of-date information when they visit the business' social networking page.
MenuPlatform is free for business owners with one venue. Merchants with more than one location can pay $25 per month, per venue, for MenuPlatform's advanced design tools and support features.
Why It Works
MenuPlatform does one thing, and it does it well. Rather than trying to tackle every aspect of restaurant marketing, MenuPlatform has decided to focus on helping to cut down on the time and money small-business owners spend updating their menus online. Restaurateurs who can update their menu information without the help of a webmaster or developer are more likely to make changes to their websites on a weekly, daily or even hourly basis.
From the customer's perspective, MenuPlatform works seamlessly behind the scenes. Most visitors will never realize that the menus they're viewing are being powered by MenuPlatform.
Maximizing the Benefits
In addition to updating the menus on their own websites, restaurateurs who use MenuPlatform can also update the menus they have posted on social media sites like Facebook. Social media marketing combines online search, local dining guides and personal recommendations into one, and restaurateurs who hope to take advantage of this phenomenon need to publish as much accurate information on their profile pages as possible. Posting a current menu is an important step when it comes to promoting any food-related business on Facebook.
Read more "How It Works."
Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight. She is based in Portland, Ore.