Order Up! Make the Most of Your Mobile-Optimized Restaurant Menu

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By Top 10 Staff

Graphic of mobile phone with silverware

What are you doing as a restaurateur to provide diners with the best online experience possible? Are you showcasing the main reason people step out of their homes to visit restaurants in the first place: the food?

In the dining and restaurant industry, pockets of businesses seem to have fallen behind the curve when building and nurturing creative marketing strategies. You can find great ways to get your gastronomic offerings out into the digital sphere and create unforgettable experiences for potential diners without pouring large amounts of money and resources. One of the first and most important ways to do that is by creating a menu for your mobile website. Here’s how.

Sell the Sizzle and the Steak

Get as creative with the imagery on your mobile menu as you would on your desktop version. This will give you an immense advantage over your competition and provide your graphic and web designers with a broader artistic license.

How about a short, introductory video of main menu items being plated? Or an infographic that shows the origins of each ingredient used in a dish or a special? You could even use GIFs or other rich media in a way that spotlights a popular item, featured ingredient, or chef.

Some restaurants partner with local markets and add links that point to hard-to-find herbs and produce to help food enthusiasts make top-quality food at home. The possibilities are virtually endless when it comes to the amazingly creative things you can do with your mobile restaurant menu.

Graphic of food on mobile devices

Take Advantage of Your Social Streams

Using social media has been the source of success for food trucks ever since their proliferation in the mid-2000s. When you talk about mobility, you can’t help but mention how social media has been, and still very much is, a major part of restaurant success.

If your restaurant changes menu items weekly or daily, snap a quick picture of your day’s offerings, and post it on your social media feeds. Customers appreciate the immediacy of information access without having to jump through hoops or be forced to sign into a Web page menu to see what's new today. Social media streams can also be used to update followers on upcoming items, specials, events, or any other changes that may be occurring at your restaurant. For example, you can tweet a promotional code or phrase that patrons can use to get discounts or free items.

Reach Out to Influencers

Word-of-mouth marketing is a true force to be reckoned with, so take note of ways in which you can leverage the community-at-large to spread the good word about your menus without having to pound the pavement or go door to door.

Collaborate with a prominent food blogger or restaurant enthusiast and have her share your menu items with her followers and colleagues. This approach works two-fold by serving as a promotional tool and a positive review. How’s that for a 2-for-1 special?

Enlist a Third Party

More often than not, the last thing a restaurateur looks for is a marketing, PR, or advertising team to staff the kitchen. Because of this, things like menu and website quality tend to take a back seat to seemingly more important aspects of the business. This is 100 percent understandable, so there’s no shame in calling on a third-party menu application, like OpenMenu or Urbanspoon, to publish your menu items for you.

They may not be the most visually appealing options, but they’re simple to use, accessible on most mobile and tablet platforms, and have food menu templates you can quickly edit to keep item offerings up-to-date.

Transparency Is the Best Policy

It’s very frustrating when an establishment hasn’t used any type of template for its restaurant menu, making it impossible to navigate on a mobile device, or is missing info that is included on the restaurant’s desktop website. This can range from including menu items without prices all the way to providing pictures only with no descriptions of the food. List prices, or take it a step further and list prices that include sales tax.

Be frank about the items you plan on serving to people who have chosen your establishment over a competitor. Be clear, yet concise, about how dishes are prepared and what they’re prepared with — this is especially important information for those who have serious food allergies. Transparency in the kitchen may seem trivial, but it goes a long way in establishing a positive rapport with your customers. Being straightforward about the food you're cooking, ingredients you’re sourcing, and customer service standards you’re bolstering all helps with the overall success of your restaurant.

Keeping these tips in mind not only enhances the brand reputation of your restaurant, but also ensures your menu will be easily viewed and engaging on a mobile device. That tastes good to us.

To learn more about how the best mobile marketing practices can help you and your restaurant soar to new heights, or to gain insights on how to create your own templates for restaurant menus, check out our templates page, and get inspired.

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