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Home /Blog /How to Optimize Your Restaurant’s Online Menu

How to Optimize Your Restaurant’s Online Menu

Mari MelikyanMari Melikyan I take great pride in helping restaurant businesses create an online voice that speaks to their customers and helps them achieve their goals.
43 articles
BlogMenu Management
9 min read
Someone holds a credit card in front of a laptop screen.

If you’re a restaurant owner, you know how important your menu is. It’s the first thing potential customers see, and it can make or break their decision to visit your establishment. That’s why it’s crucial to optimize your online menu to look great and easy to use.

A printed menu is a thing of the past, and customers now expect to be able to view your menu online before they even step foot in your restaurant.

Before we get started, it’s important to note that there are two different types of online menus: static and interactive. Static menus are simply images or PDFs of your restaurant’s physical menu. In contrast, interactive menus allow customers to search for specific items, filter by dietary restrictions and even place orders directly from the menu.

Interactive menus are becoming increasingly popular, especially as customers become more comfortable ordering food online.

If you’re looking to optimize your menu, an interactive menu is a way to go.

Failing to optimize your online ordering menu can result in lost customers and revenue. The cuisines you offer, the prices you charge, and how your menu is presented can all impact how customers perceive your restaurant. Keep reading to learn some tips on optimizing your restaurant’s online menu.

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Offer a variety of cuisines as an alternative.

One of the best ways to optimize your menu engineering process is to offer a variety of cuisines. This gives customers more options to choose from, and it also shows that you’re a versatile restaurant that can cater to different tastes.

As a dine-in restaurant, you may be limited to the number of cuisines you can offer. However, if you’re a takeout or delivery establishment, you have more flexibility to experiment with different types of cuisine.

Not sure what cuisines to add to your menu? Try surveying your customers or conducting market research in your area. This will give you a better idea of what people are looking for and how you can stand out from the competition.

Here are examples of cuisines you could offer as alternative options within your cuisine especially when they aren’t available nearby:

  • Mexican like tacos, burritos, tortas and enchiladas
  • Italian like pizza, pasta, and lasagna
  • Japanese like sushi, ramen, and tempura
  • Chinese like dumplings, noodles, and stir-fry
  • Thai like curries, noodle dishes, and spring rolls

You can also get creative with your menu and offer a special menu item like fusion cuisine, a mix of two or more different cuisines. For example, you could offer sushi burritos or Thai-style pizza.

Use high-quality images of your food.

Another important tip is to use high-quality photos of your food. This will make your menu look more professional and delicious, encouraging customers to visit your restaurant. Be sure to use clear, well-lit food images that accurately represent your dishes.

The quality of food photos can also impact your search engine optimization (SEO). If you’re not familiar with SEO, it’s the process of making your website more visible in search engine results.

One way to improve your SEO is to use keyword-rich alt tags for your food photos. An alt tag is a piece of code that describes an image. When customers search for keywords relevant to your restaurant, Google will display your images and your website in the search results.

For the appetite tags, use keywords that accurately describe your dishes. For example, if you’re a pizza restaurant, then you might use the alt tags “pizza,” “cheese pizza,” and “pepperoni pizza.”

Include allergen information.

If you want to attract customers with dietary restrictions, you need to include allergen information on your menu. This will let them know which dishes they can and can’t eat, showing that you’re accommodating to their needs. Be sure to list all major allergens, such as gluten, nuts, and dairy.

Including allergen information is also an excellent way to show that you’re transparent about your ingredients. Customers will appreciate knowing what’s in their food, and it can build trust between you and them.

Make sure your menu is easy to navigate.

This means organizing your dishes to make sense and using clear, concise descriptions. When a restaurant has too many alternatives, it might be difficult to order food online. Tailoring a menu down to some of the most popular dishes will make choices easier for customers and reduce any stress making life easier for the kitchen and inventory manager.

If you have many items on your menu, you might want to consider grouping them by category. For example, you could have appetizers, entrees, and desserts sections. Or, if you have a lot of different types of cuisine, you could group them by country or region.

Another way to make your menu more user-friendly is to use symbols or icons to indicate which dishes are vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free. This will let customers know at a glance which dishes they can eat, and it will save them from having to read through the entire menu.

Making your digital menu easy to navigate makes it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for. It can encourage them to order from you more often, and it may also help increase your average order value.

List all ingredients and nutritional information.

Many people are now looking for restaurants that use fresh, local ingredients. If you can source your ingredients from local farms or markets, then be sure to mention this on your menu. This will let customers know that they’re supporting a sustainable business, and it may also give you a competitive edge.

Don’t forget to list all ingredients and nutritional information for each dish. Customers have a right to know what they’re eating, and they may appreciate having this information readily available.

Customers will value knowing the calorie content of their meals, which can build trust in your product.

If you’re not sure how to list all ingredients and nutritional information, you can use a software program or an online service. There are many options available, and they’ll make it easy for you to create a menu that meets all your customers’ needs.

Including all ingredients and nutritional information can ultimately lead to more sales and higher customer satisfaction.

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Use clear and concise descriptions of each dish.

When writing the descriptions for each dish, be sure to use clear and concise language. This will help customers understand what they’re ordering, and it may also encourage them to order from you more often.

Include a few key details about each dish, such as the main ingredients, the cooking method, and special flavors or spices. But don’t go overboard – too much information can be overwhelming, and it may turn customers away.

Then, be sure to proofread your descriptions before you publish them. This will help ensure that they’re free of errors, and it may also help you catch any typos or grammatical mistakes.

Your descriptions should be mouth-watering and tempting, so be sure to use language that will make customers hungry. And with the proper photo, the description will surely sell your dishes. For example, you could say that your chicken dish is “succulent” or that your salad is “fresh and crisp.” 

It’s a great approach to boost your sales and bring in new clients.

So, take the time to write well-crafted descriptions for each dish. It’s worth the effort!

Keep your menu updated with seasonal dishes and specials.

Your menu layout should be updated regularly to reflect the seasons and any special offers. This will keep customers interested in your restaurant, and it may also encourage them to visit more often.

If you’re not sure how to update your delivery menu, consider adding seasonal dishes or specials. For example, you could add a summer salad in the summertime or a pumpkin spice latte in the fall.

You could also offer discounts on certain days or times, such as “Happy Hour” specials. By keeping your menu items updated, you’ll be able to attract more customers and keep them coming back for more.

Inculcate a sense of urgency by using phrases like “limited time only” and “while supplies last.”

Using phrases like “limited time only” and “while supplies last,” you can create a sense of urgency that may encourage customers to order from you more often. This is because customers will feel like they need to order quickly before the dish is no longer available.

Including these phrases on your restaurant’s menu can also help increase your sales, as customers will be more likely to order items that are only available for a limited time.

As psychologists have long known, people are more likely to want something if they feel like they may lose it.

So, don’t be afraid to use these phrases on your menu to encourage customers to order quickly.

Use customer reviews to highlight the positive aspects of your menu.

Customers’ reviews, especially positive ones, can be beneficial in promoting your menu. You can use customer reviews to highlight the positive aspects of your menu, such as the taste of your dishes or the quality of your ingredients.

This is a great way to show potential customers that your food is worth trying, and it may also encourage them to visit your restaurant regularly.

So, be sure to ask your customers for reviews and then post them prominently on your menu. Then, watch as your sales start to increase.

And here are some bonus tips to optimize your restaurant’s online menu:

          Choice Reduction

While customization is generally a good thing, taking 10 mins to order a burger for delivery (supposed to be quick and convenient) is excessive. Keep menu and modifier options as minimal as possible.

          Menu Size 

Offering your whole menu is tempting, but optimization wise it’s better to offer the most popular menu items. A rule of thumb is if you’re not willing to upload a photo, it probably shouldn’t be there.

          Addons & Extras

Easy way to upsell by offering small order add-ons such as French fries or double protein. 3-4 dollars on each order adds up quickly. So get creative!

          Menu Organization

Menu navigation is essential for a positive customer experience. Finding dishes by major categories (noodles, rice, soup) helps a lot. Also, sorting items within categories by popularity will increase ordering and reviews. 

          Avoiding excessive hour-based menus

For example; Breakfast 8-11am / Brunch 9-10:30am / Dinner 4-10pm / All-day 8-10 etc. You run the risk of customers getting confused and ultimately not ordering. That means it’s probably not worth keeping track of those menu changes.

You can optimize your restaurant’s online menu and attract more customers by following these tips. By using clear and concise descriptions, keeping your menu updated, and using customer reviews, you’ll be able to boost your sales, bring in new business and improve your online ordering system.

With the Orders menu management system, you can make these changes with ease and have a great-looking menu that will increase your sales.

So, what are you waiting for? Optimize your menu today!

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