Your menu is at the heart of what you do. Why not make it shine and get it in front of as many potential customers as possible? As customers search for your restaurant online, what do they find? PDFs? Flash pages? Scanned copies of you menu? These can be slow to load, difficult to search, and awkward on a smart phone.
The good news is there are excellent websites and apps out there to help you design a sleek menu and increase your online traffic. Here are three we love:
If you are a smaller operation or have a website with PDFs, Flash, or no online menu at all, Locu may be perfect for you. This app will get you running with a website, mobile site, Facebook page, and printed menus - all synced with their partner sites like OpenTable, Yelp, CitySearch, and TripAdvisor. Price is not bad, either. A free option outfits one location with support and basic designs and $25/month per location gives you even more support and more designs. Or you can customize a package for higher volume. So it can grow with you.
SinglePlatform syncs your key details (menu, special, hours, and services) to over 100 listing sites and mobile apps, including Yellow Pages, Foursquare, Urbanspoon and, most recently, GrubHub. It seems a bit pricey, starting at $495 for one year, but this also serves as a design tool and updating hub. One time-saving feature that could help you reach more customers is the ability to schedule posts in advance for, say, daily specials or wine menus, so they automatically update on Facebook and Twitter. Robust, comprehensive, time-saving: nice.
Perhaps you need a whole new website, but want something simple. One reviewer summed up Happytables in a word: “Idiotproof.” Using this WordPress tool, users rave about the ease of designing their site with unlimited pages for menu, hours, and links to Facebook events. You can decide what widget goes where in simple drag and drop fashion - even with the free version. Happytables also integrates with Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook, and MailChimp and automatically generates a mobile site for you. Not bad. If you decide to upgrade from free, it's $29/month ($348/year).