Is your menu on the map?
By Colleen Cross
I love the printed word. I like the feel of the paper, the look of different fonts, the way they complement photos and graphics. I enjoy perusing a good menu from outside of a funky new restaurant or at a table with a glass of wine and promising aromas coming from nearby tables.
But, I also enjoy contemplating various delicious options online, cup of tea in hand, with my favourite song list playing in the background.
I am of the hybrid generation who are old enough to remember dial phones with spiral cords and the printing press but young enough to embrace computer technology.
So while part of me feels nostalgic about the old-school way things were, another part of me is excited by the world of possibilities the internet has opened up.
I can understand why people might want to study a menu – especially if they don’t often eat out – and take their time deciding which signature pizza they will try, unrushed by impatient staff or other customers. It’s a convenient, intimate, personalized experience tailor made for them.
For most people – 85 per cent of them, according to a recent Deloitte report – looking at a restaurant’s menu online is their main priority when ordering food from a restaurant for the first time.
If you’re not posting your menu online, you are almost certainly missing out on new customers and maybe giving current customers a reason to stray. Your menu must be easy to find, easy to read and as up to date as possible. For some solid menu advice and a rundown of common menu design mistakes, turn to Diane Chiasson’s column on page 22.
Those who make pizza prize the authentic, the artisan, the hand-made. The internet may seem not to fit in with that image, but it has an important role to play in your business’s survival.
Imagine you’re visiting an unfamiliar town or city, where it can sometimes be hard to find the interesting, off-the-beaten-path shops. The larger chain pizzerias pop up on your tablet or smartphone immediately, but the hidden gems often remain, well, hidden.
As a driver, you know how frustrating it is to encounter a blocked street when you can see your destination just out of reach. Well, what if you couldn’t even see that destination? If you don’t have your menu online, that’s what is happening. People literally don’t know what they are missing by not finding your restaurant.
There are plenty of ways you can use technology to help your business turn a bigger profit, but if we’re talking about easy steps, it doesn’t get much easier than having a website and/or Facebook page – with your menu on it. Your online menu doesn’t have to be fancy, but it must be accessible and up to date.
If it’s attractive, so much the better: it will help you tell your story and highlight the uniqueness, or personality, of your business. Its first job is to communicate what you have to offer, but, as Diane Chiasson writes in her column, the look and feel of your menu says a lot about your brand.
It’s true, technology has presented some challenges for bricks-and-mortar retail stores. People visit stores to check out the merchandise, then go online – often while still in the store – to compare prices elsewhere. It’s called showrooming and it’s common practice these days, creating fierce competition between those who offer identical products.
But for pizzerias, it’s different. The internet is your friend. It has great power to pull customers in to your shop by showing them what they’ve been missing and what they can only get at your pizza house.