How MHM Handles 5 Million Menu Updates Monthly

5 million menu updates every month. This is the number we’ve come to, and it keeps growing.

Our restaurants power their websites with our high-resolution, print-ready, mobile-friendly menus, plus MHM for Facebook. This means that we have to eliminate processing delays to ensure no lost business for our restaurants.

When a menu is updated, we take a number of steps.

  1. Create a point-in-time snapshot so you can go back to an old version.
  2. Replicate your new menu data and back it up.
  3. Process the menu design and graphical images, and reprocess your online services that are linked from your website.

Yes, this happens over 5 million times per month.

MustHaveMenus is able to do this instantaneously, without any waiting for long network updates and menu reprocessing. Your menus, PDFs, mobile menu, and Facebook pages stay online and receive the latest changes, even if your menu design changes, or you add new ones.

We’ve implemented a number of backend systems to keep restaurant menus up and running for fast response times and during heavy loads. For instance, our Menu Builder 2.0 is actually sprawled across a network of NoSQL database nodes, called Couchbase, which lets thousands of restaurants simultaneously update their menus at once. More than that, we’re able to grow and keep up with all of the new demands of our restaurant members.

(For the technically inclined, we chose Couchbase over Mongo for it’s MVCC approach to data-writes, plus it’s auto-sharding cluster management.)couchbase

If you have not put your restaurant menus in the cloud with MHM, let us help your business and bring new eaters. It’s easy to get started.

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Make Your Takeout Menu in 5 Minutes


Once you’ve created your tabletop menu in Menu Builder 2.0, it’s a snap to make a takeout version. Simply open your menu, make a copy (with the Copy Menu button), and the new version will be your takeout menu. Change the paper size to Trifold or Quadfold, and your content will autoflow into the takeout template. Adjust the headers and spacing, and you’re ready to print!

Don’t have a menu yet? It’s easy to create your takeout menu from scratch, too. Pick a design, select a takeout size, and enter your content. You can customize the cover panel, change font colors, add your logo and icons, and more.

When you order prints, we’ll trim and fold them for you; they will arrive at your door ready for your customers.

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Southern Oregon Restaurants Adopt Cloud Menus

Howard Prairie Lake Resort and Oberon’s Tavern Modernize Their Menu Management

“Our menus have leapt into the modern era with the help of MustHaveMenus; their simple tools and great customer service open up so many marketing opportunities for us.” — Emily Parish, director of guest services, Mt Ashland Howard Prairie Lake Resort

“Besides live music, our menu is our #1 form of advertising and we couldn’t be more pleased that MustHaveMenus allows Oberon’s eclectic Shakespearean vibe to come across to patrons loud and clear.”
— Jordan Mackay, owner, Oberon’s Tavern

Oberons MenuModern restaurant owners have a lot on their plate: from the kitchen to social media, management to marketing, there are many aspects of the business to coordinate. Many savvy restaurateurs are turning to cloud resources to simplify the process. Two businesses in Southern Oregon have taken the leap to cloud-based menu software with MustHaveMenus.

The Howard Prairie Lake Resort is set in a stunning lakeside wilderness overlooking Mt McLoughlin. Emily Parish, director of guest services, used to rely on desktop publishing tools to create menus for the resort. But the software limited her creativity and didn’t deliver the professional results she wanted. Now Parish uses MustHaveMenus’ dynamic web tools to create her menus and deliver them seamlessly to the resort’s online marketing channels.

Oberons MenuNearby, in downtown Ashland, Oberon’s Tavern has an eclectic Shakespearean theme, enhanced by nightly music and Elizabethan-inspired fare. Owner Jordan MacKay also used to rely on home publishing programs such as Microsoft Word. “MustHaveMenus provides us with exponentially better menu management,” MacKay says. “Thankfully, gone are the days of wrestling with Word documents. Now our fun, spirited atmosphere, full of music, belly dancers and chicken plumb pies can be articulated through our menus; we are so thankful for MustHaveMenus.”

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New Look And New Themes

This month we’ve launched a new look for the Menu Builder 2.0. Here’s a quick overview of what’s new & improved:

1. The workspace is simplified.
The navigation has moved to the top, making it easier to view your content and the menu preview side-by-side. And instead of toolbars and buttons spread around the workspace, now they are all contained on the left.

The new & improved workspace has tools on the left, preview on the right.

The new & improved workspace has tools on the left, preview on the right.

Controls are now easier to find.

Controls are now easier to find.

2. Tools are more discoverable.
Some of the tools have been reorganized to make them easier to find. For example, you’ll now find Fonts, Spacing, and Columns settings under Styles. The control for “hide background” now lives under Graphics. If you have any trouble finding the tool you need, our service team will be happy to help (1-800-452-2234).

No more delays for auto-refresh.

No more delays for auto-refresh.

3. Refresh preview is now manual.
Instead of auto-refreshing the preview every few seconds, we’ve turned the control over to you. Now you decide when you are ready to see the latest version of your preview.  No need to slow down for auto-refresh. This change makes the menu-building experience faster and simpler.

4. New Themes to choose from.
Themes are designs created by our professional menu design team. They offer inspiration and a starting point for your custom menu needs. We’re adding new options to the collection every week. If you have a favorite design you’d like to use in Menu Builder 2.0 but you don’t see it in the theme gallery yet, just give us a call.  Click here to see the newest designs.

New themes are added daily.

New themes are added daily.

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Get Creative with Menu Builder 2.0

The new menu builder at MustHaveMenus offers more flexibility than ever to create a menu that perfectly fits your business.

Start with a template created by our professional menu designers, or select Build Your Own for a totally custom experience. Type in your menu content, then create your design. Here are some ideas for designing your own unique menu:

Add Graphics & Photos
It’s easier than ever to add your logo, a custom background, or photos to your menu. Upload your own art, or choose from one of the graphics galleries. Theme-related graphics include specials boxes and accents, or browse the large Clipart library for food images, seasonal graphics, word art and more.









Change Layout
Try different paper sizes – including legal, tabloid, half-page, or table tent – with just one click. Select from several column layouts, and adjust spacing as you prefer.

Customize Fonts
Select from more than 40 fonts, in a wide range of styles.  Match the text colors to your brand or logo.

Your Design, Your Brand
Whether you have an established brand or you’re searching for inspiration, Menu Builder 2.0 has got you covered. What will you create?

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Menu Builder 2.0 Update 5/30

Have you tried the Menu Builder 2.0 yet? It’s our new online menu maker, a powerful app for creating fully custom menus. Here’s a glimpse of what’s new this week:

1. Graphics mode (button located above your menu preview) makes it easier to select only graphics, especially if they are positioned behind your content


2. Choose from 40+ fonts! From woodcut to script, hand-drawn to Celtic-style, unique fonts let you customize your menu to match your brand.


3. Now you can control the space between a section header and the first item. Look for the new controls on the Layout toolbar


4. Specials boxes have been added to the theme graphics, so you can easily highlight featured items.


The team is hard at work on a bunch of new features, but our top priority is making the app quicker and easier to use. And we are grateful for the bugs you report; it helps us find and fix them quickly.

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10 Cool Features in the New Menu Builder 2.0

Create menus with a new level of convenience and control.

Here at MustHaveMenus, we are dedicated to delivering the best possible menu tools for small businesses. Guided by feedback from our users, the team has been hard at work developing a whole new Menu Builder experience. It’s packed with new features, and we’re excited to finally share it with you!

Here are some of the great features you’ll find in Menu Builder 2.0:

  1. Enter your content only once. Then preview it on any design.
  2. Your content auto-flows to create more pages as needed.
  3. Switch paper size with a click. Today we offer 7 sizes, with more to come.
  4. View your content and preview side-by-side, so you can see your changes immediately.
  5. Reorder your sections, and customize each section to suit any type of items.
  6. Want a different background? Hide the theme background and insert your own, or choose one from the graphics library.
  7. Customize your menu layout by changing columns.
  8. Move headers, footers, and sections around on the page to create the layout you need.
  9. Access thousands of images and menu labels in the graphics library.
  10. In addition to setting font color and size, now you can choose the font-face, style (bold, italic), and alignment.  The Apply All button makes it easy to update your fonts everywhere.

Even in this early stage, the Menu Builder 2.0 heralds a new level of customizability for online menu creation.  Stay tuned in the coming months as we add many more design themes, paper sizes, and features.


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Portland Sports Bar Has Efficiency On The Menu

The Bucket Brigade Sports Bar in Portland, Ore., is one of those classic neighborhood restaurants “where everybody knows your name,” as the theme song goes for the popular ’80s sitcom Cheers.

BucketBrigade_logoFor the past twelve years, owner Debbie Marinello has cultivated a diverse and accommodating atmosphere that’s reflected by her friendly staff’s knowledge of patrons’ names, drinks and favorite foods. The Bucket Brigade includes a mouth-watering array of twists on traditional pub favorites, such as the Peanut Butter Bacon Burger and the Turkey Melt with grilled onions and avocado.  Specialties like their Deep Fried Tender Chicken Gizzards are longtime favorites.

BucketBrigade_MustHaveMenus_1“We are a diamond in the rough here at Bucket Brigade and so is MustHaveMenus,” stated Marinello. “It’s quicker and easier now to manage our menus—we are glad our FSA (Food Services of America) rep introduced us to MustHaveMenus.” MustHaveMenus’ service team helped Marinello condense the Bucket Brigade menu from six pages down to two, a move that would make even Gordan Ramsay proud.

With a separate and ever-changing happy hour menu, it’s also super simple for Marinello to make quick changes and to print out updates in-house. Bucket Brigade has its own website, but thanks to MustHaveMenus publishing tools, their new menu is also on Facebook and Places, MustHaveMenus’ mobile optimized business directory. “Now we have a more user-friendly menu that is optimized for online and mobile; we can update them all in a snap,” Marinello said.

BucketBrigade_MustHaveMenus_NachosKeeping up with General Manager Carl Kidd and Bar Manager Doug Prentice as they continue to innovate and expand the menu has been a challenge for Marinello, who is a very busy single mother of three young men. “MustHaveMenus helps me to run the business more efficiently,” stated Marinello. “There’s an endless list of things I try to get done every day and MustHaveMenus took menu management off of my to-do list.”

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Great Menus Help Launch a Dream for Spa Entrepreneur

Wendy Hritz is doing what most of us simply dream of: going out on her own and being her own boss. After almost a decade of working for a variety of day spas, Hritz launched her own venture at the Courtyard Med Spa.

Menu2Providing a personal touch and going the extra mile for her customers has been Hritz’s signature since her early days as an esthetician in southern California. Over the years, she has honed her skills for all types of spa treatments including facials, chemical peels, waxing and eyelash extensions. But beyond trade skills, Hritz realized she would need some help to properly launch her business to the good folks of Midland, Texas.  She needed a way to create a marketing piece to professionally sell her services,  both in person and on the web.

“I just Googled menu design and I was quickly put at ease by MustHaveMenus’ easy-to-use web templates,” stated Hritz. Starting a business from scratch can be a daunting task for any seasoned professional; however, Hritz was able to quickly check off many important tasks with the help of MustHaveMenus.

“The MustHaveMenus’ support staff helped turn my draft concepts into professional quality menus and business cards, and now they’re on Facebook and mobile-ready! I never thought it could be that simple,” Hritz said.

Hritz wanted professional-quality marketing tools for her high-end spa. By using MustHaveMenus print service, she was able to click a button and have her menus and business cards delivered right to her door rather than working with a designer, going to the print shop and wasting extra time managing the process. “The paper is great, excellent stock, they look beautiful. The team did a great job and were proactive getting them to me and coaching me along the way,” she said.

Hritz also wanted to make her menus instantly available to online customers, including the rapidly growing number of customers doing searches using a mobile device. Despite having no technical experience, Hritz found MustHaveMenus’ Places page made that a snap. She was able to create her mobile page in just a few clicks, the final piece to her menu management puzzle. Hritz also added the MustHaveMenus app to her Facebook page so any time she makes a change to her menus, it will instantly show up on Facebook as well.

“I’m so excited for this new venture and I owe a big thank you to MustHaveMenus,” stated Hritz. “They made my menus as easy as ordering cotton balls and wax. Its just that simple.”

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Online Menu Builders Finally Make Sense

Successful Restaurateurs Use MustHaveMenus to Do A Week’s Worth of Work in A Day

“MustHaveMenus operates like we do: very straightforward, not gimmicky. When I called for help, a real person actually answered the phone.”
— Stephanie Copeland, Bimini Bar & Grill

Bimini Bar and Grill Menu Cover Template Online 1With 15 years of restaurant experience and four successful restaurants under their belt, husband and wife team Stephanie and Pete Copeland have found a new niche in the small coastal community of Osprey, Florida. Their Bimini Bar and Grill has been winning over patrons for two years with a variety of fresh, from-scratch seafood dishes. The menu blends East and West coast influences, including Pete’s favorite Philly cheese steak and Stephanie’s California-style fish tacos. A favorite dish among regulars is the Scallops St. Jacque: pan-seared scallops with a classic sherry and mushroom cream sauce over a bed of parmesan risotto.

Bimini Bar and Grill Menu Cover Template Online 2Over the years, Stephanie Copeland has served as the menu developer for the family business. Traditionally, she would go through the cumbersome process of creating menus in Word, then sending them to her husband and the chef for feedback before printing on their in-house printer. But one day Stephanie discovered MustHaveMenus, and an evolution took place. “MustHaveMenus has great templates and tools so that I’m still in control of the design of my menus; they make me look like a pro,” she said.

The convenience of online tools has made the whole menu process easier for the Copelands and their team. “I never would have guessed that I’d have a Facebook menu app, a mobile website and the ability to make edits and changes in the cloud—super helpful for all of us to access the menus wherever we may be,” Stephanie noted. “It used to take us a week to create and print event menus for New Years Eve or a sports event. Now it only takes a day to turn them around.”

2014 is going to be a big year for the Bimini Bar & Grill as they continue to source the best local ingredients and foster a strong relationship with the community. As the business grows, the Copelands and their two children look forward to planting roots deep in the West Florida sand.

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