MustHaveMenus Blog

Category: ‘Case Studies’

Online marketing tools have big value for small restaurant

MustHaveMenus BigUns BBQ Online Marketing Menus

Photo: Thad Allton/The Capital-Journal

When opening a new restaurant, owners often count on friends and family to pitch in and help the business grow. For Big’Uns Grill in Topeka, Kansas, it was an Atwood family affair to launch their new culinary venture. Big’Uns is the first restaurant for brothers Craig and Lee Atwood. Lee is the meat expert; his bbq prowess has been well documented at many Atwood family functions over the years. Craig and Lee’s mother contributed financial support, while their cousin donated time in his welding shop to help them build their own smoker. Lee’s wife, Amanda Atwood, volunteered to do the marketing. In less than 90 days, with no formal training, this modest online-marketing maven created an online and social media presence for Big’Uns Grill to rival that of the big chains.

“Customers need to see our menu online; it’s very convenient for local doctors and busy business owners to check our menu online since they can’t get away from the office,” said Amanda. “It’s great to be able to create and control our own authentic online menu and keep it updated for Facebook, our website, and for printing here at the restaurant.”

BBQ Menu Management

After first creating a Facebook page for Big-Uns Grill, Amanda found MustHaveMenus while searching for a simple way to create and update their menu. She was initially impressed by the variety of templates to choose from and how easy it was to create a custom menu herself. Amanda’s menu can now be found all over the Internet. It’s on Facebook with MustHaveMenus’ Menu App. It’s on Urban Spoon linked to their MustHaveMenus Places page (optimized for mobile devices) and it’s on their own website Now whenever Amanda needs to update the tabletop menu, with one click she can sync her changes across all of these websites as well.

“We are confident that our marketing efforts are reaching our local customers in a variety of productive ways,” said Atwood. “With a TV commercial, a strong Facebook following and online menus being updated on key websites, we are well positioned to reach local businesses, consumers and out-of-town travelers.”

Expert Tips for Launching a Beauty Salon

When Tiffany Smith opened her own salon business this September, she was fulfilling a dream to offer luxury beauty services at affordable rates. After 16 years of experience at high-end spas, Smith was ready for the next phase of her career.

MustHaveMenus_Tiffany_and_Spa_1In her former role as director at thriving spas, Smith had relied on in-house marketing and design teams to create promotional materials. But with a limited budget for her own fledgling business, she turned to MustHaveMenus. “With MustHaveMenus’ easy to use web tools and super helpful customer service team, I can do it all myself, saving lots of time and money,” Smith said. She designed her trifold spa services menu and gift certificates on the site, and used MustHaveMenus professional print service to have the first batch of 500 menus delivered to her door.

MustHaveMenus_Tiffany_and_Spa_2Smith is also savvy about building her brand online. Before the doors even opened at Tiffany & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif., she was promoting the business on Facebook and hard at work on a beautiful website. She used social media to share updates on the building renovation, showcase products, and promote beauty services. An online booking app made it easy for clients to start lining up their appointments. To keep her brand consistent from storefront to the web, she took advantage of MustHaveMenus’ one-click online publishing features to share her menu on Facebook and the mobile-optimized Places directory. “I love the fact that everything I create can be quickly updated online and to Facebook,” Smith noted.

MustHaveMenus_Tiffany_and_Spa_3As a first-time entrepreneur, Smith leveraged several MustHaveMenus tools to set up her business. “MustHaveMenus just blew me away,” she said. “It’s incredible how much they helped me to launch my salon business. Everyone needs to know about MustHaveMenus!”

Honoring Moms at The Black Rose


Restaurant celebrates Mother’s Day with live music, gift cards & more

May 12th will be the first Mother’s Day at The Black Rose, which has been open just 7 months under its new name. But it’s not manager Scott Meland’s first Mother’s Day in the restaurant business. “It’s an exciting day—very busy—and I really enjoy seeing all the families together.” One of his chefs always works on Mother’s Day as a way to remember and honor his mother who died 4 years ago. It’s a day that tugs at heartstrings, that’s for sure.

The Black Rose in Newington, Conn., is always a popular spot. Live music brings in crowds, Tuesday-Saturday. They have even filmed a music video in their vintage-style bar. But for Mother’s Day, they’ll be going with piano music to give Moms at least one day of harmony in the week. Meland is thinking that mothers deserve free champagne, too.

“Brunch is the most popular meal on Mother’s Day,” Meland confirms, and The Black Rose’s brunch menu makes every attempt to pamper the ladies. They’ll get an Omelet Bar, Salad Bar, entrees like Baked Fettucini Alfredo with Tomatoes & Broccoli, plus Prime Rib and Baked Ham at the carving station. A Chocolate Fountain (with strawberries!) and Red Velvet Cake by their celebrated pastry chef set an upscale, classic tone. As a bonus, children under 5 eat free.

But some mothers prefer dinner out, so Meland and his crew created an evening menu with a luxurious prix fixe 4-course meal or a la carte selections. What is their bestselling dinner item? “Surf & Turf is always #1,” he tells us, and no wonder. It’s listed as “Certified Angus Filet Mignon grilled to perfection, paired with a cold water Lobster Tail.” Sounds like a rare treat of exceptional quality.

Lobster and Steak

And listen to the very smart, generous gift they have for Mom at dinner: a $25 gift card! Since they get quite a few new guests on this busiest of days, it assures that they will return to The Black Rose soon.

For his two featured meals of the day, Meland created unique Mother’s Day menus at, and posted them on his website. He also spread the word by sharing his flyer and menus on Facebook. By making a big splash for families on May 12th, The Black Rose strengthens its relationships with loyal customers, and creates a new connection with first-time diners.

What is your restaurant doing to make Mother’s day a memorable celebration this year?

Judy Wood is a food writer for MustHaveMenus.

8 Weeks of Fresh Marketing Ideas for Holiday Sales Success – Week 6 – A Golf Club Case Study

Golf clubs, country clubs and other membership venues are happening places during the holidays with parties and weddings.

This week we bring you an example of how you can promote your club during the holidays from a MustHaveMenus customer – Rachel Kehm, the assistant manager at Aronimink Golf Club in Newton Square, Pa. She discusses how clubs can use different marketing materials including flyers, email blasts and newsletters to communicate with their memberships.

Plus, she has some great tips on using MHM flyers and menus to customize your club promotions. Let’s start with a little Q & A:

MHM: Do you see a good bit of business in your dining hall space during the holidays?

Rachel: We are extremely busy during the holidays, especially in the month of December.

MHM: How do you promote your services or parties during the holidays?

Rachel: We use our newsletter to promote club events, we create posters from templates on MHM and we send out weekly email mail blasts. 

MHM: Do you receive more business from members or outside groups during the holidays?

Rachel: All events at the club are either for or sponsored by a member.

MHM: Any holiday specials for members?

pub dinner menuRachel: We will do some different specials for Happy Hour in our new pub during the holidays.

Why Aronimink Golf Club Chooses MHM to Promote Events

Let’s jump into how Rachel uses MustHaveMenus menus and flyers to promote their events to members and to customize the experience during individual events. We’ll also share some unique examples of how she makes our templates her own.

Rachel says they chose MustHaveMenus for their design needs because they needed an easy way to create menus and special event flyers in-house, and they needed a wide variety. They also wanted an easy-to-use program to create these materials. Enter the Menu Editor and MHM’s Word templates.

Because the Aronimink Club has so many smaller events each week, they print customized menus on a weekly basis. They change the club menus out three to four times a year.

Rachel says with the volume of menus they customize, MHM gives them designer-quality results at a much more affordable cost.

Club Event Design Ideas from Aronimink Golf Club

Club Idea #1: Use MHM templates to create ads for your print newsletter.

Rachel says they devote two pages of the newsletter to small ads using MHM images and templates. “This has been very successful because in the past, we would just list the events in the newsletter,” Rachel says. “Now, each event has a special advertisement, which draws your eye to the page.”

family dining menu posterClub Idea #2 Create posters from MustHaveMenus templates.

Rachel says that they often scale MHM flyers to poster size to promote events and services at the club. Check out this example of their family dining menu.

kids christmas flyerClub Idea #3: Make each event unique by printing customized flyers and menus.

In this example, Rachel took a kid’s Christmas menu and turned it into a flyer for their recent kid’s Christmas party.

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