MustHaveMenus Blog

Category: ‘Marketing’

You’ve Got Online Ordering – Now Get More Orders!

oo-new order notification

You’re an ahead-of-the-curve restaurateur. You understand the importance of a strong online presence for your restaurant. You also know that a whole new generation of guests will want to do more and more with your business online, including ordering takeout and delivery from the web.

You have everything you need to succeed:

  • A streamlined, mobile-friendly website
  • The MustHaveMenus Online Ordering app installed
  • Any specials or promotions applied to your online ordering menu

And yet, you still haven’t received your first online order. Or maybe you’re just not getting as many as you’d like. It turns out, there’s a couple of important factors that can increase your business – and the most important one is letting your customers know what you’re offering!

1. Turn your takeout menu into a sales force
One of the easiest ways to let your guests know that you have online ordering is to add a small note on your takeout menu. Use the footer space, or even the front panel to announce this exciting new option!


2. Post about it on social media

Your guests have liked you on Facebook and followed you on Twitter – they love your food, they love your atmosphere, and they want to be the first ones to know about anything new. So don’t leave them in the dark – post a link to your online ordering page, and do it often!


3. Update your voicemail message

One simple and very effective way to let your customers know about online ordering is to add it to your voicemail message or your on-hold message (if you have one). That way, if your customers call in after hours or when you’re busy, they’ll automatically find out that they don’t even need to call for takeout anymore – they can just go to your website!


These are three simple actions you can take to increase online orders for your business. To learn about even more marketing ideas, just click here. Need some help getting started with online ordering? Give us a call at 800-452-2234 or contact us here. We’re excited to work with you, and help you boost your business!

Relaunch of New York Restaurant Chooses MHM for Custom Menu Design

Blog-CASE-STUDY-image-Spillane'sAfter 25 years in the food and beverage industry, General Manager Carey Chaney has seen a lot of change. That experience translates to an invaluable business savvy along with an in-depth understanding of a restaurant’s need to keep up with changing customer desires and sophistication. More importantly, she knows when it’s time to refresh. When Molly Spillane’s decided to re-launch their brand, Carey embraced the expertise of MHM’s Design Services team.

MHM: What was the main motivator in re-launching Molly’s brand?
Carey: Customers are more informed and concerned about their diet now. Their expectations are higher—better quality food, greater value, and superb service. When I started at Molly’s the menu didn’t reflect those standards. There was no menu accommodation for gluten-free, dairy-free or organic choices. People are much more discerning, now. They know the difference in quality, freshness, etc. and what is healthiest for them. If we don’t provide those choices, there are plenty of other restaurants that do. If a customer doesn’t see that we are willing to take care of their needs, they’ll go someplace else. And they won’t come back.

MHM: What criteria do you think is important when creating a menu based on customers higher standards? 
Carey: Menus now have to have a fresh look coupled with an eclectic offering in order to serve everyone’s needs. And that has to extend through the brand at all touch points. When we decided to refresh the menu we realized we needed to revisit the entire restaurant experience from the minute they walk in the door to dessert.

MHM: What happened as a result of the menu redesign?
Carey: Once we started looking at redesigning the menu and realized how the change would reflect on Molly’s brand, we began reviewing the entire dining experience, striking five points: 1) Greet quickly. 2) Accommodate discerning palates. 3) Deliver good quality. 4) Provide the best value. 5) Offer seamless service.

MHM: How familiar were you with MHM when you embarked on the re-launch?
When I joined Molly’s, the owner already had an account set up. They had been utilizing the MHM platform for all Spillane’s menus—at Molly’s alone, we revise our menus one to two times per week, including our beer and dessert menus. Spillane’s also has three other locations that use MHM to design their menus: Mickey’s, Maggie’s and Nellie’s. Each restaurant has its own select menu items at that location. Spillane’s restaurants have been around for nine years. Molly’s is the newest at six years.

MHM: How did your previous menu-making method differ from MHM’s online platform?
 At the last restaurant I managed, someone did the menu design in-house and then shipped it out to get printed. It took a week and a half. We had to be really good at planning ahead but it didn’t allow for any changes unless we did the whole process again. Our menu is five pages, including the cover. We create them as single, one-sided copies.

With MHM, I can bang out a customized menu in just 30 minutes. It’s pretty easy. At first, I spent a couple of weeks getting comfortable with spacing, margins, mixing a variety of fonts, and feeling more confident playing with backgrounds, borders, coloring and graphics. There are a lot of options to explore! I tried three or four themes I liked. Now I can make changes immediately, print it out and it’s done. We don’t use MHM’s printing feature only because it’s easier for us to print them in-house simply because of the frequency of menu updates.

MHM: Why did you decide to have Design Services create the menu instead of doing it yourself? 
Carey: With the Molly relaunch, we had just a three-day window to create an upscale menu with more offerings. Not only were we changing the menu in three days, we were changing our serving sizes, retraining our servers, and familiarizing everyone with the new menu offers, all in an effort to take our service and standards to next level. I felt my attention should be on the staff and servicing and trust the menu design to MHM.

MHM: How happy were you with MHM’s redesign? How did your customers respond?
Well, what I loved the most was working with Samantha in Design Services. She was great! And she made it fun. Our customers loved the new menu design. It was a masterpiece! They were very receptive to the new menu items, too. We make sure to touch base with every table in the dining room to get their feedback. It’s really important for customers to feel heard.

MHM: What other MHM features do you see exploring in the future?
Eventually, we will offer weekly specials and will need to create a menu for that. We also will need tri-fold menus. All the MHM benefits are great. We’re definitely getting our money’s worth out of the program.

Spanky’s Pub House Already Has Three MustHaveMenus (and A Kids’ Menu On the Way)

Blog-CASE-STUDY-Spanky-2Despite Spanky’s three-year success as a favorite Myrtle Beach destination for locals and resort visitors alike, owners Carrie and Bob Ross thought it was time to upgrade their menu. They wanted a fresh look to compliment their reputation for serving only freshly cooked pub food (no frozen-to-fryer fare like other pub establishments). Carrie admits she’s a numbers person, not a creative person. While she was happy to let go of the creative process she did not want to compromise her vision. Within a few hours of speaking with MHM’s Design Services she had exactly what she wanted…and more.

MHM: What drove your decision to use our Design Services?
Carrie: Friends of ours that own a restaurant in the area referred us to MHM. I was able to touch and feel their menu so I knew the quality was good. I had absolutely no reservations about the quality. But our friend’s menu is pretty complicated, with multiple columns, and I was a bit intimidated to attempt it myself, especially since I was looking to do more customization. The end result was beyond my skills. You have to understand, we ran a residential building business so I’m a numbers person, not a creative person. Additionally, I needed something “yesterday” and wasn’t able to give it the time needed. When I emailed Design Services they could see that I had started a couple of menus and got stuck. I signed up with membership so I could benefit from their member discounts and additional services.

MHM: What happened during your conversation with Design Services?
Carrie: They completely got me. I had tried explaining what I wanted via email but it just wasn’t translating. Once we had a chance to connect over the phone I was amazed at how quickly they were able to take my chosen template, customize it, and email me a rendition that represented exactly what I envisioned. And within hours!

MHM: How did your MHM experience differ from past menu creations using traditional resources?
Carrie: In the past, a friend of one of our bartenders would create our menus in her spare time. Timeliness was not an option. She did two menus for us. We told ourselves they were just temporary menus. The last “temporary” menu lasted 18 months. While it was free the trade off was a long drawn-out process. In contrast, after talking with MustHaveMenu’s team for just 30 minutes one Friday afternoon and providing menu information they needed to get started, we had a design layout to review by the following Tuesday. The final draft was complete within a week as compared to two and a half months with the previous scenario. The Design Services team was great to work with—friendly, responsive, and talented!

MHM: From a cost perspective, how did your MHM membership investment compare? 
Our design development investment was only $100. We then decided to have a take out menu created, too. At $561 for 100 full-color 8 1/2″ x 14″ menus with lamination, plus 2,500 trifold, full-color glossy take out menus, it was far less expensive than the cost of printing at our local Staples. What we learned was by paying a higher premium for printing and losing valuable time, we ended up spending more money in the past. Our investment in MHM was well worth every penny spent, hands down.


MHM: What other MustHaveMenus products and benefits have you utilized with your membership?
 Once we got the printed versions taken care of we didn’t hesitate to convert the menu for use on our Facebook page and website. In fact, the menu is our website (except for an illustration of Spanky, their 14-year old Boston Terrier mascot and the subject of their $8,000 merchandising revenue).

MHM: How were the new menus received?
Carrie: We introduced them at the beginning of November and our customers absolutely love them! We’ve gotten huge amounts of compliments. We used to have a 4-page menu in a plastic folder. It looked weathered and beaten. Our customers love how the thicker stock laminated menus look and feel—all snappy and new. It’s very exciting.

MHM: What’s next up for menus?
We’re definitely going to want to create a kids’ menu. We have a lot of families that are regulars and their children are our customers by default. We realize that those children are potential customers, as they become young adults. This time I am going to try to do the kids’ menu creation myself. Since MHM has so many fun templates to choose from and they make it super easy to do, even I can be creative!


Use Facebook to Drive Online Orders and Customer Loyalty


Inspire your customers to have a “night-in” dinner or brunch with a few of their favorite dishes from your restaurant’s website. Spread the word by utilizing low cost, targeted advertising with Facebook. It’s an incredibly powerful tool for increasing awareness and has great potential for driving mobile orders on your website. Studies show that 69% of consumers are already using mobile devices to order food online and 95% of them return to order again. This means you can increase customer loyalty with minimal effort and little cost.

Here’s how you can use Facebook advertising to drive those online orders to your restaurant.

Page Post Link:  A page post link is the most common type of Facebook ad and is ideal for both driving traffic to your restaurant’s website and inspiring likes for your restaurant’s Facebook page. The ad layout allows for a title, large image, text and a link description. The page post link displays not only in the right column and the news feed, but also on mobile, making it suitable for inspiring potential customers to order their meal from your online ordering menu directly from their mobile device.

Target Your Audience:  Facebook lets you choose the audiences of your ad by location, age, interests and more. Here are some specific approaches to hone in on your audience:

Geo-Targeting:  Reach your target audience by country, region, state, city, and even zip code. Start with potential customers who are within walking or short driving radius of your restaurant, as they may be more likely to swing by after work or on the weekend to pick up their online order. With Facebook’s local awareness ads all you need to do is set a budget and the area you want to reach. It offers customers the option to send you a direct message, call to place an order and/or get directions.

Demographic Information:  Millennials, ages 18-34, are currently the largest users of mobile/online ordering. Target this age range to get in touch with customers who already prefer ordering food from their smartphones and tablets.

Interest & Behaviors:  Identify your ideal customers based on their affinities and the Pages they already like. If you are a vineyard restaurant, for example, you could target Facebook users interested in Napa Valley, wine tasting, or wine parings. You could even target fans of certain pages, such as “Sonoma Wine Country Weekend.” To help you along, Facebook gives you keyword recommendations in the interests section of the ads create tool. It will even show you the potential reach of each keyword.

Research indicates that mobile ticket order totals are 30% higher than the industry average ticket. Making a small investment in Facebook advertising could give your mobile orders, revenue, and customer loyalty a real boost. 

Start promoting your restaurant’s online ordering using social media. Don’t have an online ordering menu yet? Click here to start earning extra income, risk-free. 


Rosa’s Pizzeria Celebrates 5 Years and A New Menu Design

Rosas-Pizzeria-CASE-STUDYAt the approach of Rosa’s Pizzeria’s fifth year in business, General Manager Aaron Wind had a vision for a menu redesign but didn’t have the time to do it himself. He wanted to be able to work with someone who could take direction and create exactly what he envisioned, cooperatively and quickly. Working with independent designers in the past proved too expensive with less than desirable results.  

MHM: What prompted you to create a new menu?
Aaron: As we entered our 5th year in business, it became apparent that we needed to upgrade our entire line of menus.

MHM: Why did you decide to change your menu building process?
Aaron: We were fortunate that our business had grown and we needed our menu to reflect the look and feel of our restaurant, today. We had been using a generic template since 2011. It didn’t allow for customization at all. Everything from getting the text edited correctly, allowing room for graphics to making columns was a challenge. And we wanted something that looked like a menu instead of an office document. Traditional printing services don’t understand the nuances of menu building: font sizing, columns, graphics, enhancements, copying and editing text–those options were never on the table before until MustHaveMenus.

MHM: What were your concerns using our Design Services (DS) and what ultimately gave you confidence that they could meet your expectations?
 I chose to use the Design Services because I simply don’t have the time to build the menu myself. I was confident MHM would be able to create a great product based on their website/samples I had received. My main concern was about the attention to detail not working face-to-face with someone. However, it became immediately apparent that this was not going to be an issue. Within 24 hours of sending over my current menu (at the time), I had a draft on a themed template that I had selected. It didn’t work like I imagined. After selecting a new theme, I received another draft less than 24 hours later, which had been customized to fit my menu options. I appreciated that the thoughts I had exchanged via e-mail were being expressed on the menu design and that my desire for perfection was embraced and not seen as an annoyance. They ended up delivering in a big way. We ended up creating a whole new line of menus; an in-house menu, a kids menu, a dessert menu, and to-go menus.

MHM: Was the cost of membership worth the benefit of working with DS?
The cost of membership was easily worth it. I’ve spent much more money in the past for much less talented design help. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it would cost me to pay an independent designer to do this task, but I know it certainly wouldn’t have been in my budget. The turnaround time was exceptional. Oftentimes, I would request changes and they would be done within hours of when I submitted them. That was my favorite part of the experience: how personal it was but at the same time, incredibly efficient. We completed an entire set of menus from start to finish in less time than I’ve spent creating a single menu at a traditional office print center in the past. I am so pleased that I chose to work with Must Have Menus.

MHM: What stands out the most for you about your MustHaveMenus experience?
 What I appreciated the most was how quickly the Design Services team was able to work on my menus and make changes when I requested. They were very detail-oriented and executed to perfection the vision I had in my head. I was just so thrilled with the level of customer service and the speed and efficiency in which they produced my menus. It felt like I was their only client and they had a vested interest in the menus themselves. I have received wonderful feedback from my guests already — commenting on how clean and easy to read they are, as well as the nice use of colors.

MHM: How do you see MustHaveMenus’ role in the future?
 I can’t imagine using anybody else for my menu needs going forward. It’s such a relief knowing I have a business partner that will alleviate a lot of the stress that goes into menu creation in the future. I now look forward to updating my menu in the future to keep up with guest demands, seasons, food cost and everything else that goes into creation. I look forward to a long partnership with Must Have Menus. Thank you, MHM!



Convert Online Visitors to Restaurant Customers

Stocksy_txp244031f0zoa000_Small_594317Visitors are flocking to your website, the number of your followers is growing, but seats in your restaurant are still not filling up any faster. Turn your focus towards converting website visitors and social media fans into customers. 

Offer an Incentive in Exchange for an Email: Give website visitors a reason to sign up for your email list. A coupon for an appetizer, compliments of the chef, might be all it takes to convert a website visitor to a potential customer, and ultimately, into a loyal patron. Plus, now you have permission to share your content with them via email, the perfect medium for sending regular newsletters, new menus, on-site events and food pairings, live entertainment, special offers or media write-ups.

Post a Promotion: The same advice goes for your social media channels where it’s easy to post a time-sensitive offer. On Facebook, for example, just create an offer at the top of your page’s timeline. Fill in the pertinent details, preview the post to the left, and click create offer. Then try “boosting” your post to maximize its reach. A mere $25 investment could triple the eyeballs on your post and increase the odds your offer will be redeemed. You can also reuse the same offer content on your Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat accounts. Try “Take 25% off on National Donut Day” or “Complimentary dessert with your 1st mobile order.” Make it relevant to your restaurant and give it an expiration date to create a sense of urgency for your fans.

Create “Gateway” Experiences: Invite potential customers to experience your restaurant by creating “gateway” experiences. Does your eatery offer happy hour? How about a tasting menu or prix fixe dining option? Make sure these experiences are prominently displayed on your website and shared through all of your content channels (email, social media, onsite, etc.). Create table tents to promote upcoming promotions and specials, or think outside the box by placing this type of content on the thank you page that populates after one signs up for the email newsletter.

Make Online and Mobile Ordering Easy: If the visitor perusing your mobile website starts to salivate over your lunch menu, why not give them the opportunity to order their lunch right then and there? Online and mobile ordering is great for customers looking for something quick and convenient, especially during the busy workweek. The decision-making is done, and payment accepted, all before their food is ready to go. If you need to create an online menu, Click here to get started.

Sometimes your virtual visitors just need some extra motivation to give your restaurant a go, but once they have savoured their breakfast, lunch or dinner at your restaurant, enticing them to come back for another bite will seem effortless.



6 Essentials of a Restaurant Website

Much like the sweet smell of cinnamon rolls might tempt a passerby to walk through your restaurant doors, a well designed and optimized website can entice a potential customer to do the same.

Your restaurant’s website is your online hub, your information center. It’s your space to represent your brand and share your story. Make it magnetic. Lure visitors in with delectable photos and easy-to-browse menus, call them to action by providing links to make reservations or order food online, and make it enticing to stay in touch with links to your social media accounts and email newsletter sign-up.

These are the six basic ingredients your website restaurant needs to start attracting dream diners to your dinner table:

Stocksy_txpc8fcb434YnU000_Small_4865511. Big, Bold Photos

Imagery is key, especially when it comes to food. Be sure your home page includes a slideshow that showcases your dishes, restaurant atmosphere and friendly staff in their best light. Hire a food photographer if you can, or simply snap pics with the latest smart phone.

2. A Clean Layout

Keep your text to a minimum and make it easy for your restaurant goers to read. Once a visitor reaches your website, they will only give the page a brief scan before deciding to click on the oh-so-important menu. Make sure the headline is in a larger font size than the rest of your content, and break up any blocks of text with delicious-looking photos.

3. A Responsive Designoo-phone

Make sure your website is responsive (optimized for mobile viewing), including your menus! Google recently made an update to their algorithms factoring mobile-friendliness into how it ranks websites. It’s now more important than ever to make sure your customers can consume your content on all of their devices.

4. Easily Accessible Menus

Your restaurant’s menus need to be one click away from any page of your website. If you’ve hooked potential patrons with stunning photos and a clutter-free design, they will take the next step to click on the menu link and find out more about the food. All of the menus you offer should be displayed and up to date, from happy hour grub to prix fixe dinners, wine lists and weekend brunch.

MustHaveMenus offers everything from menu design, to print, to online publishing and online ordering. Get started today to make menu management a snap!

5. Calls to Action

Once you’ve sealed the deal with your mouth-watering menus, give your website browsers the opportunity to take a bite. Do you offer takeout or delivery? Include a link to order online. How about reservations? Make it easy to reserve a table right from your website, whether viewed on a tablet, smart phone or laptop.

facebook-logo6. Conversation Starters

Invite your website visitors to join your conversation. Include links to your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts in the header and/or footer of your website. Create an incentive for users to sign up for your weekly or monthly email newsletter. Complimentary appetizer anyone? How about a $15 tasting menu? Make it fun for your customers to stay in touch and be a part of your story.


By following this recipe for your restaurant website, the search engines will take notice and so will your potential customers. Once they click, they’ll find themselves admiring your flavorful photos, scouring every detail of your menus and ordering online so they can savor your food first-hand.

Stay in Touch with Your Customers

One of the best ways for your restaurant to stay in touch with customers is to think like a publisher.

Put yourself in the shoes of your favorite regional or city publication and plot out an editorial calendar just like they do. Reserve May for a feature on rhubarb, August for dining al fresco and December for special holiday menus. Like the local glossies portray the authentic feel of their own city, keep your stories unique to your restaurant.

In addition to the star story, keep several mainstay columns that customers can expect to read every time they visit your website, receive your email newsletter or scan through their social media feed. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Dish of the Month

Halibut & Chips on the menu this month? Write a blog post about where you source your halibut, your secret tip for crispy breading and what beers on tap pair perfectly with the dish.

Customer Favorites

Poll your customers on what their favorite dish is and why. You can make an informal ask in the dining room, pose the question in a Facebook post or just by paying attention to what your guests are saying online. Repost through your social media channels or create testimonials to include throughout your website, in blog posts or featured in your email newsletter.

From the Kitchen 

Purchase a larger commercial mixer for the kitchen? Shout about it! Your customers will be thrilled with a shorter wait as you crank out twice as many of your award-winning donuts. Profile your pastry team, take behind-the-scenes photos and share stories of how new flavors are created in the kitchen.

Fan Food Photos

Encourage your clientele to snap pics of their food and share via Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with a hashtag unique to your restaurant. Once a month, share a roundup of top photos and be sure to credit your customers for their photos.

Press Quotes

Named to a “Best Breakfast Spots” list in a local publication? Write a summary on your blog and link to the article, re-tweet the magazine’s mention and post an Instagram photo of your restaurant’s name in print.

Creating, distributing and redistributing interesting content is essential for keeping your diners interested, and attracting new ones to your place. No need to wait for the media to mention you. Go ahead and convey your own rich and delicious story.

The Natural Next Step to Grow your Business

shutterstock_231684511It’s  a great time to be alive; we live in a time where the technology and resources to build some of the best and most exciting solutions to our conundrums are readily available. And more and more, people are turning to their phones to make use of this technology.

Today, we have more mobile devices than people on Earth! This means a great deal for you and your customers.

You already know that it’s important to have a website and to have your beautiful menus published, up-to-date, and easily readable online for your customers. But, as people expect more and more functionality and convenience from their mobile and online experiences, isn’t it time your menu did more? These rising expectations correlate directly with what we are doing here at MustHaveMenus, where we are working everyday to build an all-in-one solution for restaurants around the world.

We want to help you succeed in this new, do-it-all-on-mobile landscape. That’s why we think the natural next step for you, and us, is online ordering.

Our new online ordering product will provide all the tools and insights you need to set up and manage online takeout orders for your restaurant or food service, and will integrate seamlessly with your existing menu on MHM. (Don’t have a menu with MustHaveMenus yet? It’s easy to get started.)

Generating more takeout sales will be easier than ever.

We’re excited to help boost your growth and keep you competitive. Interested in being an early adopter, and generating more takeout orders? Our ahead-of-the-curve customers can get started today. Contact us for more information.

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.