MustHaveMenus Blog

Category: ‘Marketing’

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.”

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?

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.


SiP Bistro showcases their Menu in an iframe

MustHaveMenus_SiP_Homepage_Menu_LinkSiP Wine & Coffee Bistro, a favorite local cafe in Holly Springs, NC, has a clever way of integrating their Places menu directly on the homepage.

When you click the button for SiP Menu, the menu pops open in an iframe directly below. This is a great way to let customers view your latest menu within the branded experience of your own site.


Bo Daddy’s links to their Places menu from homepage

MustHaveMenus_BoDaddys_Homepage_Menu_LinkThe on-trend website for Bo Daddy’s Smokehouse, a barbecue restaurant in Greenville, SC, covers all the basic info customers might need. The link for “Menu” is easy to find at the top of the homepage.

Bo Daddy’s links this directly to their Places page, so visitors to their site will always see the most current version of their menu.


Is your business ready to grow in 2014?

MustHaveMenus Photos in templates food restaurantsSimple menu upgrades make a big impact

The post-holiday lull is the perfect time to consider your goals for the year, and a great opportunity to evaluate your menus. A menu is your most powerful selling tool, so don’t let it be an afterthought. Follow these 5 tips to be sure your menu is really working for you.

1. Update Your Look

If you’ve had your current menu design for a while, think about what could be improved. Want to improve sales by moving desserts or signature cocktails to a table tent? Need to condense your wine list into an easier format? Ready for a new takeout style? Whatever you want to try, our menu experts are standing by to help. Give us a call at 1-800-452-2234.

2. Trim Your Offering

Winter is a great time to look critically at your menu. Which items are hot sellers, and which are duds? Don’t hesitate to remove low-performing items; it will help streamline everything from stock and prep to customer ordering. You’ll also be clearing space to try new items that could become new favorites.

3. Add Visual Appeal

As they say, people eat with their eyes first. Including tempting images of items on your menu can have a measurable impact on sales. But of course, low-quality or unappetizing images will have the opposite effect, so it’s worth investing in quality photos.

4. Get Some Fresh Prints

Are your tabletop menus looking worn out? Stains, creased corners, and torn lamination can distract customers and cheapen the experience. With new prints on our top-notch menu paper, you’ll feel confident that your menus make the best impression. Order prints today and you’ll have new menus on the tables by next week.

5. Sync Changes Everywhere

Whether you’re ready for a new design or a few new items, you’ll want to keep your menus in sync, from tabletop to takeout to online listings. This consistency builds your brand and lets your customers order with confidence. Sync your print menu with your website, Facebook page, and Places mobile menu with just one click at MustHaveMenus.

Tips to Sell More Takeout

MustHaveMenus Takeout Menus Printed
From quick service to fine dining, offering takeout can be a great way to increase business without much overhead. The 2013 Restaurant Industry Forecast found that 33% of adults in the U.S. rely on restaurant takeout. Whether you’re just branching into takeout or giving your takeout menu a makeover, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Takeout should be a separate menu.

Some of your regular menu items may not be suitable for on-the-go, such as hot soups or delicate desserts. Consider what your kitchen can prep in a reasonable time frame (20 minutes max) and package securely. And only include items you can consistently offer; save the seasonal or limited supply dishes for in-house specials. Browse takeout menus.

Takeout menus should build your brand.

Consider your takeout menu an ambassador for your restaurant. Customers will often encounter this menu away from the restaurant environment. Wherever they find it, they should immediately get a feel for your brand. Take cues from your in-house menu and the restaurant atmosphere. Better yet, match your carryout menu to your tabletop menu design with Design Sets. Always include your logo, hours, and complete contact information.

Takeout menus should be published online.

With one click, your takeout menu can be published to Places, MustHaveMenus’ free online business directory. Your mobile-ready takeout menu is synced to your account, and lives online to help diners find you. Then link your Places webpage to other online directories, such as Yelp or UrbanSpoon, and your own website. Your takeout menu will always be current, so diners can order with confidence.

Takeout menus should be professionally printed.

Takeout menus tend to be an afterthought for restaurants, but quality menus promise a quality dining experience. You can easily order professional prints right from your MustHaveMenus account. Keep a stack of trifolds on the counter by the register or hostess stand for guests to grab as they leave. You might even distribute menus in the neighborhood; the vast majority of your clientele live within 5 miles of your business.

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.”

15 Common Restaurant Menu Typos

Food words often have tricky spellings, thanks to their far-flung linguistic origins. But typos on menus are distracting to customers and detract from your overall sense of quality dining. Double-check your menu for these common mistakes.

1. caesar

The emperor of salads is a tough one to type. A before e.
MustHaveMenus Menu Typos caesar salad

2. bruschetta

This classic Italian appetizer is hard to spell and pronounce (it’s brew-sket-ta), but don’t skip that c in the middle.
MustHaveMenus Menu Typos bruschetta

3. homemade

Same goes for housemade – it’s written as a single word.
MustHaveMenus Menu Typos homemade

4. tomato / tomatoes

To-may-to, to-mah-to…however you say it, there’s only one correct spelling. That pesky e only makes its appearance in the plural.
MustHaveMenus Menu Typos tomato

5. jalapeño

This pepper comes from Mexico, where ñ is a different letter than n. To use this symbol on your menu, find it on the Character Map (on a pc) or Character Palette (Mac), or use Insert > Symbol in Microsoft Word and copy it into your menu.
MustHaveMenus Menu Typos jalapeno

6. iced tea

Ice up that tea, and don’t forget the d.
MustHaveMenus Menu Typos iced tea

7. vinaigrette

This classic salad dressing is made with vinegar, but not spelled the same.
MustHaveMenus Menu Typos vinaigrette

8. aioli

Yes, there are a lot of vowels involved, but sound it out and you’ll get them in the right order.
MustHaveMenus Menu Typos aioli

9. breadstick

Nom nom nom. Everyone loves breadsticks. Hitch the words together with no space between.
MustHaveMenus_MenuMustHaveMenus Menu Typos breadstick

10. broccoli

This cruciferous green has a double helping of c – Vitamin C, in fact.
MustHaveMenus Menu Typos broccoli

11. ciabatta

Ciao baguettes, ciabatta is the new favorite bread in town.
MustHaveMenus Menu Typos ciabatta

12. raspberry

Beware the silent p in these sweet berries.
MustHaveMenus Menu Typos raspberry

13. fettuccine

Italian words use double-consonant combos all over the place (mozzarella is another good example), so double-check your spellings.
MustHaveMenus Menu Typos fettuccine

14. filet

Like salmon and veal, filet has a single l.
MustHaveMenus Menu Typos filet

15. whipped cream

A whip is the tool you use, but the cream is whipped.
MustHaveMenus_Menu Typos whipped cream

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!”