MustHaveMenus Blog

Category: ‘Technology’

New Business Hours Options for Online Ordering Customers

marketing BLOG OO business hours templateAt MustHaveMenus we pride ourselves on listening to and gaining understanding from our customers. After receiving some great feedback from our online ordering restaurants, we’ve updated how the Business Hours section works in order to accommodate the sometimes-complex operating hours of a restaurant.

Flexible Hours

Restaurants’ business hours differ for a variety of reasons. Some restaurants may close between their lunch and dinner hours, while others may stay open past midnight, offering a late night menu. Some restaurants only provide Sunday brunch, or dinner only on Fridays and Saturdays. And restaurateurs want their online ordering menu to accurately reflect these details.

With that in mind, we’ve built additional flexibility into our Business Hour system to accommodate almost any combination of hours, enabling restaurants to better serve their customers. Now MHM members can set up standard business hours, create breaks between different shifts, take orders after midnight, or offer different hours for delivery versus takeout service.

Setting up Business Hours

The new Business Hours section is available in our Online Ordering Admin application. Under Configure, you will find the Business Hours tab. From here, select Add to add a section of time that your business is open. These opening times can then be applied to one or multiple days.

Haven’t started online ordering with us yet? It’s easy to get started! You can also learn more about this feature here.

3 Reasons Online Ordering Drives Customer Loyalty

Online ordering is one of the most powerful tools that restaurant owners can use to ride the digital wave. By allowing customers to order online, you can generate a whole new stream of business that wouldn’t otherwise be accessible. Not only that, the customers you reach are also more likely to become regulars.

Your online menu is your first impression in a competitive marketplace. Customers will undoubtedly compare your menu against other restaurants before coming to a final decision and taking the first step toward becoming a loyal customer. Here are three main reasons why online ordering drives customer loyalty:

1. Convenience

The number one reason why customers love to order online is because it’s convenient. In fact, delivery and carryout are often the leading factors in their decision.

But those options alone won’t win you their business – not these days. Online ordering has turned what was once considered a convenient phone call into a pain point. In a world that revolves around text messaging and emailing, customers now want to place an order on their phone or computer. Online ordering makes it easy for them to order food without disrupting their day.

2. Efficiency

There’s no better way to win a customer’s heart than by lightening their schedule, and online ordering does just that. Think of all the time-consuming steps you’re eliminating from the dining experience: waiting for a table, waiting for food, waiting for the check…And if you offer delivery, you’re saving them even more time. With just a few clicks of the mouse or taps of the phone, their order is placed, paid, and in preparation.

3. Accuracy

Human error is a part of running a restaurant. Sure, you never want to get an order wrong. But quantitatively, if your staff takes enough orders, mistakes will happen. With online ordering, the chances of an incorrect address or item are virtually non-existent. Everything is systemized, and the customer’s order is relayed right to the kitchen.

Getting Started

Implementing an independent online ordering system can be a daunting and expensive project, but we’ve made it easier and more affordable than ever. Online ordering now comes with a MustHaveMenus membership, so you can maximize your takeout sales using a clean and easy-to-use dashboard that integrates with your MustHaveMenus account. Ready to take your business to the next level? Click here to get started.

 

6 Tips for Creating a Profitable Menu

6-tactics-for-tempting-and-profitable-menu

Marylise Tauzia, VP of Marketing of Revel Systems, offers six strategies for creating a tasty, profitable menu. Revel Systems offers a full-featured point of sale system that is cloud-based and made specifically for the iPad.

With spring and summer fast approaching it’s important to have ideas for an enticing menu on deck. If you are in the midst of opening a new restaurant or quick-service eatery, you’ll definitely want to be able to appeal to anyone who walks in for a bite. And your menu is a primary revenue driver.  

Even if you’ve been operating successfully for years, keep things fresh with new menu items or modifications to favorites to reflect seasonal options. MustHaveMenus has hundreds of menu designs with tons of features to help you enhance menu choices, specials and favorites. We see LOTS of menus, of course, so here are a few guidelines to get you going.

1. Strategically Selecting Menu Items

Striking a balance between offering the most tasty dishes and drinks and maximizing profit should be your top priority when creating your menu. You’ll want to identify which items are the most profitable and make sure that you have a strategy for promoting them. You might want to spice up your beloved, fancy grilled-cheese sandwich by adding goat horn peppers, but you’ll need to be sure that you’re tracking cost-effectiveness and the portion for each sandwich. There’s a lot that goes into the backend of menu creation, and an intelligent point-of-sale system with reporting and ingredient tracking can step in and help you measure profitability.

2. Highlight Menu Categories or Specialty Items  

Layout of your menu can have a huge influence over what customers order. Now that you’ve created a strategy for your menu items, you’ll want to design your menu to draw attention to certain items. Thoughtful menu design is imperative not only to your business’s branding, but also to the bottom-line. It may be that you don’t want people to miss the entrees or even a “dinner for two” special. Or perhaps you want to create a box for designated seasonal specialty options so that you can simply rotate them easily throughout the year. Regardless of your intention, highlighted boxes around a category or option will ensure that attention is directed to that point on the menu.

3. Organize Your Menu By Popularity

It’s always a good idea to sort your menu by your most popular items. Your repeat customers are looking for their favorites, and your word-of-mouth, new customers are going to be curious about those items. Like highlighting specials or seasonal items, sorting each category according to best sellers, and then organizing your menu visually so that most popular categories are easy to find. Most people tend to scan menus and land at the top-right corner, which is where you’ll want to place the items you don’t want customers to miss.

4. Use Relative Pricing

We won’t call this a “trick”…. But one way to give your customers more perspective in comparing menu items that seem more expensive than others is to put items more similarly prices in proximity to one another. For example, a halibut entree for $26 doesn’t seem so expensive when followed by a more comparatively priced $30 T-Bone steak, rather than a $15 pot-pie. Relative pricing may seem manipulative but everything has a context so it’s a good idea to establish the context of your menu.

5. Make specialty menu items available only certain days of the week

This is a great way to drive traffic to your restaurant on some of the slower nights. Maybe Wednesdays are the only nights the chef makes his great-grandmother’s secret puff pastry beef stew. For example, Georgetown Cupcakes in Washington, D.C. only offers their Red Velvet cupcake on Wednesdays. They have a line down the block just for that flavor. Other flavors are limited to certain days, as well. It keeps the customers coming back.

6. Highlight an area of the menu just for food sensitivities

With dietary restrictions or preferences on the rise, it’s important to give special diets a place on your menu. Just a decade ago, gluten-intolerance levels were at 1 in 2500 worldwide. Today, it’s at 1 in 133. That’s a significant jump and indicator that food sensitivities shouldn’t be ignored on your menu. Offering items that are dairy or gluten free will ensure that everyone who walks into your establishment has options. Even if your theme is old fashioned barbecue, you can still offer sides that will accommodate certain diets and even a meat or gluten alternative entree.


If you want a design specialist to handle the creative side of your menu our MHM Design Services team can highlight profitable specialty items and other menu features starting at $199.

Use Facebook to Drive Online Orders and Customer Loyalty

Facebook-blog-dining-in

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. 

 

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.

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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