Mobile website for restaurants - handling their menu?

30 replies
For those of you who are creating mobile websites for restaurants, how are you handling adding their food menu on them? I have two customers right now that I'm working on but their menus are fairly large with lots of food items.

I don't think linking to a PDF file would be a good solution, but what would be? Just make the menu page really really long?

Mike
#handling #menu #mobile #restaurants #website
  • Profile picture of the author Pestew
    I'd be interested in a solution also. I have a Mexican restaurant that I will be working on with a huge menu. I was thinking to break it down into categorized sub-pages if that's even possible.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nail Yener
    I wouldn't link to a .pdf file from a mobile site until we have some mobile .pdf format and most of the devices support .pdf files. Also, I wouldn't recommend using images to show a menu.

    For menu type items, you can use HTML tables and if it is really long you can divide it into several pages and have a simple pagination. I could help you with the code if you want.
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  • Profile picture of the author PPCampaigns
    On the main page , create a "Menu" link. It should take you to a page that's setup exactly like your main page, except the links would be something like "Breakfast", "Lunch", "Appetizers", "Soups & Salads", etc... It would be different depending on each restaurant.
    Here's a *quick-n-dirty* draw up of what I was talking about:
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    • Profile picture of the author flyinghammers
      Originally Posted by PPCampaigns View Post

      On the main page , create a "Menu" link. It should take you to a page that's setup exactly like your main page, except the links would be something like "Breakfast", "Lunch", "Appetizers", "Soups & Salads", etc... It would be different depending on each restaurant.
      Here's a *quick-n-dirty* draw up of what I was talking about:
      I do the same thing. You can also take a look at the mobile sites of some large restaurant franchises to get some ideas. Some menu's can get really crazy with over 100 items.
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      • Profile picture of the author mrcouchpotato
        Originally Posted by flyinghammers View Post

        You can also take a look at the mobile sites of some large restaurant franchises to get some ideas.
        Good idea. I shoulda thought of that.

        I did go to a few larger food chains (TGI Fridays and Applebees) which have no mobile site.

        But then I hit Red Lobster and sure enough they do have one. And it uses nested buttons to get to their menus. It's actually a very clean looking mobile site.

        Mike
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        • Profile picture of the author midasman09
          Banned
          Why? Why? Why? Do you NEED to have all their Menu item on a Mobile Site?

          The ONLY purpose for having Menu items available to be seen on a Mobile Device...is to...ENTICE the Phone user to COME IN?

          Unless it's a "Delivery" place....all sitdown places are looking for "Reasons why" mobile phone users should....come in and....FILL THEIR SEAT'S!

          How is their "Appetizers" or "Drinks" or "Desserts" items going to ENTICE anyone to come in?

          It's what the Restaurant Owners ....want! BUT....why do you have to go along with what THEY want?

          YOU...are supposed to be "The Marketing Person"! Act like it! By telling the owners....more than just a few UNIQUE items on their Menu will ONLY CONFUSE...potential diners!

          "Put yourself INTO the body of someone logging into your clients Mobile Site! Do YOU really...want to see EVERY SINGLE ITEM of their 20 Page Menu?"

          Start using yer "Noggin"!

          Granted....most of you are new to the "Sales" arena so....a prospect says; "Can you Jump 6ft off the ground?" You respond, "Sure can!"

          Prospect THEN asks you...."Can you jump 15 ft off the ground?"

          Get some "gonadees"! ....and tell them WHY....EVERYTHING on their Menus will NOT HELP THEM!

          One of the MANY projects I started was..."Menu Guides"! These were 11x17 Scrap Book type books with Laminated pages and Post Bindings with Fancy Covers....that sat on a wood pedestal I built to sit on a Coffee Table in a Hotel Lobby or a Front Desk.

          I gave each restaurant 2 whole pages....3 columns on each page....with photos of their restaurants at the top 3"....and....when I first showed this to restaurant owners....their FIRST reaction was to....HAND ME THEIR MENU!....on which was included ALL....their appetizers....drinks... desserts.

          I had to pause...take a breathe and...without "offending" these restaurant owners....explain to them that....PEOPLE ARE NOT INTERESTED IN THE ITEMS THEY CAN GET AT....ANY OF YOUR COMPETITOR'S PLACES!

          They WANT to see what is UNIQUE and DIFFERENT....about YOUR place!

          Thus....I was able to "persuade" ove 100 restaurant owners;
          1) they SHOULD be in MY...Menu Guide
          2) keep the "mundane stuff"...OUTA HERE!

          The results being....RENEWALS for 5 years running!...from 90% of my initial restaurant owners.

          So....I'm outa here. I HOPE you got my "point"

          Don Alm....cutting the wheat from the chaff
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          • Profile picture of the author Glenn Leader
            Originally Posted by midasman09 View Post

            Why? Why? Why? Do you NEED to have all their Menu item on a Mobile Site?

            8< snipped to keep my post short.

            Don Alm....cutting the wheat from the chaff
            A very insightful post Don, yet again. Wish I had access to your brain

            Glenn
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            • Profile picture of the author midasman09
              Banned
              If you stop and think a minute. What's the MAIN Reason Why a restaurant would benefit from having a Mobile Website?

              Isn't it to ENTICE diners INTO the restaurant?

              So....you put up some Special Plates that distinguishes one restaurant from another.

              HOWEVER....if the Mobile Phone holder is going to ORDER and have it DELIVERED (as in Pizza)....then....you can be more elaborate (Different kinds of Pizza, Crazy Bread, Litre of Coke...etc) Because NOW...their Phone becomes their "Table".

              And even then....the "Delivery Menu" for my local pizzerias only has 8 items.

              Don Alm
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  • Profile picture of the author WillR
    As suggested above the use of sub-menus will make the menu more digestable. You could also just streamline the menu and list all the most popular dishes.
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    • Profile picture of the author Pmac721
      Integrating a menu that is administered on openmenu.com or opendining.net might also be an option.
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      • Profile picture of the author EvanBeck
        I wonder if there is something like this for hotels. I have some issues with features like checking for availability, room quotes, and checking on reservations. Not easy to handle on a light-weight mobile site.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mobileico
    @midasman. I have to disagree. I understand where you are going and that's fine. You want to put just so much on the menu to entice to get in, to be different. Where I disagree is not putting everything. By giving your users the most knowledge empowers them. By looking at a full menu before you sit down can only educate the customer, making him or her feel confident in what they want to order, saving time to talk about other things. I know if most people (especially men) knew what to order before they made a decision, the whole night would go much smoother. We go sit down at restaurants to eat. Why should a customer wait to decide to figure it out? If you want to entice me, show me everything you have and then show me how I can get it for the best price. A man with a healthy stomach and a clear mind is a confident man and that confident man can make better deals over dinner and make it easy on the lady. In another words, the "reason why" you should have that menu on that mobile is the same "reason why" their customers will fill those seats and that reason is "customer satisfaction." If my clients want me to jump 80 feet off the ground, for the right price, I'll buy extra shoes. I may not be the best designer or developer, but there is one thing I am excellent at and that's sales. Been a dance instructor for 11 years and involved as a manager of fine dining and in wine sales for over 8. I excel at customer service and make a healthy living doing so Stay great in everything you do.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mobileico
    Something I put together for one of our salesmen
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  • Profile picture of the author Mobileico
    Gift cards are great to add as well as well as coupons
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    • Profile picture of the author midasman09
      Banned
      Each to his own...as to how many items to put on Menus.

      Even with the TAKE-OUT Menus I've done....I don't include every item.

      Don Alm
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  • Profile picture of the author godinu
    whatever you do, as others have mentioned, please do not make them .pdfs. many phones can't handle pdfs well, and pdf menus are annoying even on a pc, and nearly unbearable on a phone.
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  • Profile picture of the author scarab
    Midasman is right on this. Geeminy Christmas people quit trying to sell just a product to satisfy your needs. Educate you client and delivery a solution to their problem.

    Anyone can put a swanky picture of a menu on an iPhone image. Hand coding a menu would be time consuming and the cost of th mobile website would be ridiculous. The only way to do that would be to pull the data out of a mysql DB. Menus always change, do you want to be responsible for the changes.

    A restaurant that wants a menu online should really do it with an app, the same goes for making reservations. Make it easy on yourself and deliver a solution not a product.
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    • Profile picture of the author WillR
      Originally Posted by scarab View Post

      Midasman is right on this. Geeminy Christmas people quit trying to sell just a product to satisfy your needs. Educate you client and delivery a solution to their problem.

      Anyone can put a swanky picture of a menu on an iPhone image. Hand coding a menu would be time consuming and the cost of th mobile website would be ridiculous. The only way to do that would be to pull the data out of a mysql DB. Menus always change, do you want to be responsible for the changes.

      A restaurant that wants a menu online should really do it with an app, the same goes for making reservations. Make it easy on yourself and deliver a solution not a product.
      Personally I don't see how the cost of putting a menu on a mobile site is going to be huge? Also it won't take very long at all, just some copying and pasting - but this is what you will need to do no matter how you decide to serve up the menu. Once the menu has been setup then the maintenance of that menu won't be very hard at all. They manage to have no problem updating the menus on their main website.

      There is no way an app is going to be cheaper or faster to setup than a mobile website menu. Besides, who wants to have their phone full of apps of all their local restaurants? A mobile website is a much more sensible solution for small business. If you were running a Dominos or Pizza Hut franchise I might say differently but for the local small restaurant owner an app is going to be massive overkill.
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      • Profile picture of the author DougPage
        I must agree with Will. If the customer wants to pay to have the menu put on their mobile site, I would strongly encourage it. Why? Many times I have been away from my desktop and decide to go for a meal with someone. Quick check of enticing restaurants to see if they have what we both would be looking for. Only way is to see the menu or list of popular/specialty items. Because I am out of the office calling on customers, this happens very frequently. So much so that I keep a favorites list of restaurants by area so that I can quickly find an agreeable place for a current/potential customer.

        Menus sell restaurants to me and others I know. That's what I want to sell a restaurant owner - customers - not a mobile website.
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  • Profile picture of the author GFox
    Having been in business, sales and marketing for over 30 years, I would have to wholeheartedly agree with Don Alm's advice, nay, logic, of not including a menu on the mobile site. There is not much more to add to his very accurate assessment, other than to say "less, really is more", and in the case of advertising (which is what mobile sites actually are), this is definitely true. When visiting with clients, you need to be the consultant/advisor/professional, and explain to them why having their menu on their mobile site is not necessarily a good thing. If they insist on having it anyway, then you need to charge accordingly for your time.
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    • Profile picture of the author WillR
      Originally Posted by GFox View Post

      Having been in business, sales and marketing for over 30 years, I would have to wholeheartedly agree with Don Alm's advice, nay, logic, of not including a menu on the mobile site. There is not much more to add to his very accurate assessment, other than to say "less, really is more", and in the case of advertising (which is what mobile sites actually are), this is definitely true. When visiting with clients, you need to be the consultant/advisor/professional, and explain to them why having their menu on their mobile site is not necessarily a good thing. If they insist on having it anyway, then you need to charge accordingly for your time.
      If a big part of your business is phone orders then not having any type of menu on your mobile site will hurt your sales and annoy your customers. I don't agree that a mobile website is just their to advertise. With small local restaurants a large proportion of visitors are repeat customers. They don't need to be sold to. A lot of them just want to see the menu and make an order.
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  • Profile picture of the author trumpador
    I understand where will and mobilico are coming from but I believe that we are heading into an era where marketing bang for buck through tech is 1. getting more accessible to small business owners and 2. being more cost efficient.

    What I've seen is that the restaurants put forward their signature dishes. These are the bits that they believe set them apart from their competition.

    As a user I certainly wouldn't expect to wade through 6 menu levels to find out that the restaurant offers chips. Now if their chips are what they are famous for, then that should be front and centre. I would expect to see the menu items that are the most popular (things that they want to be known for).

    Now back to my comment about marketing value being more accessible; by this, I mean that restaurateurs (in this example) could start branding their business through a particular set of dishes or drinks - and market this cheaply. In turn people will seek out these products by individual or menu level products.

    Instead of seeking out pizza at *city*, people will be seeking out "Galiano Pizza supremo" or what ever the name of the signature dish. They'll do this because people will be recommending particular dishes to their friends and colleagues. So when they search for it on their mobile coz the thought has been lingering in their head all day, you'll want them to land on a page that clearly describes said dish...with appropriate calls to action of course.

    Really, most mobile use cases are time depedendant. I certainly wouldn't expect my users to be wading through a menu hierarchy to get to the right info.

    In fact, that's part of the sell. A mobile site gets you to the info much quicker and require less steps. A full menu just slows this down.

    If its a small menu, then maybe. Also, larger menus wouldn't cost that much more to develop so this is a non issue if the client insists.
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    • Profile picture of the author WillR
      Originally Posted by trumpador View Post

      I understand where will and mobilico are coming from but I believe that we are heading into an era where marketing bang for buck through tech is 1. getting more accessible to small business owners and 2. being more cost efficient.
      I agree. I was not saying you need to list every menu item. I was actually responding to the people above who seem to suggest having no menu on the mobile site is the sensible solution. I do not see the logic in that at all.

      If you have a large menu then by all means simplify it for the mobile users. The restaurant probably knows which dishes are most popular with the take-away type orders and these are the ones that should be given priority on the mobile site. I don't think there is any harm in then linking to a page where they can view the full menu if they want to. I think giving the users options is the best way to go. Start them off simple and if they want more details, for whatever reason, they should be able to get them.
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      • Profile picture of the author Nick Surran
        Originally Posted by WillR View Post

        ...

        I think giving the users options is the best way to go.

        ...
        In my opinion, this is the best answer to the full menu v. light menu debate. Different users are going to have different needs. When someone clicks a "menu" button on a mobile website, you can send them to a page with a few enticing specialty dishes and copy to draw people into the restaurant. But if you don't also include a link or links to the rest of the menu, the restaurant is going to lose business from those users that need to see the whole thing in order to make a decision.
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  • Profile picture of the author NameThatCandy
    As a customer, I would love to see the full menu on the mobile sit. Before I go to any restaurants, I always look at their menu on their websites. If I don't see anything I like, I won't go to that restaurant. So if the restaurant didn't have the full menu on their mobile site, it may have a chance to lose business.
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  • Profile picture of the author katnyc
    I just took a look at my favorite NYC restaurant via the mobile site and saw the full 24 page menu listed (24 pages in pdf format). I'm not arguing who is right or wrong, but just stating what I found.

    edited to add the 24 page menu is a link to a pdf
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    • Profile picture of the author trumpador
      Originally Posted by katnyc View Post

      I just took a look at my favorite NYC restaurant via the mobile site and saw the full 24 page menu listed (24 pages). I'm not arguing who is right or wrong, but just stating what I found.

      I'm not sure that there is a right or wrong answer. Mostly, I believe that this will be dependent on the business and the market, said business is in.

      For me and the clients that I've been dealing with, I certainly wouldn't be putting up the menu in their entirety. At least with the ones I've been dealing with thus far.

      I invest time and effort in gaining an understanding of their business and present points of view from differing perspectives. The ultimate call belongs to the business owner and if you have positioned yourself as the expert, then 9/10 they will go with your recommendations.

      For my own usage, I certainly wouldn't want to navigate a large hierarchical menu on a small screen. If I did want to review the entire menu ( eg. Banquets) then, I would be 75% to my final decision and would take a peek at the full website but that's me, YMMV.

      From this thread there is certainly enough reasons why you would go either way and ultimately this will be dependent on who your client is, their type of business and their customers.
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  • Profile picture of the author EvanBeck
    Personally, I would make it text only and very simple. Maybe create separate pages if it makes sense for different food categories, like breakfast lunch, dinner, desserts, etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author mjbmedia
    Im searching for somewhere to dine with my wife, I want one dish, she wants another, we therefore want to go to an eatery that does both dishes on their menu, am i really supposed to ring each one and ask them just because theyve decided to only put a couple of things on their mobile menu (face palm moment) , o no wait, heres one that has their menu available to me and look, they do both dishes, great lets go .

    On the way there we walk passed 5 other places, check out their menu displays and they also do both dishes but they didnt tell us that on their mobile site, their loss, we're booked in and happy now.

    Text only with options of courses, type of food, costs etc so people only need to click where they want to go, not through the entire menu !
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    Mike

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  • Profile picture of the author JToneyUK
    To answer the original question and not bicker about a whole menu or a slimline version, a menu page is where Quentins "accordian" script will be of benefit.

    The other pages can be standard HTML, however the Menu page can be one where it is separated into appetizers, mains, desserts, sharing platters, drinks etc.

    Then when you click on one of those the items within that sections are expanded out. So in essence you have the whole menu on one page preloaded, but you need to click one of the sub categories to reveal the items of the menu for that section.

    This then solves the problem of having a huge page to scroll down.
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