What are menu listings?
There are several sites online that offer menus of local restaurants. They exist to make it easy for a user to locate a menu. If you’ve ever looked for a place to eat while you’re on the go, you’ve undoubtedly accessed a menu through one of these sites. If you click the “menu” link from a Google listing, for example, sometimes you’ll be redirected to the restaurant’s website, but sometimes you’ll be viewing the menu on a site like Yelp or Zagat. This comes in handy if the restaurant owner hasn’t thought to make their menu readily available online.
How did my menu get there?
If you search for your restaurant online, hopefully you will see your own website come up, but in addition you may see results for websites like TripAdvisor, Zomato, AllMenus, Yelp, Zagat or Open Table because your menu appears on their website…even if you didn’t put it there!
So, how did it get there? The goal of these companies is to serve the user by providing details for as many restaurants as possible, sort of like business listings on Google Maps. If you don’t add or verify your company details, someone else can add them for you. In some cases, the company will pull a menu from your site.
Why do menu listings matter?
It might not bother you to see your website listed without your consent as long as the details are current and correct. However, once your details are out there, no one is taking the time to verify, manage and update the listing when your restaurant moves to a new location, gets a new phone number, changes hours of operation or updates menu selections and/or pricing. You can imagine the frustration and irritation a potential customer would feel if they stumbled upon any of these details listed incorrectly. It could cause you the business of that customer as well as anyone they share their negative experience with.
What makes matters worse is that many of the menu listing companies are nationwide brands that might rank higher than your restaurant’s website, making users more likely to click on those sites first when it’s your menu they want to view. Not only are these companies capable of ranking higher than an independent restaurant site, they can actually hurt your ranking if they list your name, location or other company details incorrectly or differently than the way they’re listed on your website.
How can menu listings be managed?
You basically have 2 options when it comes to managing your online menu listings: do it yourself or hire a company to manage them for you.
Taking this task on yourself is seemingly free, but it’s an ongoing process and, in some cases it can be a real feat, so you must consider the worth of your time. Here are the basic steps:
- Find out what menu listing sites exist. Do a few different searches and make a list. This is not a one-time task, as new sites pop up all the time.
- Add and verify your business before someone else does. There are a few complications with this step.
1. A listing for your business may already exist, which is ok, if it hasn’t been verified. Gaining control of a listing that’s been verified by someone else can be quite difficult.
2. Some menu listing companies work exclusively with listing management companies, forcing you to pay for an account with them in order to make any changes to your listing.
- Add your menu. Each site has its own menu format and will not necessarily accept a simple upload of a PDF or document you have on hand. So, you may end up manually entering your menu to each different site.
- Maintain each listing. Keep a list of every site you know your menu is listed on, so that you can make updates when your company and menu details change.
Menu Listing Management Companies
In our experience, this service is worth it. Right now we’re aware of just a few companies out there offering list management services catered to restaurants. It’s definitely worth looking into. Keep in mind that a company like Adroit can often become an affiliate of these companies and offer our clients better pricing than they can get direct.
Feel free to contact us any time with questions about online menu listing management. We’re here to help!