Sep 02, 2017

The Dreaded Restaurant Menu PDF on your Website

Not mincing words here - it pisses your customers off. Evidence below.

We live in a visual world. Yes, we do.

As a restaurant owner in Philadelphia, I’m sure you or your waitstaff has watched diners ignore the paper menu placed in front of them as they take out their smartphones to look at your restaurant menu on your restaurant website. They’re looking for photos. They’re looking for convenience.

They’re also looking because they’re addicted to their smartphones. Truthfully, it doesn’t really matter why they’re looking, right? They are looking. And the statistics below tell me that they don’t like what they see.

You could bemoan this, or you can embrace this and create a user experience that makes them all too happy to go and look and spend money and be happier with their experience both on your website and in your restaurant.

There’s a very, very good reason why.

Two, actually.

Studies show most of your customers want to see a menu before they decide to eat at your restaurant, and they absolutely, absolutely hate PDF menu downloads. Like, with a passion. Neilson Ratings, the one that does TV ratings, says this. Esquire magazine lists this as one of restaurant website’s Six Great Sins in “Why Are So Many Bar and Restaurant Websites So Terrible?”.

I get it’s probably easier for the daytime manager to upload a new PDF than completely recode the site, but as a customer, it’s annoying to have to open ten new tabs just to decide if I want to get drunk there.”

-Esquire Magazine

This part about recoding the website is not true if you work with Anthem. When you develop custom WordPress websites for restaurants, you won’t have to re-code anything to change your menu. You just log in and change it. You can even do it on your phone, at 2am, in your pajamas is that’s what you want to do. If you’d like, ask us how we make this happen.

But I digress….

Just so you know this isn’t just my opinion about how people view your restaurant. Some numbers from email marketing giant Constant Contact about what your future customers want to see from you. Note, these numbers are from 2013, before the explosion of smartphone usage and lower expectations.

  • 80% of consumers think it’s important to see a menu before they dine at a restaurant
  • 84% of consumers are likely to look at more than one restaurant before choosing where to dine
  • 70% of consumers think it is important to be able to read the menu of a restaurant on a mobile device
  • 62% of consumers are less likely to choose a restaurant if they can’t read the menu on a mobile device

Here’s the thing – the reason you haven’t heard this complaint from your customers is because you’ve never met them. They never came to your restaurant because of this. They chose somewhere else.

It doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t have to alienate your customers, especially when solutions are so easy to implement once you talk to someone like us.

It’s more than that. Having the ability to read a menu on your website does something else.

Two Birds, One Stone, for the win.

When you make your restaurant menu readable on your website, you not only make your users happy, you make Google Happy.

Without getting too egghead-y here, Google, the world’s number one search engine, uses 200+ different ranking factors for how it matches the results you see to what you type in for a search. Among those ranking factors are time on site and bounce rate. Google knows these numbers. In fact, they emphasize them.

Below is a month’s worth of data for a restaurant website I built and monitor. Notice that in addition to the time on site and bounce rate, both higher and lower than average, respectively, you see the total visitors. That’s a lot of people looking at your site each month. You should also know A LOT more people look at your restaurant website than all of your social media posts and how having a bad one is costing you a lot more money than you’ll spend on a new website.


So while having a PDF menu probably ensures not only that the user will spend no time on your website and a bounce, the opposite is true for a readable menu that is actually on your menu page of your website. When you’ve given them something to look at, something to spend time with, Google takes notice.

This means the next time someone searches for a place to eat, your website will show up higher. Why? Because Google rewards websites in search results that offered value to their customers. You are winning on two levels with one change.

Think about it this way, the average dinner for two costs $80 – about the same as a nice shirt. Don’t you want to see that shirt, actually see it, before you buy it?

So, isn’t it time to make that change? Isn’t it time to make your customers happier and, by doing this, have them reward you with their business? It’s not really a question, is it?

Contact us to set this right for you. Let’s capture that business that you’ve been thus far pushing away.