The Information Age is here, and here to stay. In the last 10 years, the world has gone from being largely unconnected, with only the very affluent having access to internet technologies, to a world where everyone has a small, connected supercomputer in their pocket.
If your menu isn’t online, it should be. Here’s why:
#1 – Discovery
With Google & Siri, I can hold down the Home button on my iPhone, say what I want, and instantly get a gazillion results. When I say “Find me a Turkey Reuben,” I see 5 locations within 2 miles. If you’re not one of them, you’ve just lost my business, simply because I didn’t know you exist.
#2 – Ordering
Internet transactions (particularly from Smartphones) are still on the rise. More and more people are ordering everything from soap to bananas directly from their phone. In the world of mobile-internet purchases, convenience is king. Give me a choice between a mediocre Turkey & Cheese that I can order online and skip the wait, or the best Cubano in town with a 10 minute counter wait, and I’ll pick the Turkey & Cheese every time.
#3 – SEO
According to Wikipedia, there are roughly 4.5 billion pages on the internet. With so much content floating around out there, it pays to be relevant. If your full menu is on the internet with categories, names, prices, and descriptions in a way that Google can index it, you’re already a leg up on the competition.
#4 – Credibility
With all of the crazy technology we have access to now via our phones, we are entering an age of the “Discerning Consumer.” Today’s consumer spends countless hours scouring the internet for the best deals, Facebook recommendations, and Twitter posts about new hot-spots and their food. When I’m doing my research, if I can’t see what you’re offering, or why I might like to try, I’ve already written you off.
#5 – It’s Free
There are a myriad of ways to get your business and menu online. Google Places, Facebook business pages, WordPress websites… and all, or at least most, of them are completely free. Though potentially a bit time consuming, most of these avenues are fairly easy and painless to set up. And come on, we’re talking about the difference between being found and … well … not. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
No matter how technologically-involved your business is, there is a time to ramp it up, and that time is now. Search, reviews, likes, feeds, photos, and the like are sweeping the nation (and world). Consumers want to know who you are, what you’re all about, and what kind of experience they will have when they dine with you. If they can’t find it, they will move on.