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Running a digital restaurant offers a great number of options that offline services just cannot provide. Not just do customers have access to more choices, but business owners themselves are capable of much more. In web-based platforms, restaurants with interactive menus are becoming increasingly common and trendy.
Why More Restaurants Must Have Interactive Menus
Web design for restaurants is an ever-growing field of expertise that more online food joints must pay attention to. Providing a user experience that is engaging, efficient, and convenient is guaranteed to improve traffic and revenue. And nothing promises all those things like a live menu.
Restaurant menus and digital letters with interactive features offer a wide range of channels and add-ons with which industry competitors can improve their market standing.
A Must for Serious Businesses
The struggle to attract audiences becomes more cutthroat, and online food services must adapt to digital trends. If they expect to remain in business, it is important to stay one step ahead of rivals while making life easier for customers. Interactive menu technology enables and allows restaurants to
- Engage users with a savvy interface and web experience
- Moderate organic reviews and ratings to their advantage
- Improve their website’s position on search engine result pages
- Use customer experiences for remarketing to the right target audiences
All these facilities are just a few of the benefits that digital restaurant and hotel services can enjoy through interactive menus.
An In-Depth Look at Your Options
With a simple list of your options, quite often, you are just taking the restaurant’s word about what is available. The fact that patrons quite often don’t know what they are getting until they get served leaves room for disappointment. That is not great for business, especially when you’re just getting started.
With a digital, interactive menu, each item on the list can be clicked on to reveal a picture of what the order would look like. Along with it, you can add pricing and customizable options for sides, substitutions, or other options for complex orders. Visual menus are twice as likely to enjoy online orders as text-only ones.
You can even highlight staff picks, regular favorites, and dishes of the day. This ensures consistency on both ends and allows the kitchen staff to exactly meet customer expectations and help your brand be synonymous with exemplary service.
Calculating Nutritional Benefits of Your Order
Fitness-oriented diners are a key demographic that restaurants need to focus on. Not many businesses realize this while specializing in fast foods and cuisines, which can affect their consumers’ health. Fortunately, interactive menus can help there as well.
Another great idea is to integrate options for health-conscious diners. Along with pricing and side dish details, restaurants can list calorie counts for each component of a dish. That way, customers can build their order by adding or removing list items based on their preferences and daily intake requirements.
Restaurants running out of ingredients or the unavailability of certain dishes is a common issue. But without notice, such revelations can irritate customers and affect business.
With a digital and interactive menu, management or staff can make real-time adjustments. This helps keep a close eye on their list of foods and lets in-house and remote patrons know about what is and is not available.
It does not end there. For midnight or evening deals, you can hide or display discounted orders depending on what time of day it is.
Ordering Food Made Easier
Home delivery services are a mainstay of working in a restaurant, and that will not be changing any time soon. But many users often hesitate due to the hoops they must jump through to finalize an order online and have it delivered on time to their exact location. If restaurants can manage that, they can maintain workflow even with a full house and create more jobs.
Interactive restaurant menus can be designed to let customers make custom picks and avail free delivery options through coupons. Alternatively, they can even adjust tips for their servers through contactless payment. These can be made possible through payment gateway integration into your menu.
As for the issue of actually getting your meal, partnering with mapping services can help delivery drivers or riders choose quicker routes and enjoy accurate geolocation during rush hours or harsh weather. Alternatively, customers can receive notifications about these conditions before finalizing an order.
Great for Employees Too
Interactive menus offer a level of workflow and quality control that lies in favor of restaurant workers. Online orders and automated invoices can be easier to receive and fulfill without keeping track of paper trails or manual calculations. It also helps chefs to prepare dishes per exact requirements with minimal chances of them being returned.
Also, the facilities offered during deliveries like contactless exchanges, online payments, and digital mapping also make their work much easier. And satisfied customers will be more likely to pay them a handsome tip for their hard work.
Customer engagement is an important part of restaurant service, and interactive menus help guarantee just that. Rather than obtain reviews on the app or website, restaurants can add a review and comment section to each item on the menu. That way, popular orders can be made more readily available and even promoted through deals or discounts.
Less well-reviewed items can be improved depending on ratings and specific complaints. The enhanced dishes can then be highlighted on the menu as per consumer instructions.
Plus, users can even suggest ideas like themed orders and holiday deals or request special services for birthdays, weddings, or other events.
Restaurant menus with a dynamic interface can be used for in-depth relations with customers. With each item on the menu, users can enable social media notifications for new menu items and previously unavailable orders that are now being served. Subscribers can even receive email notifications about menu updates.
Plus, you can even share details like recommendations, interesting food facts, and personalized messages to regular visitors for a more inclusive dining experience.
It’s not really a secret that Desktop is no longer the reigning champ of networking avenues. Mobile phones are now the main choice for online users everywhere, and that fact isn’t likely to change either.
That is particularly true regarding restaurant websites, as the majority of online bookings, takeaway orders, and delivery restaurants from food joints take place through phones. That makes sense, considering it’s easier to grab the phone to order a pizza on a whim rather than whip out a laptop.
But despite the prevalence of mobile-based internet use, the majority of online services aren’t optimized for mobile phones. That is a problem because phones have smaller screens and less power in terms of connectivity, website processing, and data handling.
With that in mind, interactive menus for restaurants should be optimized to thrive on mobile sites. However, the reason why mobile-first is the way to go doesn’t just have to do with more people using it.
Modeling a mobile-friendly restaurant menu to adapt to computers is much easier than the other way around. On the whole, this concept is better anyway, given the popularity of mobile services. Restaurant menus can even be made more dynamic through iPhone or Android apps.
Designing an Interactive Menu
Web-based content management clients like WordPress are a popular web design choice for restaurant websites. It allows developers to integrate a wide range of facilities into their restaurant websites.
WordPress is particularly noted for its customer-oriented design capabilities and business model. Services can add as many features specifically to improve user-friendliness and overall customer experience. That includes curating unique and interactive restaurant menus.
WordPress Tools for Interactive Menu Design
WordPress users can choose from any number of plugins and resources to integrate dynamic restaurant menus into their apps or websites. For now, however, we’ll be focusing on a select few examples. The choices being discussed here will be based on how many user-friendly capabilities they can offer, like
- Customizable interface themes
- Creating dropdown lists and widgets
- Use of images
- Ordering made easy
- Mobile-friendly design
- Multiple payment options
- Enhanced food delivery
In any case, this list is not to be presented in any particular order. Restaurants can gladly pick any of these plugins, and rest assured that they have made the right choice for their customers’ ease.
1. MotoPress Restaurant Menu Plugin
MotoPress offers quite a few professional tools for a number of businesses like hotels and restaurants. This one is a particular favorite for designing restaurant menus.
It allows restaurateurs to complement each item with a nice photo, detailed description of ingredients, nutritional value, pricing, and more. This allows customers to make informed decisions about their orders.
The hallmark of this plugin is the design that it offers. You can list menu items as grids and create long lists in easily readable and visually attractive layouts. You can even integrate any theme into it.
- Customizable menu design
- Payment through PayPal or cash on delivery
- Mobile-friendly design
- Tech support
- Delivery plugin
- Shopping cart
- “Toppings” add-on for custom orders
2. WooCommerce for Restaurants
The WooCommerce plugin enables WordPress-based restaurant websites to create an all-in-one webpage that basically functions as an interactive menu. It is one of the most frequently used menu plugins for restaurants, thanks to what it brings to the table.
For the most part, it is a great option for creating custom product tables for ordering systems. Here, customers are presented with lists of dishes with in-depth product information and the ability to add their orders to the cart. It is easy to set up and allows users to filter results by category and order food in desired quantities.
- 10+ themes with customizable options and layouts
- Filterable menu with universal shortcode support
- Area-code-based delivery for long-distances
- Quick delivery support
- Min/max quantity options
- Tipping at online checkout
This is a lesser known but nonetheless worthwhile option among third-party software designed for food businesses. For restaurants hoping to come up with their own dedicated delivery and reservation app, this is an excellent choice with a number of promising conveniences.
However, much of its business model is geared to favor the restaurateurs, including additional pricing for packaging, off-menu ordering, and setting minimum prices for availing delivery. So, if you are confident that your food joint has enough hype, this one is certainly worth a go.
- Robust customizability
- Compatible with all WordPress features
- Supports digital wallets (PayPal, Stripe) as well as credit or debit cards
- Customer feedback
- Reward program and loyalty scheme options
Need Help Setting Up Your Menu? Hire a Professional
Successfully creating and running an interactive online interface is no easy feat. But as we have made largely clear, the appeal makes it a worthy undertaking for restaurant websites.
That being said, curating their own state-of-the-art interactive menu is too much to expect from restaurant staff and management. As promising as this is, their focus generally remains on keeping their business afloat. Worrying about their online service, while important, is not a major priority from a practical perspective.
That being said, there lies a silver lining for small and large businesses: outsourcing. Hiring skilled web design and development professionals is an increasing market trend that more or less guarantees immense returns for an affordable price.
E-commerce firms and services, for example, WeLoveWeb, are known for employing experts with years of experience in providing marketing and user experience solutions geared towards effective branding and innovative web-based resources.
In the realm of food-based services and dining markets, pretty much every new idea has been tried and tested. But interactive menus are an area that holds considerable promise while also being relatively easy to adopt.
On paper, there is no shortage of benefits that dynamic restaurant menus can provide. They can help business owners engage with consumers more effectively. Plus, they provide an endless system for customizable options for reserving tables, choosing orders, and completing payments.
For delivery purposes, they are just as effective at ensuring satisfying real-time service to customers for whom dine-in isn’t a suitable option.
Plus, even restaurant employees can benefit significantly from interactive menus. Be it in the kitchen, while serving diners, or even navigating traffic jams to have remote deliveries handed to eager customers while the food is still hot.
With so many possibilities and a considerable array of progress already underway, this idea has a lot going for it.