Founder & CEO
July 26, 2022
The restaurant tech ecosystem treats restaurants as second-class citizens. They look down on restaurant owners as unsophisticated simpletons that don't need to know how things work, or why they work the way they do. You get what we give you and you be thankful!
For example, ChowNow is one of the better actors in the space, and they have never bothered to give restaurants any data on visitors to their menu, abandoned carts, conversion rates.. or anything. At all. This is really pretty basic stuff that you would come to expect from any platform you use to sell your goods and services. But not for restaurants. Why would you need such detailed information? Go back to the kitchen!
Even Google thinks that a restaurant doesn't need to be asked for permission when third party providers push their own menu links on their Google page. Honestly, I think that is absolutely insane. It is, whether we like it or not, our current reality.
Many links to control the one
Let us first take control of our menu links and use our own that would redirect to our menu provider of choice. In this exercise, I use SOCIALHOSE links but you can use any other url shortening service that works for you.
Because we don't have any visibility on the ChowNow servers (or Chowly, or whatever else you may be using), we will have to create different links for the different platforms and marketplaces we are listed on. That means, we need a link for:
- Our website
- Google My Business
Our general purpose link serves as a catch-all, and I personally use it on the restaurant's own website. That way, I'd end up with a bunch of links that point to the same address, like this:
Update the links on your listings
Creating those links doesn't really do much if no one knows about them. So, we have to start updating our menu links on our different listings. This is a tedious process, but is not half as bad as having to ask them to remove their links from your Google listing!
For demonstration, let's go through the updates on Yelp and Google My Business. You can do the same on FB, Instagram, nextdoor, etc.
Update the links on your listings
Yelp makes it fairly straight-forward.
- Click on the 'Business Information' link on the left panel menu
- Click on the 'Menu' under Business Info on the right side panel
- Update the link with your new one
Update menu link on Google
Google has been moving things around a lot lately, so getting to your business listing depends on your setup. But a google search for it will being up results with a link to 'Edit profile'.
- Click on 'Edit profile' button from the search results of your business
- Click on 'Business Information' from the pop-up modal
- Click on 'Menu' to update
Google will take a few days to process your request.
Caveats and gotchas
Those links will not capture all the traffic coming from those places. Sometimes people will click on them, sometimes they will just start from your website. Sometimes platforms like Yelp try to prioritize their own links over yours, driving traffic away to other providers (e.g. your grubhub menu).
Doing the math
Well, it's not perfect, but it's also not complicated. There are several ways we can approach this, but the basic figures should be something like this:
- U = Total unique visitors (combined from all your links)
- O = Total number of tickets (orders that were made from that menu)
O/U * 100 = C (where c is conversion rate)
This doesn't really tell us much other than establishing a baseline for us. On our own website, we can do a lot more, because we know the total number of visitors before they chose to click on our menu link.
Know your sales channels
We have a lot of loose data from multiple sources telling us bits and pieces of information that we can piece together to draw a full picture. For example, we can know the number of unique visitors from our website, but we can't know the number of unique visitors from our Facebook page. We can't know the number of unique visitors from our Yelp page, but we can know the number of unique visitors from our Google My Business page.
A typical restaurant will have the following channels:
- Google / Search
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but in terms of volume, we're being charitable to nextdoor here. But now as you start seeing the amount of traffic that each channel is generating, you can make better decision on where you want to spend your time and resources.
What's a good conversion rate for my restaurant?
If your conversion rate is ~2% then your performance is average. If you're hitting over 6% conversion then you're exceptional and in the top 10 percentile. It's okay if you're not hitting the numbers you want, because you now know where you are and where you need to go.
Now that you can track and measure your conversion rates, you can evaluate the efficacy of the updates and changes you make.
How do I improve my conversion rate?
There are countless ways we can improve the performance of a menu, but it ultimately depends on your specific situation. Are your item names too generic? Are you overpriced? Under-priced? Are your modifiers helping you up-sell or putting customers off?
Audit your restaurant menu and we can help you figure out the different ways you can plug all the leaks in your sales funnel.
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