Dynamic, real-time food and drink menus
We know from analytics that one of the main reasons a customer will visit your website is to check out your food and drink menu, which of course, makes complete sense. One of the main reasons for their visit is to drink or dine, so getting this right is the difference between attracting or NOT attracting customers to your venue.
The traditional approach to providing food and drink menus online was reasonably straightforward. You have printed menus in the venue and ask the design agency to provide a PDF for the website.
That’s uploaded, and you’re done! However, there are several reasons why this approach falls short, which is why a more dynamic way of producing online menus is needed. By dynamic, we mean a food and drink menu that updates in real-time for more accurate menu information.
In this article, we'll start with the benefits of having dynamic menus before moving on to a specific solution for you.
Why do we need dynamic, real-time food and drink menus?
Let’s split this into three main reasons:
- User Experience
Our childhood obesity rates are among the highest in Europe, and nearly 1 in 4 children are obese by the time they start primary school. In addition to this, 66% of adults are obese or overweight.
So on 6th April 2022, the UK government is introducing new calorie labelling legislation to help tackle this obesity problem in England.
The new legislation means certain businesses in England will need to include calorie labels on the food they sell, including larger out-of-home food businesses like restaurants, pubs and cafes with 250 or more employees. So this will be mandatory for our large hospitality chains.
So What Does This Mean For Online Menus
All calorie information shown must be labelled per portion or for the entire meal to mirror the expectation of what will be consumed. As with food products sold in shops, calories should be shown in kilocalories and marked by the letters ‘kcal’.
In addition to all this newly required nutritional information, we also have Allergen Safety to consider. Essentially, food and drink menus just got a whole lot more complex.
Labelling and recipe management needs to be updated and changed more frequently to ensure accuracy. In addition, quick changes need to reflect online in real-time, as trying to achieve this with PDFs will quickly become unmanageable across a chain of hospitality venues.
Very few hospitality businesses have just a single food and drink menu. Consider that often there might be a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu - with at least one drinks menu, but often that might be split with a general drinks menu plus a wine list or cocktails!
These menus will usually change seasonally too - and don’t even get me started on price bands!!! A large hospitality chain might be trying to manage this across dozens or maybe hundreds of venues simultaneously.
You can see how this could very quickly become an administrative nightmare, constantly requesting PDFs and uploading them, deleting or archiving older menus and all the time making sure the information is accurate!
So it’s easy to see how a real-time feed from a central source makes much more sense when it comes to easing the labour-intensive task of administering food and drink menus online.
The most important thing to consider here is the user experience.
We try to put the user at the heart of everything we do digitally, and we know that viewing PDFs on a mobile device is not a great experience.
Endless pinching and zooming to get to the detail becomes quite tiresome quite quickly! This is compounded by the fact that the customer now wants more detail than ever.
Again, I refer back to the nutritional information held against each recipe.
We also need to consider those customers browsing with the intention to purchase. Many will expect a fast online ordering service connected to the menu, allowing them to quickly and easily order items on their device.
Our 24social content platform integrates with TenKites.
This will allow you to maintain menu information in real-time while giving your customers a quality, engaging experience across all touch points.
It’s a solution trusted by leading foodservice brands and suppliers, restaurants, chains, pubs and takeaway platforms.
- Automatically publish menus to websites with on-brand and interactive menu pages.
- Manage your food supply chain and compliance with food law in one single system
- POS integration
- Utilise QR codes, let customers apply dietary requirement filters and place orders for in-house, click & collect or delivery
- Dynamic/real-time does not mean boring! Impress customers with custom-designed menus
- Any changes made to your dishes, allergens and nutrition information are automatically updated throughout the system and on your menus.
For more information, visit: https://www.tenkites.com
The large hospitality brands are moving toward dynamic, real-time food and drink menus - that’s if they haven’t already. However, it should be stated that we see these new real-time features often sit alongside traditional menus as much of their demographic is older and prefer paper-based menus.
It’s not unthinkable to conceive that, over time, the PDF and paper-based menus might disappear. Dynamic, real-time food and drink menus solve many problems, mainly around maintaining accurate menu information, saving operating costs and giving customers a great user experience. So it’s hard to see why more venue websites wouldn’t take this approach in the future.