Tag: diy

GoogleAlert

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to certain things I like to cut corners. I’m always looking for grocery store BOGO’s, sometimes even pairing them with coupon’s (watch out!). I’ll run multiple errands at one time to save gas. I’ll even pick up things around the house in pairs so I can drop them off at once to save time.

As a restaurant owner, keeping up with your company’s online reputation, what your competitors are doing, trends in the marketplace, etc. can be a daunting task. (Remember that “be present” thing I talked about in my last blog post?) But, how in the world are you supposed to fit maintaining and establishing an online presence when you have staff to manage, financials to monitor, maybe even food to cook?? Not to mention the thousands of other things on your to-do list??

Well don’t fret my pet, I have a corner cutting secret that will cut your Internet researching time down tremendously… sign up for Google and/or Talkwalker alerts!

These powerful (and free!) tools make it easy to conduct online “intelligence” on your company, your customers, your prospects, or even just for fun. Both of these services monitor the web for words and phrases you’re interested in, and sends you an email every time it finds a new result. Don’t worry, you can set up email preferences so you’ll receive updates as often as you’d like, whether it’s daily, weekly or to update an existing RSS feed.

Want an example of how I’ve used alerts? After college, I moved to Atlanta, GA to start a career, and it didn’t take me long to discover Mellow Mushroom, a local pizza gem. Since 1974, Mellow Mushroom has been baking the most delicious, craveable pizzas on the planet (as noted on their website – and I completely agree!)

When I decided to move to Florida in 2000, there wasn’t a Mellow Mushroom within 200 miles. Once I discovered Google Alerts, I quickly added their name to my alert list to stalk…err–follow… one of my favorite brands. In 2006, a dream of mine came true when I received an alert announcing a new Mellow Mushroom store location… five minutes from my house!

Now, I use Google/Talkwalker alerts to keep up with Mellow Mushroom current news and events, such as “Way Back Wednesday.” In honor of their 40th anniversary, Mellow Mushroom “turned back the clock” and offered items on their menu the same price as they were back in 1974: Cokes were 30 cents, selected beers 75 cents, and a small cheese pizza was priced at a whopping $2.50! How else would I have known about this special event? I guess I could visit my local store everyday… but that might not be the best idea for my waist line.

Intrigued? You should be. A free, time-saving, business booster and information gathering tool… what more could you ask for? Maybe some direction on how to get started, and ideas on what to do with the data you collect? I thought you’d never ask! I’ve put together a handy resource guide that details out how to get sign up for one, or both of these services, along with ideas on how to use the information.

To download, simply enter your details below and the guide will be delivered to your inbox. Or, if you’re already using Google or Talkwalker alerts, let us know how they’re workin’ for ya. Love them? Or, not so much? Tell me about it! Tweet, Facebook us, or comment below!

No Excuses

Do you remember when cordless phones were cool?  If you wanted to order takeout, you could call the restaurant from the staircase instead of standing in the kitchen where the phone was hanging on the wall.

Fast forward to now and you can call from your cousin’s staircase in the next county over thanks to those trusty sidekicks we call mobile phones.

In other words, there are no longer any legit phone excuses because the technology has improved so dramatically that virtually nothing is impossible.

The same thing is true for restaurants and readable versions of their menus that can be accessed via their website.  There are NO EXCUSES for not doing something about having a readable menu accessible from your website!

There are 2 basic ways to add your menu to your website:

  1. Dedicated pages on your website
  2. A downloadable PDF version of your menu accessed by a link (button or text link)

The first option is only feasible for operators with an internal web person or team, or that have an external team like ours in place, or if they personally have experience in web.  Otherwise, it’s a whole new expertise that they’ll need to learn.

The second option however, can be done by anyone that has an internet connection and knows how to access a browser.

DIY Restaurant Menu PDFs

How to create an easy PDF menu for download

Before I go any further, I want to give the disclaimer that this is a no-frills menu PDF.  It will not necessarily look like an agency did it for you (but then again, if you’re good, it might).  And I am not endorsing Google Docs in any way.  But since they offer a free tool that gives businesses options while saving money, I felt this was a good option.

We’re developing a guide for designing much more intricate menus, so be on the lookout for that in the near future.

  1. Using Google Docs, choose “Create” + “Document”
  2. Name your document (e.g. “Summer Menu”)
  3. I would suggest a two-column format.  Unfortunately, with Google Docs, there is no way to just click a button to go into two-column mode like in Word.  So, the easiest way that I’ve found to workaround this inconvenience is to use a table.  Click the “Table” option, hover over “Insert Table” and highlight two columns by as many rows as you think you might need
  4. Use the first row to name the respective columns (e.g. Salads | Burgers)
  5. Use your “tab” button to navigate between cells
  6. Type the name of the menu item, then press “Enter” on your keyboard to add the description and pricing (optional)
  7. Continue doing this until you’ve added all of your menu items
  8. If you need additional rows, click “Table”, “Insert Row Below”
  9. If you want to add some color to specific items (cells), highlight the cells that you’d like to change the color for, and click “Table”, then “Table Properties”.  Click the drop-down arrow underneath “Cell background color” and choose the color you’d like to change the highlighted items to
  10. Highlight specific sections of text that you’ve typed to change the size or color to make menu item titles pop
  11. Add a Header and Footer to add some extras like your logo and other nutrition information that doesn’t quite fit into the menu item format
  12. Add additional pages as necessary by clicking “Insert”, “Page Break”
  13. When you’ve finished adding and formatting all of your information, you have a couple of options.  But we’re only going to talk about how to get your menu PDF now.  Click “File”, “Download As”, “PDF Document (.pdf)”
  14. When the ‘save as’ dialogue box comes up, just choose where you’d like to save your new menu PDF.

Then all you need to do is store the menu PDF in your media library on your website so that people can access it by using the link for where it’s stored.

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