The PDF Menu Has Got To-Go

We've all interacted with the View Menu button on that restaurant's website. It launches a new window on our phone and we're constantly going back and forth on those tabs. But you may not know that there are other disadvantages to the PDF menu for your business.

A good website—especially mobile friendly—is one of the best marketing tools for you business if it's optimized for search. Not only will it help with getting new customers to discover your restaurant, but back in 2014 Google added a feature that displays menus in it's search results. So if someone searched for "Scotch Eggs" your british pub would be one of the top results... unless you have your menu in PDF form. Google isn't currently crawling PDF's for menu items, this means you could be missing out on opportunities to be discovered by people searching for the products you offer.

If you need some facts to further convey how important online search is when it comes to U.S. consumers searching for restaurants:

Restaurant Search Statistics


Search for restaurant location & directions on mobile devices


View restaurant menus on their mobile devices


Place orders from restaurant websites via mobile

Stats from ToastLab

Customers search for restaurants in a variety of ways: restaurant name, neighborhood, cuisine type or specific menu items. When they find what they are looking for, the majority of consumers will take action within the hour.

Discoverable restaurants have an enormous advantage when it comes to acquiring new customers. It’s easily the most important marketing strategy for restaurants today, given that nearly everyone (over 97%) search online for local restaurants.

Being on Yelp, or Google is great, but there is so much more room for your restaurant to improve to increase your presence online. Searchable menus for one will immediately give your site more search terms to match what people are looking for. So you're likely to miss out on all those searches for specific items like that Wagyu Beef Burger you've been perfecting.

Don't delete that PDF menu just yet; there are still some benefits. For instance, those who still own printers, it's great to have if they want to keep on their fridge, or those who need to save an offline version for some reason. In some cases it's easier to view a PDF than a web based menu.

So if you can, it doesn't hurt to have a downloadable PDF menu on your site, but it may hurt to ONLY have a PDF menu. Look to optimize your website so you can get more traffic, and find those people who want the delicious things you make, because there are people looking for you, let them find you.