2012 June: Online PDF Menus

More and more, customers are making dining decisions on the fly. They take to their phones while in transit to find their next meal. One unfortunate trend among restaurants is to display their menus online as PDFs.

Not to get too technical, PDF (Portable Document Format) can only be opened with an Adobe Reader program. While it’s a free program, some people don’t want to hassle with it. The more significant point is that a majority of cell phones, at least right now, cannot read PDFs. If they can’t load your menu, they will move on to other restaurants to view their menus.

Other online menu faux pas are presenting your menu as an image file or Flash. A JPG or GIF menu is hard to read, slower to download and doesn’t allow the search engines to find specific menu items. Flash is that cool, fun animated effect on Web sites and it’s also a format that few phones have.

Instead, present your menu online in a clean, Web appropriate typeface and size on your webpage. You can also provide a downloadable PDF version, but the PDF shouldn’t be the go-to menu.

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