“Menus suck,” at least according to Dave McClure, and should be online, up to date, and accessible. Today, Yelp and Locu announced a partnership that will bring restaurant menus to Yelp in real time, along with price lists and business information.
Locu simplifies the technical aspects of maintaining a current online menu so chefs can focus on more important things, like creating delicious food. Using Locu’s menu management dashboard, restaurants can edit, design, and share their menus across the web. As McClure noted, the restaurant industry is not the most technologically advanced, and many eateries gain a significant amount of exposure through Yelp. However, menus on Yelp are often outdated, so potential customers still have visit the restaurant’s actual website (if they have one) to check out their options.
This partnership will make it easier for the 15,000 small businesses on Locu to extend their storefront by posting their menus , photos, and daily specials to Yelp’s 100 million unique visitors across multiple channels. Yelp, in turn, will benefit from a better menu offering, which is likely encourage higher levels of user engagement.
“Like most consumers, one of the best ways to discover great local businesses is by searching online,” said Locu CEO Rene Reinsberg in an email. “Yelp is one of the most important places for our local businesses customers to be found by consumers. I want to see whether a business is open and what they are offering right now, so having a real-time price list and photos can make a huge difference in my decision.”
Locu also works with hair/nail salons, spas, home cleaning services, and fitness studios. The API gives developers access to “the world’s largest real-time structured repository of local business offerings data,” which comes directly from merchants. The platform is built on machine learning, and distributes information in real time to hundreds of publishers and other search platforms, like OpenTable, TripAdvsior, Citysearch, and now Yelp. The company was founded by MIT graduates and is backed by General Catalyst Capital Partners, Lowercase, Lightbank, SV Angel and angel investors.
Some people still enjoy the thrill of surprise when you open up a restaurant menu and glance at the offerings for the first time. However, in today’s world of dietary restrictions, checking ahead of time to make sure there are gluten-free, vegan-friendly, paleo-approved options is a necessity for some. And as the restaurant industry becomes more focused on using seasonal ingredients, menus are constantly changing. Restaurants that are committed to a dynamic menu put a lot of work into coming up with the dishes and finding the right ingredients, and a lack of tech-savvy shouldn’t limit their capability to connect with consumers.
This partnership is one step toward making menus suck less.
Photo Credit: Thompsoe/Flickr, Locu