Why you need to stop using PDF menus

Restaurant Menu from Benitos Hat
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Restaurant Menu from Benitos Hat

When speaking to restaurant owners, the question whether to choose PDF or HTML menus is coming up frequently. No wonder, because food and drink menus are the third most popular item on restaurant websites after contact and booking details.

And even if PDF menus are very convenient to update for your team, I will explain to you in this post why you should only integrate HTML menus from now on.


As you may have heard, content is king. And that is no exception on the internet. Google and other search algorithms favour fast and informative websites. And here is the catch, PDF files load slower than the rest of your website and search engines won't transcript the text of these documents. Therefore your competitors with HTML menus will always be favoured in the search results of your potential customers.

Additionally, for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) purposes, you want to show as much content as possible. Updating an HTML menu does not only tell search engines that your website is more relevant, but will also give you better chances to rank higher for various searches.

User Friendliness

Imagine yourself coming from work. You are telling your friend about the new lunch place next to your office, and she asks you if they are also serving vegetarian options. You are opening the website on your phone, and because the menu is a PDF file, you need to pinch and zoom on the 3-page long document to find the vegetarian dishes.

Yes, you will not encounter this situation every day, but giving excellent services starts on your website. PDF menus are easy to maintain for your team, but not easy to navigate for your clients. They require more data bandwidth on mobile devices and are only comfortable to navigate with two hands. The majority of smartphone users serve the web with one hand, though.


On booking platforms like Tripadvisor or Opentable, you can set a link to your food menu. Many restaurateurs are making the mistake of linking directly to the PDF file. However, the PDF will not be available anymore when your menu receives its seasonal update. Instead of manually updating the URL on dozen of platforms, an HTML menu stays available on the same URL for as long you want.

Using HTML menus will not only give you better search visibility among your competitors, but will also serve your customers with better user experience, and save you from a lot of manual work.

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