When taking your restaurant menu into the digital realm, there are two primary methods that you will encounter; PDF Menu image menus and responsive HTML menus. As a restaurateur, you need to ensure that you make the right choice to ensure that your customers have the best experience possible at your venue.

Ultimately, you need to ensure that your menu is presented clearly, is easy to read on any device, and that your customers can find what they need with ease.

While many restaurant owners upload a PDF Menu image of their full-sized menu, this might not be the best approach to take. Although it might be straightforward and easy to do, and you may even save a little money with this basic approach, the truth is that PDF menus will typically do more harm than good.

To ensure that your menu can easily be read on different types of devices, contribute positively toward your overall marketing strategy, and boost your SEO to help you climb the search engine rankings and bring more traffic to your restaurant website, responsive HTML menus are the better choice.

Let’s dig a little further into why you should always opt for responsive HTML menus for your website, instead of a basic PDF Menu file.

The Customer Comes First 

93% of consumers will look at a restaurant menu before deciding where to eat according to a survey by OpenTable.


Your customers are critical to the overall success of your restaurant business. Without customers, your business will not succeed, you will not turn a profit and soon you will be closing the doors of your restaurant.

It’s crucial nowadays to take a customer-centric approach and put the customer first in every decision you make around your business.

When it comes to choosing between PDF images and responsive HTML menus, you need to focus on what is best for the customer and not what is best for your budget.

While PDF menus might save you some money in the short term, they will end up creating a frustrating experience for your guests, especially those viewing on their mobile device.

Viewing PDF documents on a mobile device is awkward and cumbersome because they will need to pinch, zoom and scroll to browse your menu.

Considering that  looking at the menu is the first thing your customers will do when they sit down to eat at your restaurant, you need to focus on making this one simple task as straightforward and pleasant as possible for your guests.

Increase Your Search Engine Ranking

94% of Diners Will Choose Your Restaurant Based on Online Reviews


In addition to doing everything you can to keep your customers happy, in today’s increasingly digitized world, you also need to keep the search engines happy. Using a PDF menu is never the best choice when it comes to improving your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.

To climb the search engine rankings, you need to ensure that you give the search engines as much information about your restaurant as possible. Search engines don’t read PDF documents but they do assess the text content on your website to learn more about your business.

Click below for a free Demo on all the ways a responsive menu can help improve your restaurant’s menu.

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With a responsive HTML menu, you will naturally be providing the search engine with more key search terms which will help them to determine what your business is all about.

For example, if you own a steakhouse and you use a responsive HTML menu that can be scanned by the search engines, the Google bots, and other search engine crawlers will naturally find a lot of information about steaks. Your menu may include a T-Bone Steak, Sirloin Steak, Ribeye Steak, Porterhouse Steak, and a Tenderloin Steak.

Not only will you have a heading for each of these steaks on your HTML menu, but you will also have a short description of each steak, and you may also offer other steak-related additions such as steak sauce. When someone in your area searches for “steakhouse near me” or “best steak in [Your Town]”, your restaurant will have a much better chance of featuring at the top of the local search results.

Sharing In The Modern Age

One argument that is often made in favor of PDF menus is that they are easier to share as you can simply download them and email or message them to whoever you need. However, nowadays, emailing or instant messaging menus is old hat.

Instead, your customers can simply send a link to the menu page to anyone that needs it. Not only is this more convenient but it inadvertently will also increase your website traffic which can have a positive impact on your SEO.

If you feel your customers could benefit from an offline menu, you can always include a download menu button at the end of your responsive HTML menu so it can be viewed offline. Most customers will either print the web page or share the link to the menu so this is not necessary but it is an option for restaurant owners who want it.

Make The Right Decision For Your Restaurant Moving Forward

When it comes to choosing between PDF menus and responsive HTML menus, the choice will be clear for most restaurant owners. Although PDF menus might be the quick, cheap and easy solution, it’s important to remember that they are certainly not the best choice.

Keep your customers and the search engines happy by opting for a responsive HTML menu for your restaurant. It might take a little more work in the beginning but you can be sure that the benefits will speak for themselves moving forward.

To learn even more about QR Code Menus and get a free QR Code Menu to try for yourself, click to read our Ultimate Guide For Restaurants.