After making a dinner reservation, I check the menu online, scan its Yelp reviews and practically decide what I’m going to eat before ever stepping foot in the restaurant. It’s a frustrating moment then, when I’ve been craving that pumpkin gnocchi all day, only to sit down at dinner to realize it’s been taken off the menu.
Locu aims to change problem at the restaurant level. Through proprietary technology, the MIT-born company allows restaurant owners, chefs and managers to update their menus and price lists on Locu.com, which then makes the changes on all affiliated sites.
The company started two years ago by four MIT students who say how small business owners and local merchants struggled to keep their web profiles up-to-date, explained Rene Reinsberg, CEO and co-founder of Locu.
Restaurant owners can create a free account with Locu, and “chances are,” they have that restaurant’s menu imported from their system, explained Reinsberg. From there, owners can make changes, add daily specials, update seasonal items and, once they’re ready, simply press publish to push it out through connected pages.
“In order to link the menu to your website, it’s a one-time setup,” said Reinsberg.
Similar to MailChimp or Tumblr, Locu allows for a wide-range of templates, making it easy to match restaurants’ designs with Locu’s.
“We’ve put a lot of work in getting a lot of feedback for our template gallery,” added Reinsberg.
Locu opened their API at TechCrunch Disrupt in September, and partners such as OpenTable and CityVoter have jumped on board. Along with those and similar websites, Locu also makes changes to printed restaurant menus.
Local Locu clients include Tommy Doyle’s, La Morra, Garden at the Cellar and The Aquitaine Group restaurants.
Izzy Berdan, director of visual branding and marketing for The Aquitaine Group, explained in a press release, “Managing my multiple venues online used to be really time-consuming, because I’d have to go online and log into every account. And now withLocu, I just log into one account and I can update all my menus at once […] The editor that Locu provides is really, really simple.”
“I would encourage every small business owner to give it a try,” said Reinsberg, adding that it can be used for places like nail salons, hair salons or barbers, who also have menus and pricing.
“It’s a one stop shop to do all your restaurant management,” said Reinsberg.
For the diner, that means what you see online is what you will get on your plate.