Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Current Progress

We've had a great couple of weeks at Pile HQ - we're almost at 700 Likes on the Facebook Page and had a huge amount of new sign-ups on the website; page-views on the site are higher than they've ever been!

We're always working to get more and more takeaway menus added to the website, meaning that we can help greater numbers of people, from across the UK, to get their curries quicker.

I know it's something that we have been doing individually, but I'd like to thank everyone that have been contributing menus - this helps us no end, as crowdsourcing the menus is a faster way for us to get them.

You know who you are, but a few recent names to thank for their bulk-menu contributions, are:

  • Robin from Stamford
  • David from Kent
  • Katie from Grantham
  • Emma from Lincoln
  • Stephen from Wisbech
  • …and there's loads more.

We appreciate every single one that we receive, either in the post, by email or in person.

If you want to help by sending in a few menus from around your way, simply go to https://www.themenupile.co.uk/SendIn for more details.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Happy Birthday, to us!

This is true. The Menu Pile is a year old already and, my - how time has flown.

Happy birthday

It started out a year ago, with a small pile of about 5 or 6 scanned menus from two small towns in Cambridgeshire, namely that of ‘March’ and ‘Chatteris’.

A single, lonely, web-page that was simply hung-out to dry on the big, bad internet.  Not even in it’s own space, but that of a shared sub-folder, accessed via a ‘/menus’ tag on an existing domain name, purely to get some form of a memorably web address to it when telling people about it.

Gradually, more menus were added.

Then a few more – curry or kebab places, all of which were local to me, that I didn’t even know of, with menus I’d never of thought about using.

And then a proper web-page ‘happened’. A little ‘Cloud hosting’ here, a little ‘magic database’ work there. The real foundations were now being laid.

Various domain names were bought; one stuck, the idea grew.

I then had ‘the bug’. The need. The urge to gather more.

Some nights, after getting the children to bed, I would be out driving around Cambridgeshire, collecting menus from villages and towns that I’d never heard of, despite being within 50 miles of where I live. I’d park the car, run into restaurant or takeaway, grab a menu, and leaving sharpish as there was always more places to go before calling it a night.

At times, I’d have about 10 or 12 in my hand whilst walking into a takeaway. The person serving behind the counter would look at me as though they knew what I was doing. Obviously gathering menus, due to just moved in to the area.

But they were wrong. They weren’t to know my secret, that I was hoarding menus to subsequently sit for hours the next night, scanning and publishing PDFs of them, just to upload and link them to the growing rows-upon-rows of places in the database, forming the basis of the website.

People I work with would bring them in for me, each person happy as Larry that they’ve helped and contributed. But no-one more happy than me, having received menus but without having the cost in petrol. Some were fresh from their letterbox the day before; some were retrieved from the back of ‘that drawer’ in the kitchen that we all have; some, much to my surprise and utter disbelief, were hand-collected from their part of the world previously unknown/unvisited by me, but all were contributing to the overall pile of menus that I’d have with me.

The team behind The Menu Pile triples; I am no longer alone in this. The ‘big guns’ have been brought in; this is quite obviously a ‘bigger-than-I’ job.  Vision status: shared.

Menus are still being added today, now in batches in order to fit in with the development workload.  But now, they’re arriving in the post. Or via the Facebook Messages. Or even by WhatsApp. Some of which are from friends around the country helping out a mate. Some are from new friends on the (then) new Facebook Page, some by restaurant owners driving them to my door themselves.  And some just arrived from distant parts of the country, in a large envelope with no other markings than my home address. (Thank you!)

We. Love. Them. 

Yes, all of them. Single pages, fold-out pages. From black and white, single-sided A4 landscape menus, right through to the front/back A3 spreads in full, glorious Technicolor and seven folds.

Each menu added to The Menu Pile website, as it stands today, symbolises a choice. An option. A decision based on accessing a normally-tangible ‘thing’ in the real world, but now digitised for the virtual world. A question: “where to eat?” shortly followed by another. “What’s there to eat?”

Help us, to help you to eat better takeaways. (And from places you might not have tried.)

Help us, to get restaurant owners to hear your words on how well (or not) they’re doing. Giving feedback is the only way they know whether they’re making or breaking your Saturday night takeaway.

Help us to make the next birthday we have, a mark of another year where we’ve been able to bring more takeaways and restaurants to your phone, tablet or desktop computer.

Send your menus in to us - we promise to look after each and every single one of them.

No menu will go neglected, mistreated or discarded.

All will be at home at The Menu Pile website.

Thanks for your support for the last 12 months. Here’s to the next 12 months ahead.

 

The Menu Pile Team

Monday, 28 September 2015

Like the old, but much better!

Well. It’s taken a little while, but we, at Menu Pile HQ, have been very busy working constantly on not just the website part of The Menu Pile website, but on ‘the bits behind-the-scenes’, too.

We’ve added lots of new elements and features, some of which are now available, including:

  • A new LOGO
    LogoGreen1The old logo has been around for almost a year now, so looked tired and worn out. So, we’ve given it a permanent holiday and welcome the new logo in it’s place. 

    We’d love to hear your thoughts on this, by email, Facebook comments, Twitter, or whatever.

  • LOTS more places from across the UK
    The Menu Pile website now lists well over 100,000 places across the whole of the UK, from the very top, to the very bottom; from the far place in the East, right across the puddle to the other side of Northern Ireland. 

    Over a hundred. THOUSAND. restaurants. (That’s six noughts and a comma!)

    That’s a staggering amount of curries and kebabs out there, people!

    As more places open up, as well as those that close down, we’ll keep adding them on. 

    But our appeal still stands – if you have a menu that we don’t, send it into us! Details can be found here on The Menu Pile website.

  • Food Hygiene Ratings – increased frequency of checks
    We know that you all love checking the Food Hygiene Rating of your favourite takeaways and, for better or worse, they’re a main part of our website.  As part of our commitment to everyone who uses our website (takeaway customers and restaurant owners), we’ve dramatically increased the frequency of our checks in with the Food Standards Agency.  The dates beneath the logo still show when the FSA last checked a restaurant over, and the date (or wording) beneath that shows when we checked in with the FSA.

  • FASTER search results
    We found out (the hard way!) that adding another 95,000 places to our growing database could cause us problems. And it certainly did.

    A few of your ‘more honest’ comments came our way, and we’ve taken heed and swatted a few problems with the speed issues during when the search results came back. 

    Now, the results simply FLY in. The performance of the website has been massively increased from a geeky/techie level, and so we’re quite happy with it at the moment.  But the question is, are you?!

  • Restaurants Sign-Up page
    This is something we’ve banded about for a little while, but now we’re please to announce that restaurant owners can register (entirely for free) to see stats, etc. about their restaurant. 

    In addition, the feedback that is left by you, the user of the website, is shown to them but only the comments – your names and details are not available to them, so don’t panic!

    There’s a few more things to come in the pipeline regarding Restaurant Owners, but we’re conscious of getting this all out to start the ball rolling. (More about this to follow soon.)


So, let us know what you think!!  At the end of the day, we’re human beings too, (despite our constant inability to pass Captcha tests!) and our goal with The Menu Pile website is to please you, our visitors, by getting a takeaway menu in front of you, fast.  If there’s something that you think we can improve upon, tell us and we’ll see what can be done about it!

Thanks for reading – happy takeaways.

The (small-but-growing) Menu Pile Team

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Discount at Domino’s!

We’re always looking at getting you great deals on takeaway food, and this is no exception!

We’ve just added a discount code to get you £5 off of a £20 order (pizza only!) when you order online at Domino’s Pizza. There are some terms and conditions to this, so please check the Special Offers page for details.

This deal is only valid until the 31st June 2015, so get in there quick!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Send us your menus!

We’re getting hundreds and hundreds more takeaway restaurants added to the website at each stage. We would LOVE you to send your menus into us.

  • New menus
    There are places that we’ve not managed to collect a menu for as yet. If you have one, be a menu hero and send it into us and we’ll gladly make it available for the rest of the internet!
  • Newer versions of current menus
    At times, these pesky restaurants change their menus, leaving us with an out-of-date menu hanging around on the website. If you’ve managed to get a later version, send it into us!

Details are on the Contact page of the website, even if you just want to drop us a line about your experiences with the website.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Another Special Offer!

That’s right, more special offers for you lovely folks to take advantage of!

newdragoninn

The ‘New Dragon Inn’ Chinese takeaway in Ely, Cambridgeshire, is offering visitors from The Menu Pile a discount on their food!

To see more details about this offer and more, go to the Special Offers page at The Menu Pile website:

https://themenupile.co.uk/Offers

But don’t forget the discount code!!

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Places, people!

In the past few days, I’ve added a number of additional restaurants to The Menu Pile website even though there aren’t necessarily the scanned menus to go with them…! 

There’s a reason for this, and here’s  what it is.

I get disappointed when using websites that that have a local element to it, such as website that provide online ordering for restaurants. Being a geek myself, I would like to be able to order food online from my favourite Chinese takeaway (Dragon Inn, Chatteris) but it’s not possible, as they aren’t signed up for this process. And in fact, nor are the vast majority of the restaurants in and around the two towns that are within takeaway-distance from my home. When I search for my post code on their sites, I’m only offered places that are at 20 miles away, which is a default ‘no’ from my perspective.

BigData

So, I wanted to add more details about the restaurants that are in the areas that I’ve got partly-covered, or not at all covered, so that if a visitor to the website from one of these places isn’t able to gain access to the scanned menu, at least there’s the name and details, telephone number and food hygiene rating for them, so as to not make them feel excluded from the party.

In addition, my being made aware of the places that I didn’t know about actually helps, as it serves as a ‘To Do’ list, in terms of needing to get the menus in for them.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

A few website tweaks

I’ve been busy working on the back-end of the website for a few days, getting things ready for the next addition to the site, but tonight I’ve spent a couple of hours tweaking the layout slightly. Thought I’d share this with y’all.

  • Out of date menus
    out of dateThis is something that I had added a little while back, but it needed to be brought to the front a little more.  If a menu is considered to be out of date, then it ought to show other users in case they’re going to the restaurant to get a takeaway.

    In the search results, a little banner now appears saying:  Menu out of date , signalling that it’s not the latest version. Once a new is uploaded, the banner will clear.
  • Sign Up / Log In
    Some people were getting confused by the same page which allowed for signing up (or registering) as logging in (for previously registered users) on The Menu Pile website.

    So, I’ve simply split this out and made it a little easier to see what’s going on.

There’s been lots of other exciting changes being made in the background that you can’t yet see, but they’re not quite ready yet to be announced to the public. But rest assured, work is continuing to make The Menu Pile website even better than it is now.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Member benefits

welcome-lg

The list of benefits to being a member on The Menu Pile website is growing over time, with more things to come.

If you're a member (which is free by the way!!) then you're now able to:

  • Add Favourites Restaurants
    Save restaurants to your favourites list, which are listed on the Home page every time you log in, on whichever device you choose to use.

  • Give Feedback
    Did you like (or dislike!) a meal from a particular takeaway recently? If so, why not write feedback that will go directly to the restaurant (anonymously) so that they can take your comments on-board.

  • Report an out-of-date Menu
    If you come across a menu on the website that you're sure is not the latest version, then a few clicks will raise the alarm bells ringing at Menu Pile headquarters.

  • Use your Facebook/Google/Microsoft/Twitter account for logging in
    Why create yet another username and password combination to remember, when you can use your existing account at any of these providers to create a secure a reliably way of logging into your account? None of your passwords are accessible by The Menu Pile website, and once logged in, it's a doddle to return. If you don't have an account at any of these places, you can register and sign-in the good ol' fashioned way.

Accounts on the website are free to use and growing in numbers already! If you want to create an account, simply click here to go directly to The Menu Pile website.