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New website offers a full menu of options

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By The Staff

Before you pick a restaurant, do you have to discuss menu options for picky eaters?

Maybe one child will only eat macaroni and cheese, and the other must have a hamburger – no mustard or pickles, ketchup only.

If you have a finicky bunch, then having several menus in front of you before you go could certainly alleviate problems down the road.

In comes LotsaMenus.com.

The brainchild of Jerry Colvin and Scott Clarke, this new Web site aims to provide its visitors with menus of all the state’s restaurants.

However, with just two weeks on the job, their site is still growing.

Centering in Shelbyville and Shelby County, where Colvin’s other businesses are located at the 100 block of Washington and Main streets, the plan is to spiral out until the state is covered.

They already have posted menus from eight local restaurants, and five in Franklin County, two in Henry County and one each in Spencer and Jefferson counties.

“The demand is already coming in, and we’re only two weeks in,” Clarke said. “We’re going to have to grow, because I can’t be everywhere.”

Clarke is the one who contacts the restaurants and lets them know about the service, which can be free to them.

Colvin is the Webmaster, a position he holds for several other businesses as well.

The menus are listed page by page, exactly as they appear in the restaurant. You even flip the pages as if you were at the table.

The idea started when a Fiesta Mexicana, a Shelbyville restaurant, said it wanted to post its menu on Colvin’s online business directory Web site.

“From there, we started thinking about it and batting it around a little, and thought, ‘Why can’t we do this for every restaurant?’” Clarke said. “So from there it’s just taken off.”

Restaurants are given the opportunity to place their menus for free, then ads are sold for the back pages of the virtual menu.

“But we’re very careful to try and match the ads with the restaurant,” Clarke said. “In fact, for Claudia’s [Sanders Dinner House], Pathelen [Flower & Gift Shop] is on the back because they do a lot of weddings at Claudia’s, and Pathelen’s does the flowers for a lot of those. We try to match the ads with the restaurants to drive more interest in both.”

Clarke and Colvin do offer the restaurants the opportunity to put specials and coupons in with the menus, as well.

“We’re trying to tell the restaurants that this is going to help them,” Clarke said. “When people call, they can direct them to the menu and encourage them to place their order before they come.

“That way they have the food ready when they get there, and it saves both the customer and the restaurant time.

“It also helps the restaurant turn the tables over faster. It’s a win-win situations.”

The site also offers directions and links to the restaurant’s Web sites.

“We have a link to Google maps so people can get directions, and they can check out the restaurants website to see more pictures and get more information if they need it,” Colvin said. “It’s a one-stop shop for the restaurants.”

The site can also be a big help to traveling families.

“As we continue to grow, you can check out the restaurants in other parts of the state if you’re planning a trip,” Clarke said. “And, with all regional advertising, you can see what else the area might have as well.”