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Restaurants Need Mobile Website To Increase Business

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  • Restaurants Need Mobile Website To Increase Business

    If you had a reliable and proven way of investing $20 and getting back $30, how many of these $20 bills would you invest? I hope you answered, "All the $20 bills I could get my hands on!"

    Good! This is our point. Your marketing budget needs to pay for itself... and more.

    The restaurant business is tough enough without having to deal with all the marketing gimmicks that do not deliver a good return on your investment. With competition up and consumer spending down, many restaurants are turning to price based promotions to attract new customers. Groupon is now, arguably, the fastest growing company ever. Hundreds of companies are imitating the Groupon business model, giving restaurants a staggering amount of choices of where to invest their marketing dollars. Unfortunately, too many restaurants actually LOSE money when they run these daily deal programs. Often the promoted deals leave little or no profit margins. Often, restaurants are not prepared for the onslaught of new traffic and end up with bad reviews instead of reaping the benefits of new, long-term customers.

    Instead of merely trying to attract foot traffic with a single, profit busting deal today (and most will not be back once the promotion is over,) your marketing efforts and investment would be better spent helping customers find you and leading them right through your door!

    If you have invested in a website and have dabbled in Social Media, congratulations, you have made important first steps in helping customers find you. If you have invested in Search Engine Optimization, and Local Search, then you are 5 steps ahead of your competition. It is a connected world we live in and the Internet has become the Yellow Pages, magazines, newspaper, roadmap, and Betty Sue down the street, who can tell you if that restaurant is good or not - all rolled into one.

    But even beyond that, people are taking all that computing power with them - where ever they go. Look around any public area and you will see people browsing the Web on their smartphones. Chances are, they're "Googling" restaurants in their area to see where they want to go for lunch. By the way, their phone and Google know exactly where they are. This enables Google to present them with choices based on their location and their search. (How Google decides which restaurants to present and in what order is a subject for a whole other article.)

    There is no shortage of data that shows us how smartphones and the Mobile Web are embedded into our daily lives.

    β€’ 73 million Americans accessed the web from a mobile browser in 2010. Source: market research firm, CommScore.

    β€’ According to a 2011 Google study, 89% of smartphone users access the Mobile Web throughout the day.

    β€’ The same Google study found that overwhelming numbers of smartphone owners use their phone to access the Internet both when they are home (watching TV, listening to music, reading a magazine, etc.) and when they are on the go (waiting in line, shopping, traveling.)

    Smartphone users get dining and restaurant recommendations in the form of search results, check reviews for any restaurant they are considering, quickly make a reservation and get turn-by-turn directions - all in seconds, from their smartphone.

    If you do not have a Mobile website for your restaurant, you are probably losing business to a competitor. In many cases, Google will present Mobile websites, over traditional desktop formatted website, for searches conducted from a smartphone. Google's primary goal is to make the end-user experience as relevant and satisfying as possible. That overriding goal trumps your desire to rank on the first page of a Google search - every time.

    So let's look at it from the user's perspective. Let's say Joe Smith is looking for an Italian restaurant to take his wife to for a romantic dinner. Google will present many options for Joe to consider. He clicks on the first restaurant on the list and gets their website. The website is beautiful and would be perfect for Joe's romantic night - if he were looking at it from his desktop computer. But Joe is searching from his smartphone. The type is so small he can't read it - any of it. (Did you know that 60% of the population wears reading glasses?) He tries to pinch and pull, then scroll up, down, left and right to see what is on the menu. Like most people, Joe is all thumbs and struggles to navigate the little, itty, bitty type and site tabs on his smartphone screen. While this restaurant has potential, he can't see if they offer veal scaloppini, his wife's favorite, so he goes on to the next restaurant on the list. This is business lost for the first restaurant, who probably invested plenty time and money in getting the number 1 ranking in local search.

    A Mobile website is a simplified version of your restaurant's full website. It is optimized to make it easy to see and navigate for smartphone users. It is an extension of your business and is a direct connection to your potential customer, at the exact moment they are looking for a place to eat. Your customer's Mobile web experience needs to be as satisfying as the experience you work so hard to deliver once the customer comes in your door.

    To accomplish this, your Mobile website needs to quickly communicate the information your customers need in order to make a decision, right now. Important information about your restaurant must be easily found and read on the users small smartphone screen. Smartphone users don't ask for much:

    β€’ The menu in a nice optimized format
    β€’ Your address and contact information
    β€’ Directions from exactly where they are at
    β€’ The ability to quickly make a reservation
    β€’ The chance to read some reviews
    β€’ Find out if there are any specials or promotions

    Mobile websites are inexpensive and will quickly pay for themselves in captured business. And they offer tremendous ongoing and cost-effective marketing opportunities.

    OK, time for another example. This time, Joe is planning a night out with the guys. They are looking for a sports bar with good bar food. Joe Googles some options. He likes what he sees on Sport Bar A's Mobile website and decides to give it a try. Once there, Joe and his 3 friends are so impressed with the HD TVs and the hot wings that they "Four Square" or "Facebook Places" their friends. Soon, five of their friends join them. One sees a QR code on the drink specials table tent and uses his smartphone to check it out. On his smartphone he sees a page of Sports Bar A's Mobile website with a promotional offer and an easy fill-in entry form. They all decide to participate in the promotion.

    Now, as the restaurant owner, you are able to email the group for your Football Sunday Specials... well, you get the idea.

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