Restaurant owners have a full plate when it comes to the types of responsibility and knowledge they require to own and operate a successful restaurant. The internet and changing trends with mobile usage are creating a marketing shift that many restaurateurs are still not recognizing. It used to be good enough to have a basic website with your menu posted somewhere online; however, since Apple brought the first smartphone to the market in 2007, customers are searching for restaurants online with a different perspective. What is considered ‘important’ has changed.
1. Mobile Friendly Website Design
The majority of restaurant websites are not mobile friendly. There is a new standard for restaurant websites which is to offer visitors a version that is easy to read on a mobile device either through an app or a website built with responsive design. Here are some statistics to consider from a study conducted by custom market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey shared on restaurant-hospitality.com:
- 92 percent of consumers have searched for a restaurant on a web browser in the last six months
- 80 percent of consumers think it’s important to see a menu before they dine at a restaurant
- 62 percent of consumers are less likely to choose a restaurant if they can’t read the menu on a mobile device
What is even more staggering is the purchase intent that mobile users have. The Telmetrics and mobile ad network xAd study has shown that 64% of smart phone users and 44% of tablet users make a purchase within 1 hour of completing a search for a restaurant. How much business is your restaurant turning away by not offering a website that mobile users can access easily on the go?
2. The Online Menu
Now that you are aware of how many visitors are coming to your website through a mobile device it is important to realize that one of the first items they view is your menu. Restaurant websites that have a downloadable PDF menu are not compatible with a mobile device. Aside from the amount of data a cell phone must use to download the file, it can be very difficult to read. The customer has to zoom in to read a PDF file, scroll back and forth to read each line of text and some menus are too blurry to read after being zoomed in.
If you are not ready to add responsive website design to your entire website, consider adding an online ordering system that features mobile friendly menu design as part of their service.
3. Contact Information
Customers that want to visit your restaurant to dine in or pick-up an order will be looking for the restaurant address. Consider adding a Google Map to your website. For customers accessing the map from a mobile device they will be able to receive directions from their current location to your restaurant.
4. Click-to-Call Feature
Some customers need to call the restaurant to make a reservation, place an table ordering or ask a question. It is too much effort to switch between the internet app they are viewing the website through and the calling app which dials the number.
Click-to-Call is a simple feature any mobile web designer will know how to add. It simply appears as a button that will call the restaurant directly when touched on any smart phone device. This button is linked directly to the calling app within the phone to save the trouble of writing down a phone number to dial it.
5. Written Content
Written content on your website is important to help search engines like Google and Bing find your restaurant. Too many restaurant websites are lacking quality content and merely have a few pictures with a downloadable menu. The easiest way to add content to your website is to write a nice ‘About Us’ page and tell customers what you offer. Add a paragraph or two to each page including the menu and contact us page.
Consider the types of words your customers will use to find your website when they do an internet search for your type of restaurant. It may include phrases like ‘pizza delivery [your city name]’ or ‘best Italian restaurant’. Try to add relevant keywords when it is natural throughout your website.
Written content is very important to help customers find your website or restaurants like yours. Ask your webmaster about SEO (search engine optimization) and if they can help you to improve the internet traffic that visits your website.
These are the top 5 suggestions to help improve your restaurant website and to maximize the potential of your website in today’s mobile world. Be aware that responsive website design is not as costly as it sounds. Talk to a few different web-design companies about converting your existing website design to a mobile friendly format or if you will require an entire redesign. Choosing to offer an online menu through an online ordering system and improving your contact page should improve the purchase conversions.