8 simple tips to make your restaurant more mobile friendly
The restaurant industry is one of the most competitive industries in the world and it’s worth over £40 billion in the UK alone. We have restaurants ranging from top-end fine dining to ‘take away’ outlets and with new places to eat opening every week across the country, it’s never been as important to get your restaurant visible on the web and more specifically, the mobile web, to aid potential customers on the move find your establishment.
Being visible on mobile is important for most businesses today but it may be even more true for restaurants and other local businesses. The reason is simple: more searches are being made on mobile than ever before for local businesses. Smart phones are able to correlate key searches such as ‘pizza’ with local data based on the location reported on the users’ smartphone. That means people are in your neighbourhood searching for a restaurant like yours, ready to spend money. All you have to make sure of is that they can find you. Here are some ideas to help you with this:
1. Your location matters! So add your restaurant to Google+ local
A massive 43% of all Google searches are local or location based, which increases to 50% for people searching on their mobiles. Makes sense doesn’t it? If you’re on the move and want a bite to eat, you’ll probably use your phone to search for a restaurant. Google will link a customer’s search to their location, making your local Google+ page priceless. The key thing to remember here is to always keep your information up to date: fill out your hours, contact information and the category that applies to your business (eg restaurant). So when searching for Harrys Bar Pizzeria in the example below, I can see exactly where it is, I can go to the website and I can call them. Easy.
2. Make sure your menu is easy to find
A report by Gourmet Marketing suggests that the menu is the most important factor for people when making their dining decision, so you should ensure you’ve placed your menu in an easy-to-see place on your website. Even though the website in the example below is not mobile optimized, their menu tab is easy to find and easy to click on.
3. Why is your menu on a PDF?
Mobile users are impatient and usually have unreliable connectivity so it is up to you to make your information as easily available to them as possible. So why do you put your menu on a PDF? Mobile users don’t have time to download a PDF, they want to see the menu right now! This also goes for putting your address details in an image. People want to be able to copy / paste your address into Google Maps so they can find you! The cartoonist, The Oatmeal sums this up beautifully.
4. Your menu passes the test so now you need some reviews
Review sites: you either love them or hate them but it’s impossible to hide from them. You’d be missing a trick if you didn’t take the front foot and sign up to at least one. When searching for restaurants in a local area, you’ll more often than not find review sites coming top of the results.
Take TripAdvisor for example, it has over 2 million restaurants worldwide on their books and has over 2 million visitors per month. They released a report with Strategy One suggesting that 93% of people were influenced by reviews before they make a booking. The Search Engine Journal has some good tips on how to make the most of your TripAdvisor listing.
5. Clickable phone numbers so customers can book easily
You’ve grabbed the attention of your customer, they like the look of your menu and your reviews are pretty good too, so now they need to call you to make a booking. Make it easy for them!
Nothing is more annoying than finding a restaurant on the web and having to grab a pen to scribble down the number. As with everything these days, user experience is very important. Web designers Powederkeg have written a blog post on how to make your phone number clickable. It shouldn’t be too hard to implement and won’t cost you much either.
6. Encourage customers to use photography to share their experience
Food photography is becoming part of modern restaurant culture so why not encourage people to use their mobiles to take photos when they’re in your restaurant and share them on social networks, such as Instagram and Pinterest, to build up your brand. Make sure you create an account on these networks too, so people can follow you and accredit their picture to your establishment. The Huffington Post has compiled a list of their top 10 Instagram restaurant pictures which should give you some inspiration!
7. Streamline your payment process and move to mobile
Accepting all major credit cards is something that customers expect, but there are more ways for customers to pay and from next year they’ll be able to pay for their meal using their mobile phone. Keep your eyes out for the Zapp, who have entered into a partnership with payments firm Worldpay.
8. Service, service, service
It used to be that when people didn’t like your service, they told 5 friends. Now they tell 500 followers on Twitter. In today’s connected world, you cannot afford to provide a bad customer experience at your restaurant so once you’ve got people through the door, delight them so that they will tell people about it online and on review sites which will help bring more people through the door. Good luck!