Restaurants that get mobile right!

According to a recent Search Engine Land article Why Restaurants & Other Local Businesses Need Mobile, “the keyword [restaurants near me] has almost 10,000 searches per month on desktop computers, but four times that on mobile devices.” The article also goes on to point out that desktop and mobile visitors have different end goals.

We applaud those independent and chain restaurants that understand that by having a separate mobile website they can take advantage of a minimalist mobile-design style. When you stop to ponder the mobile experience, it makes sense that mobile visitors for the most part are looking for basic information: a) [restaurants near me] b) the address of the restaurant and hours of operation c) the phone number and d) a mobilized version of the menu. A properly developed mobile website should link to the main website so visitors can review, for example, a restaurant’s extensive wine list. Speaking of an extensive wine list, the restaurant in the screenshot below features 106 wines. They opted to display a portion of their wine list to their mobile visitors. This restaurant also uses a modified mobile redirect script on their website which keeps tablet visitors on their desktop site instead of re-directing to the mobile format…smart operators!

In this next example, the restaurant displays typical menu offerings to their mobile visitors.

The restaurant and their patrons are both winners in this example. The restaurant operator is relieved of having to make regular updates to their menu and mobile visitors get just enough flavors for the culinary cuisine.

If you are thinking of a mobile website for your restaurant, there are plenty of no costs options available to restaurants that want to create a mobile website. A Google search on “mobile websites for restaurants” will provide a sufficient number of platforms to select from. When reviewing the various options available, consider that some of the “free options” take your main website content and re-purpose it in a mobilized format, adding ads to the footer area or header area of your website. You can pay a monthly fee to get an ad-free site with more functionality or look for alternative no cost options. Whichever platform you select as your mobile provider, remember what Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe adopted as his motto when describing minimalism: “less is more”. Keep this in mind when creating your mobilized menus and content.

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  • Excellent article.

    Within your mobile site an accurate link to map location is vital. Please don't lose a customer only because they could not find you. This goes for Facebook too, a majority of Restaurant Facebook or TripAdvisor pages don't link to an accurate location on Bing or Google maps. 

    I would tend to disagree that unless the food menu is a 80+ dish affair, you need to give a full representation of your menu, including price. This needs to be current too. Imagine the guests' disappointment on arrival, after seeing your menu online, to be told that was last month's menu. 

    The ability to make an immediate online reservation from mobile is a must.

    In US, already more than 30% visits to mobile friendly pizza websites, result in an immediate call to the business, presumably to order pizza. Incredible conversion ratio! Surely, similar success is achievable in terms of restaurant visits and online reservations from mobile friendly sites. Go MO!

  • Couldn't agree more - great info and so true! 

  • Ya know, this is a great article...thanks for bringing this solution to the forefront.  We have been an advocate for years on this much so, that We have introduced out Mobile Marketing all inclusive solution for Restaurants where we setup and make it one-click easy to get the word out...its easily our #1 add on service for restaurants...

    Thanks again Jon for the great article!

  • Excellent article on using mobile websites for restaurants. We also think SMS should be looked at as a mobile access tool. A restaurant can get a local text-capable "Twilio" phone number using an app like Mofans and then set-up keywords to allow users quick and easy access to info/urls. We have posted such a keyword example here - Would be nice if there could be standard keywords so people could text in COUPON or MAP or MENU or SPECIALS or WAIT to any restaurant's Twilio number.

  • Jon,

    Your article absolutely hits the nail on the head. Restaurant operators who understand the direct impact that mobile phones (and tablets) play in the lives of their customers and, thus, on their business are way ahead of the curve. Plus, the ones that present their operation on an easily navigated, clearly written mobile platform truly get it. There are very few things more frustrating than trying to pinch, push and poke through a restaurant website to simply read a menu or find a phone number. Google  and Google maps is okay..until you actually get to a site. Then the problems begin. I admire those operators who have auto linked a reformatted mobile platform so their customers can access the restaurant's website content in a logical and concise way. And you are right - it can be a free service from a variety of sources.


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