Mobile Matters

Recent research from digital marketing solutions company hibu found that 52% of US restaurant websites were mobile compatible for some smartphones.

While that number may seem impressive in an industry which has never been known for its early adoption of technology, considering that 81% of consumers searched for restaurant websites through their mobile devices last year prior to making a dining decision, it’s not impressive enough.

Having a mobile compatible website has become an imperative for restaurants, but the cost and logistics involved in implementing a website which is compatible not only with the most used smartphones, but also tablets for which ownership in the US has doubled in the past twelve months, can be prohibitive.

To combat this, restaurants have been turning to social media and sites such as Yelp.com to post their menus online and ensure they capture their share of the mobile-consumer market. The issue they face however are the added logistics of managing multiple, location-specific menus, online, and just as importantly, keeping them up-to-date and in line with their brand parameters.

In a perfect world to not only capture new customers’ but also increase their brand awareness, perception, and value in the market, restaurants should offer consumers mobile compatible websites and menus, viewable on multiple device types. Considering that of the 52% of restaurants who had mobile compatible websites, only 21% of those were viewable on tablets based on hibu’s research, that perfect world may take some time to materialize.

In the meantime, restaurants need to find avenues to meet the two primary demands from mobile consumers: a branded, up-to-date menu which reflects the brand experience and is consistent across every platform upon which it is posted, and the restaurant’s location and telephone number.

Without at least these basic consumer demands for mobile accessibility being met, restaurant operators will see potential customers head to their more mobile-friendly competitors.