Fact: most restaurants don’t have a mobile website, which means they’re missing out on one of the most important tools for bringing in customers. Mobile sites help you rank higher in search engines and provide a better experience on the small screens of smartphones — which is a big deal when nearly 75% of consumers choose a restaurant based on search results. A mobile site isn’t so much a distinct website as it is a different skin for your existing desktop site; it makes the most important information from your website easy to see, read, and navigate on the go, with a larger text size and simplified layout and navigation.
At OpenTable, we offer customers a free, customizable mobile site through DudaMobile, a DIY mobile site builder for small businesses. We love that DudaMobile sites are easy to use and can auto-sync changes made to your desktop site, so things like happy hour promotions and image updates will automatically update to your mobile site in real-time.
If you don’t have a mobile site, now is the time to get one. And if you do, you’ll still benefit from these tips from the folks at Duda, the company behind our mobile site product. Here, they share eight features that should be on every mobile restaurant site and how to make the most of each one.
1. Click to Call. Don’t make customers hunt for the information they need. Make sure the click-to-call button is easily accessible so people can contact you easily with questions.
2. Business Hours. It sounds obvious, but make sure business hours are easy to locate and up to date on your mobile site. Otherwise, you could be missing sales from on-the-go customers who see that you’re closed and head in the opposite direction.
3. Mobile Maps. Don’t just put an address on your mobile site. Include a Mobile Maps feature, which will open up the smartphone’s GPS so customers can navigate to your business right away. Always make sure the location is accurate and up to date. Include any special instructions for parking near the map.
4. Reservations. If your restaurant accepts reservations, include this feature on your mobile website and make it easy to access. Visitors to the site can make a reservation with just the push of a button — simple!
5. Menu. According to Duda, 62% of consumers are less likely to visit a restaurant if they can’t read your menu on their device. Menus should be one of the first choices in your mobile website’s navigation. Duda recommends using a menu feature, which is easy to do if you have an existing Locu or Single Platform account. Just update the menu in your account, and it will automatically update the menu on your site. Don’t link to the menu as an image or PDF file — it’s frustrating for the customer.
6. Pictures. Just as you would on a desktop site, add great food photos to your mobile site for customers to scroll through (and make sure the photos are high quality).
7. About Page. While background stories are great for desktop sites, on-the-go customers aren’t looking for biographies. They are looking for answers to these questions: What type of food do you serve? Do you source local ingredients? Keep it short and sweet.
8. Social Media Icons. Duda recommends placing social icons at the bottom of your mobile site, such as in the footer. These sites can be helpful if a customer wants to see a review of your restaurant. But you can skip the “Follow Us” prompt — most of the people viewing your mobile site will either be new customers who have never visited or existing customers looking for new menu offerings or information about hours and location. They aren’t there to follow you.
As for everything else, like events and specials? Duda recommends nixing it. Hungry customers are looking for information fast — and if they can’t find it, they will move on.
Now that 2015 is here, resolve to make this the best year yet for your restaurant business. Every day this month we’ll be featuring a new tip from restaurateurs, chefs, and other industry leaders to shape up your marketing, operations, hospitality, and more. Check back daily for expert advice and successful strategies to start your year off right, and see them all here.