Smartphones and tablets are changing the way we live our lives, so it stands to reason that mobile phones are also having a profound effect on the restaurant industry.
One way mobile phones affect your restaurant is through simple digital awareness. Have you ever wondered how many customers use mobile devices to find restaurants?
It seems that well over 80% of customers have searched for a restaurant on their smartphone. This means that your potential diners are looking for you online often and regularly.
In fact, customers search for restaurants on their mobile phones more than anything else.
Now that we’ve established people are looking for your restaurant on their mobile devices in vast numbers, let’s look at what information they hope to find.
One of the top mobile restaurant activities occurs as people start looking for your phone number so they can call you.
Customers are either checking on reservations, finding out more info about you, or ordering take-out.
It’s vital that you provide your customers easy access to your restaurant’s phone number on your mobile website. This is the last phase of your diner’s path to your restaurant, and it should be an easy one.
Another top item your customers are looking for on mobile devices is your address and/or directions to your restaurant.
One of the top mobile searches, “restaurants near me,” should land visitors on your website with not only your phone number front and center but your address as well.
Worth noting is that a great number of mobile restaurant searchers are looking for restaurants within walking or driving distance.
Mobile devices shape the way you do business with your customers, and phones shape your customer’s dining experience.
Consumers are visiting your website from their phones to view your menu and look for new items in the case of returning visitors.
They are also looking for prices and as we mentioned earlier, any specials.
Often, they’re looking for your online ordering system as well. They may want to pick it up, have it delivered, or pre-order so they don’t have to wait when they get there.
Everything today is instantaneous. You can make a reservation at the push of a button, and you can get just about anything you want immediately.Because of the instant nature of the smartphone, you can count on last minute reservations if you take them.
Gone are the days when people called several days, even weeks ahead. You may be stressed out to have no Friday evening reservations to finding out you have a full house scheduled by 7 pm.
So, not only can they learn about your restaurant with great speed, but they can make a reservations quickly as well. Just be prepared to handle all of these last minute bookings.
We live in the digital information age, and this means your customers don’t have to wait to talk to friends and family to find out if your restaurant was good.
They can hit the internet, and they are doing this on their mobile devices.
Reviews on sites such as Google, Facebook and Yelp give everyone a voice, and the internet is listening.
Positive online reviews have a major impact on whether diners choose you or move on to the competition.
In fact, restaurant goers look at online reviews on a regular basis. They want to know more abut your food and your service. They also want to do a double check on your restaurant’s cleanliness.
Diners will try a new restaurant based solely on positive online reviews. And, it’s a given that Millennials are the most likely to look at online reviews before deciding where to eat because the opinions of others matter a lot to this group.
Ask for reviews often and regularly. With many table ordering and payment systems, you can gain the review before customers ever leave your table. You can also ask for reviews on your website and in your email marketing.
Monitor your reviews regularly. If in a week you have 9/10 positive reviews, you know you’re doing good. If you suddenly see a drop and are getting more negative reviews than positive ones, it’s time to address your food, your service, and your restaurant as a whole.
Best practices are also in play when it comes to reviews. Positive and negative reviews both need your attention. Respond in a timely fashion to every review.
Be sure and thank the positive reviews in an affirming, thoughtful manner.
When it comes to negative reviews, do your research so you have both sides of the story. Then, you can come up with a response. Be kind and empathetic. Offer a solution. And always apologize if the problem was caused by you.
You can also bet that customers are using their mobile devices to find coupons to your restaurant.
In fact, if people are searching for a place to eat, most of them are going to look for a special.
Online deals will drive consumers to your door by encouraging them to try something new. A special can be the final trigger for a potential customer.
Finally, because your customers are making reservations, ordering and checking in to your restaurant on their mobile phones, you now have a great deal of analytics at your fingertips.
You can see when most people make reservations or order online. You can see how different parts of the year affect your business.
Finally, with digital data, you can craft online marketing campaigns to the mobile users in your area looking for a place to eat.
Your customers hit their mobile devices before deciding where to eat because it’s convenient. Their phones do the leg work for them.
They can find your phone, address, and menu and look at your reviews all without leaving their chair.
Because smartphones are key to the dining experience for mobile users, you want to ensure that your website is mobile friendly, you’ve tested it on your own smartphone, and it provides the most important information to customers up front in an easy-to-navigate manner.
At Restaurant Engine, not only do we create great, responsive websites, but you can count on us to create a website that drives business to all your restaurants and edges you above the competition by using mobile-friendly design with a terrific user experience. Ready to take the plunge and create a website with an online menu, blog and beautiful photos? Get your free website consultation today!