By Pavel Konoplenko
It’s no secret that mobile devices are changing the way people of all ages shop, work, and live. The mobile revolution has also affected the way we go out and eat, highlighted by the widespread use of apps like Yelp, Foursquare, and Foodspotting. However, the effect on the restaurant industry runs deeper than just app use; customer behavior is drastically changing as they are becoming more dependent on using mobile devices to decide where to go, what to eat, and how to share their experience.
According to a recent study, the restaurant industry is the most often searched by mobile phone users. The study, conducted by research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey and SinglePlatform at Constant Contact, found that within the last six months, 81 percent of survey respondents had searched restaurant information through a mobile site and 92 percent had reviewed restaurant information through a web browser.
This makes it more important than ever for a restaurant to have an online presence that can be easily found through Google. As smartphone usage continues to grow, more people are searching from their smartphones when they’re out looking for a place to eat. To capitalize on these customer behaviors, it’s important that customers find your business and other relevant information they’re looking for.
The study also reports that 75 percent of those who searched for restaurant information said that their final decision of where to dine was based on the results returned for their search. This news could have significant implications for the restaurant industry; restaurants that ignore their online and mobile presence do so at the risk of having their restaurant fall behind the competition and lose out on customers.
Every restaurant that is interested in attracting business needs to have a mobile-optimized site that is submitted to local directories. Since 80 percent of consumers believe that looking at the menu before choosing where to dine is important, restaurants that do not have an up-to-date menu available for viewing online are at a competitive disadvantage. 84 percent of those polled stated that they will generally look at the websites of more than one restaurant before making their final decision. If they cannot read the menu of the restaurant on a mobile device, 64% of respondents said that they would be less likely to choose that restaurant.
It is important for restaurants to also have a social network presence so that pertinent information about the restaurant can be found through the customers’ favorite sites. Individuals who use their smartphones to access information about restaurants also tend to share their location and activities with their friends over social networks. Having a strong social network presence allows the business to join in on any conversation regarding their business and help further spread the word-of-mouth.
The digital and mobile age have changed how people interact with each other and with businesses. For restaurants in particular, attracting customers means conveniently delivering information about your restaurant on the channel they’re searching. This means that a strong mobile and social presence are a must for restaurants to thrive in today’s age.