Is a Mobile Website on Your Restaurant’s Menu?
No matter whether consumers are searching on a mobile device or on the desktop, chances are they’re looking for information on nearby restaurants. The restaurant vertical leads all other local search categories both on mobile and online across the AT&T YP Local Ad Network, which spans 18 million advertiser listings nationwide and generates over 2 billion searches each year. AT&T adds that more than 30 percent of all YP network searches now originate via smartphone or tablet, with markets like Kansas City, Atlanta, Oklahoma City and Madison, Wisc., experiencing year-over-year mobile local search growth in excess of 100 percent.
Corresponding Google data indicates that mobile search access is especially vital to consumers when the pressure is on: No less than 62 percent of all searches for national chain restaurants this past Valentine’s Day originated on mobile devices, and in all, mobile searches for restaurants increased 359 percent in the week leading up to the February 14 holiday.
“These trends around restaurant-related searches make sense when we think about the unique properties of our phones and how we use them in our daily lives,” wrote Google Mobile Ads Marketing execs Dai Pham & Samantha Podos Nowak on the digital services giant’s blog. “They are in our pockets and at our fingertips in that last-minute frenzy; they are location-aware, and they can, though we sometimes forget these days, make phone calls!”
What doesn’t make sense is the staggering number of restaurants without a mobile website. New data from restaurant industry information and analytics provider Restaurant Sciences reveals that fewer than one in eight full-service restaurant chains and less than one in 20 independently owned full-service eateries maintain a mobile-optimized site. Many independent restaurants still have no digital presence at all, Restaurant Services adds.
“Lack of web presence in today’s digital world has extended negative consequences, not only from the point of view of not attracting consumers searching online but, in addition, many online sites, including location-based-services, social media, and menu aggregators, use an existing website to gather and pass along information they find,” the Restaurant Internet Marketing Study states. “Restaurants without a web presence are not able to benefit from this online amplification.”
The Restaurant Internet Marketing Study acknowledges the obvious: Chains have greater resources to dedicate to building and managing websites, mobile sites, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, and can extend those efforts across multiple locations at once.
Independents must dedicate as much time and energy as their corporate rivals but lack comparably deep pockets. But the reality is that even if independent restaurants can’t afford to roll out more aggressive mobile marketing efforts like geo-targeted deals or loyalty programs, they can afford a basic mobile site incorporating their current menu, hours of business, location and map information, and click-to-call capabilities: Google and web design firm DudaMobile offer template and hosting services priced as low as $9 per year.
More to the point, independent restaurants can’t afford to not have a mobile website—a growing number of consumers looking for somewhere to eat are looking on mobile, and you’re either on or off their menu of choices.
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