Not a week goes by that I don't see one of my friends/contacts on Twitter complaining about the state of restaurant websites.
Poor usability and hard-to-find information are usually the big problems -- specifically, either the lack of a current menu or a menu that's only available in PDF form. That's a real problem because, according to a recent study, 80 percent of consumers want to see a menu before they eat at a restaurant, and 70 percent want to be able to read the menu on a mobile device. Menus are the number one thing that consumers want to find when they search for restaurants online.
Those stats come from a Constant Contact/Single Platform survey of 1,497 U.S. adult smartphone owners that was conducted in December 2012/January 2013.
In fact, beyond the menu availability issue, the study makes the case that there's no more important marketing channel for restaurants than local search. Consider:
- 81% of consumers surveyed have searched for a restaurant on a mobile app in the last 6 months
- 92% of those surveyed have searched for a restaurant on the web in the last 6 months
- 75% of consumers surveyed often choose a restaurant to dine at based on search results
- 84% of consumers look at more than one restaurant before choosing where to dine
According to the survey, consumers are searching for new restaurants more than they are any other industry, including entertainment, retail outlets, hotels, and personal services.
Keep in mind, too, that restaurant searchers are often searching for immediate gratification -- where should I eat now/tonight? That's not always the case (I was recently researching restaurants for a meal a couple weeks away), but there was a study last year that said 64 percent of mobile restaurant searchers convert within an hour.
There was a separate study also last year that said less than half of independent restaurants have a website. Pardon the pun, but that's a recipe for disaster.
If you're a restaurant owner, give us a try -- come out to one of our upcoming Local U workshops and let us help get you going in the right direction.