Why making your restaurant website mobile-friendly is critical (and how to do it)

Sunny Stree

When you own or manage a restaurant you have not one, but two, pieces of valuable real estate. The first is clearly your store front, but the second is your website. Too often restaurants put 98% of their focus on the physical space and only 2% on their digital spaces. There’s no denying that the world is going mobile, with mobile surpassing desktops for the first time in global useage in 2016. How does that translate to restaurants? Easy. We have already discussed how 67% of potential restaurant goers read reviews before choosing their next lunch spot. Here are some other yummy statistics from a recent study:

  • 75% of smartphone users get their restaurant info while out and about
  • 65% are looking up places that are just a walk or a quick drive away
  • 66% are looking for directions, 51% a phone number to call
The golden number here though is this: 64% of people searching on mobile convert within one hour of the search. A conversion could mean a call, looking for directions, or walking through the door of your restaurant. What this all boils down to is that restaurant owners can’t ignore their digital real estate any longer. Here are some action items to help your website enter fully into the mobile age.

Action item #1: Make sure things are tap-able

The three things guests will be looking for on your website while on mobile is your phone number, menu, and locations. Above all else focus on these three things to start. If big thumbs will accidentally tap a different link, add a little extra padding between to help stop any frustration. To fix: Ensure your phone number is actually linked and will start a phone call when tapped on mobile. This is a pretty easy fix. If you’re on Wordpress, go to the “text” view of your page and make sure the number has this code around it: <ahref="tel:5555555555">555-555-5555 Do the same for your directions- does it link to a map? If not, follow these super simple directions. The key here is to help the guests along the necessary steps to eventually stepping through your doors! Make sure your menu is readable on mobile- see tips below!

Action item #2: Ensure your website is responsive

The quickest thing that will turn a potential customer away is if they can’t read your website. Make sure when your site is open on mobile it snaps to fit the screen and the user doesn’t have to zoom in or out in order to read the navigation or menu. Users are used to sleek and beautiful sites, and if yours is clunky or hard to use on a phone it’s all too easy to find another spot to dine for the evening. To fix: If you have a web developer on call, call them up and ask them to help make your site responsive. If you don’t have a web guru and are on Wordpress, look into buying a responsive template or making sure all your plugins are updated. If you don’t have a website yet, make sure whatever platform (Wordpress, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly) make responsiveness easy and automatic.

Action item #3: Test your site speed

Humans are growing more and more impatient. If a site takes longer than 3 seconds to load, they close the window and tap on another option. Time is money. If your website loads like it’s still connected to dial-up, it’s time to try and quicken up the pace. The quicker potential guests can skim over your menu and find your phone number and address, the better! To fix: Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool is your one stop shop for determining your speed. It will rate your website and tell you what to fix. Don’t panic if all you see is red. Some things are pretty easy to fix, like compressing your image files. If you’re on Wordpress make sure all your Plugins are updated and optimized (and bonus- this is a one click solution! Easy as pie!).
Your website is your second most valuable slice of real estate. Remember, 75% of users check out a restaurant on their phone before making their final decision. These three action items will help you harness the power of mobile users and get those people standing outside on the sidewalk skimming reviews to actually walk through the door.


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