5 mobile mistakes to avoid on your restaurant's website

May 9, 2014
5 mobile mistakes to avoid on your restaurant's website

Brian Casel

Founder, Restaurant Engine

Are you taking advantage of the benefits that mobile marketing can offer your restaurant? If so, how is it working for you? Is it helping you bring in more customers, or are you still waiting to see the results?

Many restaurant owners have realized the value that a mobile website offers for their business. However, there are still those who haven't yet jumped on the mobile marketing bandwagon — or they aren't making proper use of this type of marketing. Are you one of them?

Whether you are using mobile marketing, or you haven't started yet, here is a look at 5 mobile mistakes that you need to avoid on your restaurant's website:

1. Not Having a Mobile Site

The biggest mistake restaurant owners can make when it comes to mobile marketing is not having any mobile website at all.

Consider the following statistics regarding mobile use, and if you aren't making use of a mobile website, there is no doubt that you will be wondering why:

  • In the year 2014, it is predicted that people will use their mobile devices more than they use their desktops to use the Internet.
  • As of 2012, 166 million Americans were smartphone owners.
  • 4 out of 5 shoppers use their smartphones to make purchases.

What do these statistics mean to your restaurant? It means that mobile devices are quickly becoming the primary way that customers will find you. If don't have a mobile website, you stand to lose a lot of potential business.

2. Separate Mobile and Desktop Sites

Having two separate website designs — one for desktop and one for mobile activity — can impact your success. Instead, you should take advantage of responsive web design.

What is responsive web design? It is an approach to website design that responds to the device that a user is using to view a website. A site that features a responsive design will adjust to the screen size, orientation and the platform that a user is viewing the site on. In other words, the site will seamlessly adjust to use on different mobile devices and on desktops.

3. Using Flash

Under no circumstances should you have a Flash website.

A Flash site has definite disadvantages that can greatly impact the success of your restaurant, especially in regard to your mobile website usability. Why? Well, Flash websites can't be accessed on mobile devices because they don't support Flash. This means that mobile users won't be able to view your website from their mobile device. At all.

Also, Flash websites are difficult or even impossible for search engines like Google to crawl and index. If the search engines can't see or understand the content on your site they won't be able to rank you for your relevant keywords.

If you have a Flash website you're likely missing out on traffic from mobile users and search engine users.

4. Non-Visible Contact Information and Addresses

If your contact information or your address isn't easily visible from your mobile site, how do you expect anyone to be able to find your restaurant? If you want your potential customers to find your restaurant, you have to make sure your contact information and address is visible.

The best recommendation is to include your information, including your address, on every page in the footer of your website. This is a common place for contact information so your website visitors will quickly be able to see how to find you and search engines will find the info as well and they'll list it properly in search results.

5. Having a PDF Menu

If you have a PDF menu, this could pose definite problems. Your customers will have to navigate away from your site, and they'll have to open up a separate PDF document, which means that they either have to zoom in or strain their eyes to read it. This isn't exactly the best user experience.

And again, PDF menus can be difficult for search engines to index. The engines have gotten better and do rank some PDFs now, but web-based menus are still a better option. They're easier for people to use and when you share menu items on social media from web-based menus the social sites will pull in rich information like the image, description and more.

If any of these points apply to your restaurant, you are probably in need of guidance for proper mobile website design and function. We can help you design a mobile site that will allow you to reach more customers, improve their experience with your site and increase your business.

These are some of the common mistakes we see with restaurant websites. Did we miss any? We want to hear your tips in the comments!

Image: hobvias sudoneighm

Brian Casel is the founder of Restaurant Engine, a website design solution for restaurants. Get a free Restaurant Website Checklist on the Restaurant Engine Blog. Email Casel at brian@restaurantengine.com.

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