Your customers are getting mobile — but are you?
Most independent restaurants are falling behind when it comes to mobile technology. Only one in every 20 independent restaurants has its own mobile website, according to a study by Restaurant Science. And less than half of independent restaurants even have their menus available to view online.
If your business isn’t willing to adapt to mobile consumers’ needs, they are likely to jump ship. So what do you need to do to keep your existing customers and bring in new ones with mobile technology? Here are some of the top trends your restaurant should jump on before it’s too late.
Develop a mobile or mobile-optimized website
Many customers attempt to research restaurants while they’re on the go, using their smartphones and tablets. In order to help potential diners find out more about your business, develop a mobile version of your desktop website. If you haven’t yet launched a desktop site, when you’re ready to do so, you can focus on developing a mobile-optimized site that looks great regardless of how large your web browser is.
Make it easy for your customers to order online.
While simply posting a menu online is a great start, you can bring in more take-out orders by simplifying the ordering process for your customers. Instead of making them call in, offer online ordering, either through a custom app linked to your site, or through a third-party platform, such as EatStreet or GrubHub.
Provide customers with mobile payment options.
Cash and credit card are no longer the only payment choices for savvy customers. Increasingly, consumers are turning to mobile payment options such as Bitcoin, Dwolla and PayPal Here. By switching from a legacy terminal system to a flexible mobile point of sale tool like Instore, you can provide options for customers to pay whichever way they choose. This can also benefit you as a merchant, as alternate payment methods often have lower merchant fees than credit card providers do.
Build up your social media presence.
Many customers look up local restaurants on reviews sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor, and follow restaurants’ Facebook and Twitter accounts. Make sure to be where your customers are by developing profiles for your restaurant on each review site, and taking the time to read and respond to every review, whether positive or negative. Engaging with your fans through social media can also help you reach out to more local people in an authentic manner: Share photos of new dishes, announcements about upcoming events, and take the time to engage in simple conversation. Social media can help your customers get to know you as a person, making them more likely to support your independent business.
Image Credit: Garry Knight