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Are Restaurants missing out when it comes to their mobile strategy?

14 March 2015


From our Co-Founder – @SteveLowy

As a chap who travels a lot for work, I realised on a recent visit to the States how much I could actually use Google Maps to enhance a trip when it came to finding a perfect place to eat.

The Google Maps App was visited by 43.2% of all mobile users in the USA in January 2015, (69% visit the Facebook App) which is a huge volume of potential traffic for restaurants (Stats: ). A few months ago, Google Maps added the “near you” feature to the app, on which the first type of business search is restaurants; and that was exactly how I found some amazing places to eat whilst I was on a business trip in America, by looking at how close a restaurant was, what its Google Rating was and reading some reviews, all solely via Google Maps. Although Foursquare offers a similar facility, the volume of users on that app has waned, and Facebook offers an option where you can see if friends have eaten or been in the same area before, it is not (yet!) quite as helpful as the Google maps offering.


To top this useful service off, the app directed me to the place I had chosen (and in some places allowed my to book an Uber). One thing I did find annoying about the process was that when I clicked to visit the restaurant website, (if they had actually linked to their website on their Google Maps profile) is that it didn’t work on my mobile device. I wanted to check menus and prices but it was generally really clunky and unresponsive to my mobile device.

TripAdvisor is another app that I have used to good effect when looking for places “on the fly” to eat at. Their stats are equally impressive when it comes to mobile searches for restaurants. They have over 2.4 million restaurants listed worldwide and over 50% of their traffic is accessed via a mobile. Again, when clicking on restaurant website links, so many don’t give the essentials; map, phone number (one click via mobile) and the menu.

With Tripadvisor, they also offer an offline city guide which means the shift is the onto the restaurateur to make sure their Tripadvisor profile is managed as opposed to their website as such. These sorts of “offline” apps are increasingly popular, and wiIl be until international data roaming becomes more reasonably priced.

I think that this is essential for all restaurateurs and bar owners. With there being more mobile phones than people in the UK (although only 45 million or so are Smart Phones - )and 4G (soon to be 5G) making mobile search more and more prevalent, having a proper mobile-focused presence could make the difference between a profitable night for the restaurant and a quiet one. With Google Maps now part of the make up in cars like Tesla, the Google Maps Business profile is essential for restaurants to get maximum exposure, alongside keeping an eye on their ratings.In addition, there are more demands on our time these days and if people can’t find a menu relatively quickly then they are unlikely to keep hunting around, they will just look at a local competitor. Connecting a Google Maps profile with a website that is fully responsive and easy to use on mobile devices is essential to get those last minute, impulsive eaters and drinkers that can really boost the bottom line.



Pokusevskis – fully responsive website with great food photography


Steve Lowy is a former restaurant manager & now works with hospitality businesses to both improve their online presence, as well as understanding trends in hospitality marketing.

Visit Umi Digital at the Northern Restaurant and Bar Show in Manchester – 17th & 18th March 2015 – Stand 8

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