Another case for small restaurants to embrace mobile Web, apps

Almost two-thirds of consumers responding to a January 2013 survey have used their smartphone or tablet to place an online food order.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

If your small restaurant or food service business hasn't added a mobile Web site or mobile application, it might want to rethink that strategy.

At least two-thirds of consumers responding to a recent survey have used their smartphone or tablet computer to place an online order for either pick-up or delivery, according to data collected in January by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and interactive media company Viggle.

Mind you, many of these orders were for food from big brand-name food services companies: about half of the 573 respondents indicated that they have downloaded at least one restaurant-specific app, such as those developed by Chili's, McDonald's or Pizza Hut. A slightly higher percentage (55 percent) are using a "multi-restaurant" app, such as Yelp, Urbanspoon and Zagat.

The food type makes a difference. Pizza was the hands-down winner, with sandwiches/burgers and Chinese food a distant second, the survey found.

"This research highlights the fact that the mobile Internet is increasingly becoming a vital tool to help consumers navigate their everyday lives - even when it comes to simple tasks such as ordering a pizza," said Anna Bager, vice president and general manager, Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, for IAB, commenting on the research. "Restaurant and fast-food chain marketers should pay close attention to this trend and take advantage of the opportunities that mobile offers, making it a key part of their ad-buying strategy."

At the very least, in my opinion, small food service businesses should look more closely at their own mobile profile or they could find themselves missing out on a big transition.

For some resources related to taking your company mobile (either through a mobile-optimized Web site or a mobile app), here are some of the past articles that I've written about this topic:

4 more mobile app development resources for small businesses
14 DIY mobile app development resources for small businesses
Make the most of your mobile Web site

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