Mobile customers want to eat too

jason1

A few weeks ago, after another busy morning, I got out of a meeting and searched for nearby restaurants in Google. I found several that looked promising in the results but, frustratingly, none of their websites would open on my phone. In the end, I had to walk around and choose one manually which took a lot longer than my stomach would have liked!

And this got me thinking (and walking), what can a restaurant do to use the internet in the most effective way? What do their customers want?

1. They probably want to see what food is available, look at the menus, check if they are open and find out how to get there. One problem for restaurant owners, however, is that they need to be able to edit the site content whenever they want, e.g. adding daily specials to the menu.

2. A large proportion of the customers are probably traveling or mobile so the website needs to work on their phones.

3. Impression is everything so the perception they get from the website will influence their decision on where to eat.

So when I got contacted recently by DeFlorentijnen to help update their restaurant website and internet strategy, we were pretty close to already having the entire solution and plan for them. The only downside was that they wanted the site in Flash!

 

manfred3

The traditional method for Flash is to hardcode it all or use some sort of XML or JSON mechanism to fetch content. Hardly user friendly. And it wouldn't work on your phone!!!

What you really need is a CMS.... But adding a CMS site to a custom designed flash site would bump up the costs significantly since it's essentially two sites instead of one...

jason1

After researching several competitors, we discovered that there was a specific, "elegant" look and feel that was required. Luckily, I found an off-the-shelf Flash template that the customer loved and that had the right design and structure. All we had to do was modify it slightly and add some additional forms. Much quicker and easier than designing the whole thing from scratch.

manfred1

Saving on development of the Flash site means we can slide in a CMS. However, it would have to be able to serve flash content now and also mobile content later.

Joomla and Drupal aren't that good at serving up XML... but the ModX CMS can do that fine using a combination of plugins!

jason1

The site is live now and we're carefully monitoring Google Analytics to confirm our assumptions and to measure the effectiveness of the customer's on- and offline marketing efforts. I also plan to work with them on the mobile version as soon as the site is launched. They are in a high tourist area so it makes a lot of sense for them to capture the mobile audience.

Do you use your phone to look at websites of Restaurants or other places of business? Are you frustrated by sites that don't display properly on your phone or tablet?

 

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