• http://twitter.com/svolinsky Slavik Volinsky

    Bryson, good post and I agree with you to some extent. Nationally-recognized chains can afford optimizing their “mobile experience.” However, for other mom-n-pop restaurants, auto shops, beauty salons, creating a website is an expense. Still, not 100% of them have an actual website and convincing them to create an additional mobile site wouldn’t fly (and it wouldn’t make a good business decision — optimizing experience of small % of traffic).
    I think responsive design really makes sense for small sites like family-owned restaurants. Not at an additional cost, but as an additional benefit to pick designer X over designer Y.
    Full site would still display info about the menu/location/hours, on the mobile site it can be easily emphasized using different CSS thru RWD.

  • http://www.brysonmeunier.com/ Bryson Meunier

    Slavik, thanks for your comments. Traffic-wise, search volume suggests that most restaurants without a web site at all would be better served by creating a mobile site than a desktop site, as there are 1.83 million monthly searches for [restaurants] on average from mobile devices and only 200k from desktops and laptops according to Google’s tool. You wouldn’t be optimizing the experience of a small percent of traffic then, but actually the majority of the traffic. A mobile first responsive web site could also work, but given that responsive web sites are generally more expensive than dedicated mobile sites, it would seem to make the most business sense for the restaurant to just focus their efforts on the mobile site. If there are cost issues, they would need to consider the cost benefit of making a site responsive versus focusing efforts on one dedicated mobile site. It could be that for many local businesses (and especially restaurants), the biggest return would be in investing in a dedicated mobile site.

    But you make a good point. Because these columns have a wider audience I’m usually focusing on the ideal rather than what makes sense with a specific business. Because of the difficulty of addressing audiences with separate goals with a responsive site, the ideal, or optimized, approach is to build a desktop and a dedicated mobile experience for businesses in this category. This is what most large organizations in this category have done. Companies will have to make individual decisions about whether this approach works with their budget and business goals.


  • http://adrielmichaud.com Adriel

    I agree with Slavik, for most mom and pop’s, responsive with prioritization of key elements based on device might do the trick just fine and keep you off of maintaining 2 separate sites. Combined with some decent local SEO, you’d do alright.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1213514796 Tina R Wells

    Bryson, I enjoyed your article.  It is tough to get people to understand that some content on a desktop site is not appropriate for mobile users.  Try telling a proud restaurant owner that every item (and their description) on his 300+ bottle wine list  doesn’t need to be on his mobile site!  Slavik, I can appreciate your comments as well.  Once we (Restaurant Sciences) completed the Restaurant Internet Marketing Study mentioned in Bryson’s post, we were surprised at how few independents had a desktop website.  Many of them are all aboard the Facebook bandwagon, which is great but it is not a substitute for a website (desktop or mobi) that shows up in search results.  Under our ThriveSpot brand we even offer free customizable, ad-free mobile websites to restaurants and are surprised at the number of folks who sign up that don’t have a desktop site on which to place a redirect code for mobile visitors.

  • http://twitter.com/IanBM Ian Bowen-Morris

    Very interesting post Bryson, I found it very insightful and relevant to our new venture, thanks.

    Our recent market research in the UK revealed similar finding on mobile searching for bars and restaurants as well as a bunch of other local service providers. We found a big gap between mobile user needs in terms of content and connectivity and what independent businesses and national chains are displaying. We concluded that the vast majority of SMBs and
    Professionals simply need an easy, quick and cheap way to present their
    services in a mobile-friendly way. Our new service http://www.telnames.com
    has laser like focus on this huge market opportunity, utilising .tel’s
    unique domain technology. For one small annual fee of just £14.95 ($24),
    in around 15 minutes businesses can choose their own top level domain,
    populate their single page with contact info. and rich profile content
    including map, photos, video link and coupon – and that’s it, they’ve
    created a very smart mobile optimised single page web presence.
    Everything is included – .tel name, smart page template, hosting – no
    hidden extras, no ads, and excellent usability for both mobile user and
    merchant self-set up. Everything is click to call, click to email etc,
    and all social media links can be added e.g. like this London fashion
    jeweller, http://youniquejewellery.tel/

    Businesses own and control their named place online which gets indexed
    in search and which they can promote everywhere – they are not a
    subordinate of somebody’s else’s site e.g. a sub-domain. Content updates
    take just a minute to complete. Telnames’ rapidly growing customer base
    does include Restaurants and Bars http://baffitos.tel/, as well as Life Coaches and Hypnotherapists http://hypnotherapy4life.tel/ – a wide spectrum of colourful Service Providers and Professionals as can be seen on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/telnames/our-customers-tel-names/

    We aim to quickly build on the positive reaction from the UK SMB
    market with global expansion either directly or via strategic partners
    especilally those focused on accelerating SMB mobilisation. Whether a restaurant has no web site at all or site that sucks when viewed from mobiles, a .tel from Telnames provides an excellent user experience – the result of exhaustive usability testing and in-depth research with 32 small businesses including restaurants and bars.  

    Kind regards, Ian http://ianbm.tel/

  • Dennis Brennan

    Great insights, thanks.  I don’t know why the hesitation on SMB’s on having a “Mobile Friendly” site, it’s not like they have to update it.

    As mentioned, only a few items are essential: phone #, location & hours.

    Explain to them it’s like their fax machine, set it and forget it…

  • http://twitter.com/PascalStolz PascalStolz

    Fascinating post and very much in line with our internal research at http://www.mymenuworks.com.  The company was founded on the very premise of the necessity of a mobile friendly presence for restaurateurs in a simple and cost effective way ($10/m).  There are other tremendous efforts in helping restaurants have a better digitized presence such as http://www.openmenu.org, singleplatform and others.  

    Interestingly enough while there is an abundance of clearly documented numbers based evidence until a “pain” is felt (i.e. customers complaining about their mobile presence) there is little urgency to add perceived complexity in their front-end marketing operations.  

  • http://twitter.com/IanBM Ian Bowen-Morris

    Very good post and kind of sums up the thinking behind .tel from Telnames  
    http://www.telnames.com/ which offers restaurants and other local businesses a quick, easy and inexpensive mobile-friendly presence e.g. 
    For one small annual fee ($24), SMBs get full control over updates and can add video, coupons etc. Telnames are designed with the needs of mobile users in mind and busy SMBs that need to get something good up and out there within minutes. 

  • IQ2

    So how does a business have a mobile website without having a desktop website to inbed the mobile URL code into it so that it can be found on the www? 

  • http://twitter.com/MarkETennant Mark E Tennant

    Kick a$$ article sir…..I love putting articles like this in front of biz owners, especially restaurants, bars, pizza places and auto repair shops….very cool read.

  • Peter

    I believe you can have both, tailoring to the needs of your different audiences and have a responsive site. See culvers.com is a fine example.