A mobile-optimized menu is no longer a nice thing to have. Today, it’s a must. That’s a key takeaway from a recent survey done by retailmenot.com, a marketplace for digital offers.
Why is mobile so crucial? In its poll of more than 1,000 consumers, the firm found that half (49 percent) of them scrutinize menus before settling on a restaurant.
Consumers rely on their mobile devices for other restaurant-related research prior to dining out, including finding a restaurant location (53 percent) and checking out new restaurants (37 percent).
It’s no surprise that younger consumers rely on mobile the most. Those aged 25 to 34 are more likely to research new restaurants on their smartphone than any other age group; 60 percent of them say they use phones for that purpose.
When it comes to apps, one in four consumers say they have at least one restaurant-specific mobile app on their devices. Interestingly, only 13 percent use apps like OpenTable or Yelp to explore new dining options. Frequent diners are most likely to use mobile apps: Among people who dine out 8 to 10 times a week, more than two-thirds (68 percent) use a restaurant-specific mobile app.
For restaurants that offer deals to pull in business, mobile is a powerful tool to reach an audience. Nearly a third of those in the study said they’ve taken advantage of a restaurant promotion they found online or on their phone in the last three months. That figure rises among high earners: 46 percent of diners who earn $150,000 or more per year have used an online or mobile coupon at a restaurant in the past three months. And 80 percent of survey respondents said they would be likely to try a new eatery if it offered a deal.
The survey also showed differences among various age and location demographics. Among people in urban areas, those aged 45 to 54 were most likely to have used a deal found online or their smartphone, more than any other age group. In suburban areas, 25- to 34-year-olds use these deals the most.
Clearly, mobile and restaurants were made for each other. “Mobile marketing technology is a powerful medium when it comes to serving up the right dining content, in the right location, at the right time,” says Marissa Tarleton, chief marketing officer, North America, for RetailMeNot.
Once they’re in a restaurant, the phone remains active. Nearly two-thirds of diners will use their smartphones for a variety of tasks, including photos, (32 percent) checking social media (19 percent) and searching for online deals (19 percent). Other tasks include browsing reviews (17 percent), looking up nutritional information (16 percent) and paying for a meal via mobile (8 percent).
The survey results explore digital savings and mobile habits among restaurant patrons, as well as general habits related to dining out and spending.