Innovation in today's economy is leading restaurants to responsive web design as a way of adapting to consumers' digital shift.
Millions of consumers use their smartphones and tablets to search for restaurants, make buying decisions or leave reviews on social channels such as Yelp and Urbanspoon. These channels are parallel in the sense that they all link back to the restaurant's website. However, consumers also visit websites to make reservations and view menus or reviews to anticipate what to expect from a restaurant.
Therefore, the appearance of a website is imperative to catching viewers' attention. How does your website look on an iPhone, Google tablet or any other device? When consumers view a website using their mobile phone, they are typically in a rush and need information that's easy to read and navigate quickly. If they can't easily find what they are looking for (i.e. menu, reservation information, address, etc.) in a minute, they will simply exit the website and probably never come back. Even worse, they may look to your competitor who already adapted to a responsive web design.
With responsive design, your restaurant's website will seamlessly adjust to any screen size and resolution on any mobile device. Restaurants have generally created two separate websites; one for desktop computers and one for mobile devices, but with responsive design, businesses can build a website one time that works seamlessly across thousands of different screens.
According to the International Data Corp., worldwide desktop PC shipments will fall 4.3 percent this year, while portable PCs will grow slightly (0.9 percent). The tablet market, on the other hand, will reach a new high of 190 million shipment units, 48.7 percent more than last year, while smartphones will grow 27.2 percent to 918.5 million units.
That means more consumers are viewing your website through a device other than a desktop. In essence, it is time to get serious and adjust to the consumer digital shift. Responsive design is completely optimized for search engines and social networks, which is extremely important in driving new customers through the doors.
In addition to the social and search benefits, adapting a responsive web design will give a huge edge over your competitors. Very few restaurants have adapted to the new change, so offering an optimal browsing experience will set your business apart from others.
Andre Kay is CEO and chief marketing officer of Sociallybuzz, a company that provides social media management, campaigns and reputation management. Check out sociallybuzz.com for more information, and to see what responsive design looks like. To test it out, try making your browser window smaller. Images and content will shrink and the navigation bar will disappear. It can also be viewed from a tablet or smartphone to see the difference from device to device.