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Last month I wrote a comparison of how the UK’s favourite restaurants are performing on mobile, this month I’m going to take the same test to the streets of London.
Having a mobile optimised site is an absolute must for driving the peckish smartphone wielding pedestrian through your doors.
Whether it’s a separate mobile-site, a responsively designed site or an adaptive one, if you want to capture the attention of the empty stomach as it angrily roams the streets in need of an empty table, then you have to provide a decent mobile presence.
Other restaurants may not necessarily be better than yours, but will they will beat you in the dinner rush if your website remains in its desktop form.
You don’t need a fully featured work of creative genius, just a simple, functional, easy-to-read, easy-to-navigate site that puts the most vital information to the fore.
Personally I believe the most necessary information or features that a restaurant’s mobile site should provide are as follows:
- Mobile optimised.
- Accurate location-based services.
- Ability to reserve a table online.
- Opening times.
- Easily viewable menu (strictly no PDFs).
It’s on the above basis that I’ll be taking a look at London’s favourite restaurants and seeing which one serves up the tastiest mobile experience.
Scores out of 10 are based on my own opinion and don't reflect the quality of the restaurant itself.
Mobile optimised: an unfussy and characteristically dark adaptive website, providing options from a single hamburger menu (double-pun!)
Accurate location-based services: the address is slightly hidden in the ‘contacts’ section, so not immediately obvious, but there is thankfully a link to Google Maps.
Ability to reserve a table online: as per standard hipster-eatery requirements, you can’t book a table for MEATliquor, you just have to queue. However you can reserve a table in its Hoxton branch MEATmission, although there are no online links for you to to do this.
Click-to-call: there is no phone number listed at all, never mind a click-to-call one.
Opening times: easily accessible from the main menu, in fact it’s the second option. Unfortunately the grey on black text does little to render it legible.
Easily viewable menu: the most heinous crime of all when it comes to encouraging new customers: the PDF menu.
Mobile optimised: London based steak restaurant chain Hawksmoor has received a lot of love on the blog for its great digital and social strategy. As far as mobile is concerned, Hawksmoor runs a separate mobile page from its desktop one.
The newest entry at the top has obviously become misaligned thanks to a coding hiccup, but all the requisite information seems to be present.
Accurate location-based services: a Google map is a single click away from the home page.
Ability to reserve a table online: again, the booking link is a single click away from the home page. Bookings are taken care of by third party OpenTable. It’s fully mobile optimised, quick has large colourful CTAs and takes little effort. Plus you don’t have to register with the site, it just needs your name, number and email address.
Click-to-call: again, available directly from the home page.
Opening times: here’s way information takes a turn for the hidden. Opening times are not immediately obvious from the home page neither are there links to the specific branches.
Easily viewable menu: same with the opening times, the menu isn’t accessible from the mobile page. You have to click on a link at the bottom of the page which says ‘go to main page’ which then takes you to the standard, non-mobile-optimised desktop site, where you can pinch and zoom you way to the other bits of information.
Basically this is great for people on the go who know exactly what they’re getting in advance and just want to book a table and fast. The non-regular may be frustrated at the difficult to access information. So close!
Mobile optimised: for a comparison to Hawksmoor, here’s London’s other steak restaurant chain perhaps better known outside the capital…
Accurate location-based services: none.
Ability to reserve a table online: nope.
Click-to-call: of course not.
Opening times: if you want to squint.
Easily viewable menu: see above.
Mobile optimised: a gorgeous and bright separate mobile experience, with clear navigation and bold CTAs. The first thing it presents you with is location based services, knowing that you’ll probably be out and about.
Accurate location-based services: the integrated Google Map within the ‘find your nearest location’ is a lovely thing.
Whilst the Google Map integrated within each branch’s page is also very easy to access.
Ability to reserve a table online: you can’t reserve tables at Wahaca unfortunately.
Click-to-call: there’s no click-to-call, but at least a number is present on each branch’s page.
Opening times: can easily be found on the individual branch page.
Easily viewable menu: excellently presented menus, clearly navigable with accurate pricing.
Burger & Lobster
Mobile optimised: an adaptive website, that is as simple as it gets, despite the artistic flourishes.
Accurate location-based services: by tapping on a branch, and assuming you’ll know yourself which is currently closest to you, various bits of info are presented.
It’s not terribly legible and also works on the desktop assumption that underlined text is a clickable link. If you tap on the address, a Google Map will open.
Ability to reserve a table online: you’ll have to call to reserve a table. And find five friends.
Click-to-call: yes, although very fiddlely to accurately tap.
Opening times: present, but badly formatted.
Easily viewable menu: nope. The menu is in the name. However the pricing could be stated somewhere on the site.
Mobile optimised: look at this for a pure mobile web experience…
Accurate location-based services: Google Maps are a simple tap away.
Ability to reserve a table online: Dishoom doesn’t take reservations, but there is at least a phone number present.
Click-to-call: presented directly on the home screen.
Opening times: again presented directly on the home screen.
Easily viewable menu: and this is where Dishoom becomes unstuck. A depressingly unreadable Pdf.
Mobile optimised: the best one of the lot...
Accurate location-based services: everything you need to find them or contact them is right there on one screen, just a single click away.
Ability to reserve a table online: in a very easy to use in-house form.
Click-to-call: one click away.
Opening times: easily viewable on the individual branch screen.
Easily viewable menu: yet again, the experience is ruined by the wretched Pdf.
Vegetarian hall of shame
Unfortunately I’ve struggled to find a good mobile experience for any vegetarian or vegan restaurants. Grain Store and Vanilla Black don’t have any mobile mobile presence whatsoever.
Mildred’s on the other hand has a mobile site, but it is quite possibly one of the most glitch riddled and poorly navigable sites I’ve ever experienced.