Every Friday, my group of friends and I go out for dinner. We recently deemed this get-together “Italian Food Friday”. Working in Manhattan and living in Brooklyn, we have endless restaurant options. Sometimes, we choose a place based of a word-of-mouth recommendation, but more frequently, we fall into the 17.7% of consumers who search “Italian restaurant near me” and depend on the result of our favorite search engine. When this millennial needs to pick a restaurant, this is how I do it:
Step 1: Search Engines
When I start my search for a restaurant, my first step is a search engine. When the results come in, I focus on the websites closest to the top of my screen. I will typically hone in on the first three results. The more information available on these listings, the more likely the restaurant is to be on my short-list of dining options. I want to see the location, the hours, and the menu.
Step 2: Review Sites
My group, like many in today’s market, has many eating restrictions based on both dietary restrictions and picky eaters, so further investigation must be done. Reviews sites, my favorites being Yelp and TripAdvisor, are a great resource to get a feel for other people’s experiences. Does the food look good in the pictures? Are their many complaints of poor service? What’s on their menu? These are the questions I ask myself as I peruse these sites. A few restaurants will be be eliminated from the running during this step.
Step 3: The Restaurant’s Website
If the review sites were positive, I will go to the restaurant’s website. I use my smartphone for this step so I can easily text a screenshot of the menu to my friends. If a restaurant’s mobile site isn’t optimized for my smartphone, I won’t suggest the restaurant to my friends, opting for competitors who have invested in mobile-optimization.
Step 4: The Decision
Before making a decision, 89% of consumers research a restaurant, and my friends and I are no exception. Last week, before choosing a restaurant, four out of the six of us had looked up the restaurant’s menu before casting our vote for where to dine. Now, more than ever, it is important for local businesses to focus on their online presence to attract potential customers, or they might loose out on a group of Italian food enthusiasts on a Friday night adventure.