I needed to book a table for a good friend’s birthday. I did a bit of preliminary research and picked up the phone. However, I did not use it to enter a telephone number. Rather, I opened up that restaurant’s app, which had a direct link to OpenTable. I made my reservation through there. Because I was the one who physically entered the details of the reservation, I knew there would be no mistakes due to human error. I even got a confirmation message so I knew that the restaurant was also on board.
After I finished this, I was struck by a thought: even though I regularly write and research on mobile topics, strategies and trends, I was somewhat bewildered by just how natural the mobile reservation process was. Just two years ago I would’ve been dialing in to the restaurant, waiting while someone checked schedules and took my information over the phone. That would have felt like the safe bet, rather than turning to an app that may or may not be proven. In two years time, my view has completely shifted.
At this point, many people expect a mobile presence from businesses of any type. While online businesses were the first to gain the most direct mobile-driven revenue, restaurants and other forms of brick-and-mortar businesses have been looped into the fold. At this point, it would feel somewhat strange to me if a business didn’t have some sort of mobile integration, even if it is simply a mobile-optimized menu shared through Yelp!. A mobile offering today is what credit card readers were years ago. It will soon seem downright bizarre if a restaurant can’t take a mobile reservation or showcase a menu easily to mobile customers.