A study published by RetailMeNot, Inc. on May 16 showed that, if you use your smartphone to hunt down deals before dining out, you're not alone. Nearly one-third of consumers say that they've used a deal they found online or on their mobile device at a restaurant over the past three months.

"As consumers are increasingly turning to their mobile devices for help with their dining choices, it is imperative that restaurants market to diners via mobile," said Marissa Tarleton, chief marketing officer in North America for RetailMeNot, Inc. "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. When done well, mobile has the ability to drive more diners through their doors and keep them coming back for more."

The primary reasons why restaurant patrons utilize their mobile devices is to find a restaurant location (53 percent), browse a menu (49 percent) and research new venues (37 percent). Consumers between the ages of 25 and 34 are more likely to research restaurants on their phone than any other age group.

Additionally, 25 percent of diners who participated in the survey claim they had at least one restaurant-specific mobile app on their smartphone. This number significantly increases to 68 percent among individuals who dine out between eight and 10 times per week.

Then, of course, there is what happens after diners get to the restaurant. About two-thirds of respondents say that they use their mobile device after they're seated. Thirty-two percent do so to take a photo, 19 percent do it to check up on social media and 19 percent use their phone to look for online deals. Eight percent use their phone to pay for a meal, while 16 percent look up nutritional information while dining.

In general, consumers appear to be actively turning to their mobile devices to take advantage of deals in the restaurant industry. About 81 percent admitted to looking up deals for meals on a regular basis. On top of that, 80 percent are more likely to try a new restaurant if it's offering a promotion, highlighting the power of mobile marketing.

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