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Tool for restaurants makes menus iPhone-ready


Between five and 20 percent of the traffic visiting the average restaurant’s website does so from a mobile phone, meaning that the PDF menus offered by so many establishments are typically not viewable. Whereas companies like Blue Shoe Mobile Solutions are tackling that problem with custom, branded iPhone apps for every restaurant, Ohio-based Mobile Hunger is taking a different approach by offering a web-based tool that simply converts a restaurant’s menu into a mobile-ready site with native interaction. Restaurateurs interested in using Mobile Hunger’s free service begin by entering their menus, menu categories and individual items. Mobile Hunger then converts that information into a site that’s viewable by iPhone and iPod. There’s no need for customers to learn another web address, because Mobile Hunger automatically redirects mobile users to the new mobile site; there’s also no need to convince users to download and use a custom app. Restaurateurs, meanwhile, can take advantage of analytics tools, photo galleries, social networking links, Google Maps and fully customizable colours to match their brand and logo. They also gain the ability to reach customers who use apps like Open Table, Urban Spoon, Four Square, Gowalla, Yelp and more. Once Mobile Hunger gains traction with its basic, free service for iPhone and iPod, it plans to offer a suite of paid upgrades such as support for other mobile devices—including Blackberry and Windows Mobile—as well as detailed analytics and dedicated hosting. There’s little doubt organizations large and small need to reach out to the growing masses of mobile users. The question now, it seems, is whether that should be via a custom app that must be downloaded or via a mobile-ready website–or both, targeting loyal and occasional customers, respectively. One to ponder for your own mobile-friendly brand?



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