Mobile website analysis for the restaurant industry

Paul November 18th 2013

We were recently tasked with surveying the online presence and website performance of a large proportion of chains and independent restaurants in the UK.

From the data collected we’ve been able to create region by region comparisons of how the hospitality industry has thus far adapted as internet access shifts from the traditional desktop, to smaller more mobile devices.


Our objectives, to identify geographic regions where restaurants are performing well – by making it easy for diners to:


  1.  Find them on a search engine and/or social media.
  2.  Identify suitable destinations based on cuisine and reviews.
  3.  Make a reservation
  4.  Locate the premises.



The rapid advances in mobile technology is changing the way in which we communicate. So much information is now available at hand, or already placed in front of us that we expect to spend very little time seeking it - the mobile web and social media is proving to make us more impatient as we try to squeeze more interaction into our already busy lives.


This change presents marketeers with several problems as they essentially become just another voice in a very busy room; how do they grab your attention when everybody else from all over the world is trying to do the same, more importantly how do they maintain any new relationships, which could end in seconds.


Thankfully, mobile and social media has also provided marketeers with a new set of tools which when used correctly has proven to be to extremely successful in many B2C and B2B sectors; however, restaurants and the hospitality industry have been slow to adopt. Why?


Perhaps this is due to the nature of the business. Would a restaurant need to market itself to the rest of the world when most of its revenue is generated from people within a few kilometres of the premises. Would they not be better off with a more traditional word of mouth recommendation, furthermore there are already many sites out there that provide mechanisms for bookings, reviews and maps – Why would the restaurant need to do this?  The reasons lie within the technology itself.


With location awareness now a standard in the majority of smartphones on the market + social media's heavy integration with most devices it is possible to create targeted ad campaigns based on time and location with real time updates generating instant results. Put simply, this gives restaurant owners the power to target individuals within walking distance of their premises, with tempting deals when they have empty seats to fill.


This is powerful marketing indeed, however as our initial survey results suggest, the restaurant industry is currently failing to recognise this.



In order to get a balanced view of both large restaurant chains and independent restaurateurs from across the country, we surveyed ~23,000 domain names belonging to restaurants nationwide. As the aim was to understand who is delivering a good experience on mobile devices, the results collected relate to this type of browsing. Data gathered includes:



  • Google Pagespeed Insights scoring for mobile devices
  • Our calculated theoretical mobile load time.
  • Keyword and keyphrase analysis
  • Social media relationships to that domain name.



  • The average load time of the domains in England is currently around 5 seconds when loaded over the average mobile connection speed.
  • Google Pagespeed ranks domains at 30/100 for mobile devices, anything over 75/100 is considered ok.
  • There is a surprisingly low correlation between restaurant domain names and social media.
  • A Large proportion of sites are not mobile friendly.



As mentioned before, our aim is to overtime provide a region by region comparison, the first of which was chosen to be Manchester (keeping it local), showing how the Manchester restaurant industry compares to England's restaurant industry as a whole. For those wanting to see how a specific domain performs, we've created a tool that enables you to do just that just by entering the domain name. If a restaurant doesn't yet appear in our database, after a few seconds the results will be calculated for you.



This is the start of an ongoing project that will develop over time. Manchester is the first region to be analysed but more will be added soon, check back regularly to see if your region has been added, or if you can’t wait contact us with a request and we might just bump you up the list.


We'd love to know what you think of this tool, are you a restaurant owner thats found our data / article useful? Would you like to see some different metrics covered? Has this made you think differently about your marketing approach? Tell us via the comments below.

Author Paul Technical Director

Technical Director & Co-founder of Gather. Paul is a Manchester born computer scientist with broad full stack web & mobile application skillset, he has helped shaped Gather's technology, and build many large scale web applications.