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Restaurant.com cements mobile position with Android app rollout

By
May 9, 2012

Online dining site Restaurant.com has rolled out an Android application that lets hungry diners buy gift certificates from their favorite restaurants via their handsets.

In addition to the Android app, Restaurant.com also has apps for the iPhone and a mobile Web site. The app is available for free download from Google Play and is planned to be updated each financial quarter.

“Launching the Restaurant.com Android app completes our suite of mobile options, which also includes the iPhone app and a mobile-optimized Web browser experience,” said Christopher Krohn, president and chief marketing officer at Restaurant.com, Chicago.

“We are deploying customized experiences on multiple mobile platforms to ensure the user experience for the diner is the best possible for helping them find just the right choice of restaurant to meet their needs,” he said.

“Optimizing that experience for platform-specific native UX is, we believe, the key to success in business-to-consumer mobile commerce.”

Mobile grub
Restaurant.com works with local restaurants to offer reduced-priced gift certificates.

The app uses the mobile device’s GPS to find the nearest restaurants for consumers and can additionally be filtered by name and viewed as either a list or map.

Consumers can then view specific deals at restaurants and buy discounted gift certificates. To redeem an offer, the deal stays inside the app, and consumers can show their phone to a restaurant employee.

Users can search through more than 18,000 restaurants via the app.

Additionally, consumers can view information about individual restaurants, including contact information, directions, menus and hours.

Digital glue
The Android app comes on the heels of Restaurant.com’s iPhone app, which was rolled out earlier this year (see story).

Since Restaurant.com is a Web-based company, mobile components are a natural way for the company to make content accessible to as many consumers as possible.

The online dining industry is crowded with competitors such as Urbanspoon, Yelp and Open Table all aiming to be the leader for different reasons.

Since Restaurant.com works with restaurants directly, which have traditionally been slower to adapt, mobile has marked a fundamental push for the company.

According to Mr. Krohn, mobile will be the main touch point for Restaurant.com’s consumers by 2014. In addition to updating its apps, the company is also developing a SMS program and building a database.

To differentiate itself, Restaurant.com is focusing on the deal industry.

“Restaurant.com’s goal is to become a top of mind dining destination for deal shoppers on the go, on the Web or in mobile, per the customer’s preference,” Mr. Krohn said.

“That means we need to consistently expand the use cases that we deploy on mobile platforms,” he said.

“Some of the use cases on our radar screen include gift card purchase and redemption, more robust account management features, personalized recommendations and hyperlocal push notification deals.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York 

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