Mobile-friendly websites are becoming more and more essential for all types of small businesses. There are some DIY platforms out there to help create these sites, but finding the time and the resources can be a challenge.
Now, online restaurant reservation platform OpenTable  has launched a new program to give its restaurant partners mobile-optimized websites, free of charge.
The free service is thanks to a partnership with DudaMobile , a DIY mobile website building tool. Restaurants that use OpenTable can customize these mobile-friendly versions of their websites that work on any smartphone device. Sites can include menus, locations, hours, and of course a way to book reservations.
Since so many Americans are using their phones and mobile devices rather than computers to search and look up information, including restaurant hours and menus, having a mobile-friendly site is becoming less optional for restaurants. In fact, according to OpenTable’s website, one in five diners who book online reservations now use their mobile phones to do so. So particularly for restaurants that use flash or have downloadable menus or forms, this type of service could greatly increase the usability of sites for potential customers.
And since many of OpenTable’s restaurant partners are small and medium-sized restaurants, they might not all have the resources or the skills to put together a mobile site on their own.
For OpenTable, this move not only helps keep their restaurant partners thriving and happy, but it could also make booking reservations online much easier for consumers. Since many still shy away from reserving tables online in favor of calling restaurants, any step to make booking online easier is a positive step for a company like OpenTable.
OpenTable currently has about 25,000 restaurants partners, all of which pay a subscription fee to use the reservation tool. So this extra service is available without any additional cost to restaurants. All businesses need to do is sign up  and take their site live before February 1, 2013.