Restaurants Join Mobile Web

A local firm has tossed a line to restaurants looking to capture the growing audience on the mobile Web.
Tulsa- and Oklahoma City-based mobile Web development company mobiManage has launched mobiAppetit, a way for restaurants to interact with customers on the move. Anyone on the prowl for good eats will be able to access menus and other appetizing information via mobile versions of the Web sites of restaurants signed on with mobiManage.
Blue Dome District anchor James E. McNellie’s Public House signed a deal last month with mobiManage for a mobile Web site, complete with mobiAppetit. Patrons can find the McNellie’s menu, as well as information on events taking place near the restaurant, on the site from a Web-enabled mobile device.
To make sure every Tulsa beer drinker with an iPhone knows what to drink with a Reuben, the Tulsa sommelier of beers, Eric Marshall of Marshall Brewing Company, partnered with Elliot Nelson, owner of McNellie’s, to create a beer pairing for most entrees at McNellie’s. Between bites, diners can learn more about Marshall Brewing and its brew by logging to marshallbrewing.mobi.
“This really came out of the amount of the knowledge Eric Marshall has of beers,” said Seth Spillman, chief marketing officer at mobiManage and partner at Bluefrog Interactive, the firm that birthed the mobile-Web spinoff company.
“He presented to me the content he wanted on his mobile site with us, and there was all of this information about what pairs well with what. I said, ‘If you make this information available, it’s going to encourage people to try your beers, or try an entree at McNellie’s.’ And that’s what it’s all about.”
The next step, budgets allowing, will be to advertise these sites at the table, Spillman said.
“That’s what sets mobile development apart from traditional Web development – it’s location specific. You now have this opportunity to deliver information to people right where they are. That makes perfect sense for a restaurant or a brewery, because most people, when they’re enjoying a burger or a beer, are not at their desk.
“If you were to provide just your Web address, basically what you’re telling those people to do is, ‘Remember or write this down. Then, when you’re away from our product, look at it.’ This gives you the ability to immediately give them that information and to influence a purchasing decision. It’s a win for the customer, and it’s a win for the business,” said Spillman.
According to The Nielsen Company, the leading source for global media information, 87 million U.S. mobile users subscribe to mobile Internet services. The mobile Internet extends the audience reach of many leading Internet sites by an average of 13 percent over home PC traffic alone, according to Nielsen. Entertainment sites do even better, drawing a 22-percent expansion.
“People are going to start getting it, and we are well-poised to take advantage of the light bulb moment. It’s exciting stuff,” said Spillman.
Spillman partnered with Jeff Beasley and Justin Christian in July 2007 to launch Bluefrog Interactive, a traditional Web development firm. In March, the partners decided to split mobiManage into its own LLC. The company is 100-percent focused on mobile Web products and services.
McNellie’s, opened in 2004, grew to open an Oklahoma City location last year. Marshall Brewing Company got its start in the shadow of downtown on Wheeling in 2007.
The Local Table, Over the Counter
Tuck Curren, Brookside chef and restauranteur of Biga Vino e Cucina and The Local Table, opens prepared-food stop The Local Market this week.
Curren converted a private space in the dining room at The Local Table into the 1,000-SF take-away counter, which offers items from The Local Table menu like the Cajun Meatloaf, Rotisserie Chicken, Fried Chicken and Grilled Salmon. Salads and soups are available, too.
Food is ordered and picked up at The Local Market and is ready to eat after a whirl in the microwave or several minutes in a 350-degree oven. Average price for dinner for a family of four is $25-30, Curren said.
Copper Restaurant Closes
Copper Restaurant, the fine dining spot on the 15th and 16th floors of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Price Tower in Bartlesville, closes its doors March 1.
Shuttering the restaurant is in response to the economic downturn, a release from Price Tower Arts Center officials said.
Copper Bar will remain open Tues.-Sat., with doors opening at 4 p.m. The bar will offer a new, light menu and live entertainment.
The space left by the Copper Restaurant location will be available for special events.
Price Tower Arts Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, provides art, architecture and design in an arts complex centered on Price Tower, the only skyscraper by renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The building hosts a museum with permanent and changing exhibition galleries.



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