More than 50 percent of restaurant customers say that they prefer having their food delivered through the restaurant’s own app. Furthermore, 74 percent of diners say they want more restaurants to have their own mobile ordering and delivery service.
Are you eager to satisfy these needs for your customers? Are you interested in creating a mobile app for your restaurant?
If you need a push to move forward with your idea, outlined below are some of the top reasons why restaurants need mobile apps. You’ll also find a list of essential features that every restaurant mobile app (including yours) ought to have.
Benefits of Restaurant Mobile Apps
Mobile apps are useful for restaurants of all kinds, from fast food joints to fine dining restaurants. Here are 10 of the greatest benefits that a mobile app can offer to you and your team:
1. Easier Loyalty/Referral Programs
Forty-seven percent of diners report using at least one restaurant loyalty program.
Loyalty and referral programs are great tools for generating repeat customers, boosting profits, and giving your restaurant a leg up on the competition. However, they can be hard to manage when you’re trying to do everything manually.
If you have a mobile app for your restaurant, it’s much easier to run these kinds of programs. You’ll be able to keep track of the number of visits you’ve had, the amount of money someone has spent, and more.
With an app, all of your customer information is centralized and easily accessible, too. Customers will be more inclined to utilize your program as well when they can do so quickly from their mobile devices.
2. Easier Internal Order Fulfillment
Could you use a third-party app to handle mobile orders, reservations, etc.? Sure. The problem, though, is that order fulfillment can get a bit tricky when you’re using another company’s app to manage your customers’ orders and run your restaurant.
If you have your own app, it takes less work for you and your team to keep track of orders and make sure they’re fulfilled on time. You will also have fewer platforms to manage, which makes a big difference on busy nights when you need your restaurant to run like a well-oiled machine.
3. Bigger Orders and More Sales
Approximately 34 percent of consumers say they spend at least $50 for each order when they order online. Furthermore, 20 percent of people say they spend more when ordering online or over the phone compared to when they’re dining in.
If your restaurant has an easy-to-use, well-designed mobile app, you’ll likely see your customers placing bigger orders, and perhaps placing them more frequently, too. This, in turn, will lead to more sales and more money in your bank account.
You may have to invest a large amount of money up front to develop your restaurant app. In the long run, though, you’ll make more money when you make it easier for people to order and enjoy your food.
4. More Reservations
If you run a dine-in restaurant and take reservations, an app can simplify this process for your customers. This, in turn, may encourage more people to make mobile reservations and check out your restaurants.
If you streamline the process for people to connect with you and book a table — and save them from having to make a phone call and wait for a member of your staff to pick up — you’ll see an increase in the number of reservations your restaurant gets. You’ll likely see a boost in profits, too.
5. Improved On-Site Service
Mobile apps don’t just help people to order takeout and book tables at your restaurant. It also makes life easier for you and your team, specifically when it comes to improving your on-site service and providing customers with a better experience (which means fewer complaints for you to field).
Remember, mobile apps allow for better online order fulfillment. They help your staff to stay on top of incoming orders and shorten lines, especially during busy times of the day.
When customers receive their food on time and get to enjoy accurate orders, they’ll be more inclined to visit your restaurant in the future. They’ll also be more likely to recommend it to their friends and family members.
6. Bigger Social Media Presence
When you include social sharing buttons in your mobile app, you set customers up to quickly share their experiences and promote your restaurant. This, in turn, allows you to grow your online presence faster and gain a bigger audience.
Are you looking to build brand awareness and get more people interested in what your restaurant has to offer? If so, a well-designed mobile app with social sharing features is a must.
7. More and Better Online Reviews
A mobile app, particularly when it includes social sharing features, can help you to generate more and better online reviews, too.
First, you can get more reviews when people are able to quickly and easily shout out your restaurant online. Second, you’ll get better reviews because people will be talking about how simple your app is to use and how much better it makes their ordering/reservation-making experience.
You can also use app plugins that redirect customers from your app to a third-party review platform like Yelp. If it’s easy for people to leave reviews this way, they are more likely to do so.
In addition to improving your restaurant’s reputation, these third-party reviews also help to boost your search engine ranking and help you get closer to that coveted top spot on Google.
8. Better ROI on Promotions
When you run promotions and offer deals or discounts at your restaurant, your app can help you to see a better ROI.
More people will likely become aware of these deals and promotions when you highlight them in your app, especially if you use push notifications to get their attention and make the announcement. This leads to more people taking advantage of the deal, which can result in more money spent overall and better profits for your restaurant across the board.
9. Easier Menu Access
When you’re looking for a place to order takeout or go grab dinner, what’s one of the first things you think about? For most of us, we want to know what’s on the menu and whether or not anything the restaurant serves sounds appealing.
Mobile apps provide easy menu access and allow users to quickly check and see what’s available. Some restaurants can also use their mobile app to provide updates on which items are available, what’s out of stock, etc.
10. Better Local Outreach
A lot of people assume that restaurant apps are only for major chains and larger restaurants. Local mom and pop shops can utilize them, too, though. In fact, one of the greatest benefits of mobile apps is that they can help you get in touch with local audiences more easily.
When you integrate your mobile app with other tools like proximity beacons, you can create and promote localized offers. This helps you to get nearby diners interested in checking out your restaurant — pretty soon, it may end up becoming their favorite local spot!
Essential Restaurant Mobile App Features
If you’re going to move forward and create a mobile app for your restaurant, you might be wondering which features are most important to include in your design. The following are 9 key elements that every restaurant app developer ought to emphasize for the most functional, easy-to-use app:
1. Digital Menu
One of the most important features for a restaurant mobile app to include is a digital menu.
It should be easy for customers to open the app and see what you offer. This is especially true if your restaurant’s menu changes seasonally, or if you offer certain meals at some times of day and other meals at different times.
A menu that automatically updates will keep everyone in the loop and allow for easier, more precise ordering.
If your restaurant has a big menu, it can be helpful to include filtering features in the order process. For example, people can filter your menu based on price, popularity, ingredients, dietary restrictions (gluten-free, vegan, etc.), and more.
Filters provide a simpler, more efficient ordering experience and allow you to better serve your customers. It may take a bit more work on the back end to add this feature initially, but it’s worth it if it makes life easier for your customers, right?
3. Reservation Tool
If your restaurant accepts reservations, a reservation-making feature is a must for your mobile app.
Some restaurant owners choose to use an in-app feature to help customers make reservations, but you can also consider integrating your app with a third-party reservation-making platform if you prefer.
4. Order Placement
Of course, mobile ordering is an essential feature for any successful restaurant app.
If you’re looking to generate more income from carryout and/or delivery orders, an app that offers mobile ordering will make all the difference. This is especially true if your app is easy to navigate and allows for fast ordering and payment processing.
5. Payment Processing
Speaking of payment processing, it’s particularly useful if your customers can make payments directly through the restaurant app. This saves them from having to fumble around for their credit card when they arrive to pick up their food and allows for a simpler, more streamlined order fulfillment process.
It’s even better if your customers can leave tips through the app, too. That way, you and your staff don’t have to worry about missing out on a tip just because a person doesn’t have cash on hand.
6. Order Tracking
These days, we track everything online, from the clothing we order from our favorite retailers to the pizza we order for dinner. Everybody wants to know how quickly their order is going to be ready to pick up, and your app can provide them with an answer to this question.
Order tracking allows for more transparency between your restaurant and your customers. It also prevents people from showing up too early and having to wait around longer than they’d like to bring their food home.
7. Customer Support
The best restaurant mobile app will help you and your staff to address customer support concerns quickly.
For example, it should include a phone number (preferably with a click-to-call feature) so that customers know who to call if they have a question, need to change something about their order, etc. It may also be helpful to include a chat function on your app so that people can chat back and forth rather than waiting on the phone to have their questions answered or concerns addressed.
8. Push Notifications
Push notifications will help your restaurant app stand out from your competitors’ apps.
You can use push notifications to make customers aware of all kinds of things, from your latest deals and promotions to the status of their most recent order. You can use them to remind customers to leave a review or feedback on their latest order, too.
9. Loyalty Programs
Finally, your restaurant app should include some kind of loyalty or referral program. For example, people can earn points every time they make a purchase through the app, and the app can show them how close they are to earning a reward or qualifying for a discount.
This is much easier for your customers to keep track of than a flimsy paper card they stash in their wallet, and it will encourage them to continue visiting your restaurant while they work toward their next reward.
Get Help with Restaurant App Development Today
Are you convinced that investing in an app is a smart move for your restaurant? Do you want to create an app that functions well and checks all the boxes listed above?
If so, reach out to us today at Alpha Bravo Development for a free quote. We can’t wait to work with you and help you achieve all your goals.