Let that sink in. if your restaurant had a mobile app in 2015, by now your customer base would have swelled by three times. I will leave it to you to do the math of how much your revenue would have grown with a tripled customer base. Such is the power of mobility. Restaurant mobile apps take away the difficulty of savoring a favorite dish. Your customer does not have to dress up, drive amidst chaotic traffic, and arrive at your restaurant at a specific time to honor the table reservation. With a few taps on the smartphone, they are able to get the food and beverage of their choice home-delivered. Imagine how convenient it would be for a customer who has little time to cook, clean up, and maintain a kitchen. A restaurant mobile app is not just a utility for such a population. It is a means for survival. And that makes it a must-have accessory for restaurants like yours.
A restaurant mobile app is literally the restaurant at the user’s fingertips. Naturally, they will expect it to deliver on all the services and amenities that the restaurant has bestowed on them while dining out. But, from a restaurant mobile app perspective, it is not easy to deliver the same guest experience as a dine-in experience. However, there are app features that can deliver a more or less similar experience, if not the convenience that customers expect out of a restaurant mobile app. A handful of some such mobile app features are detailed as below:
• In-app ordering
• Table reservation
• Online menu
• Shopping cart
• Multiple payment modes
• Push notifications
• Loyalty program
• Referral schemes
• Real-time order tracking
• Customer reviews
• Social media sharing
• Chatbot support
The most basic purpose of a restaurant mobile app would be to pick up orders from its customers. In-app ordering ensures that customers are able to place orders directly to the restaurant without having to pass through an aggregator. It also serves both the sides by eliminating aggregator service charges.
For upscale and luxury dine-in restaurants, it is necessary for customers to make prior table reservations. This enables the restaurant to plan for covers adequately and ensure that the popular dishes are available without fail. Table reservations also help the customer to head straight to the dine-in experience without having to wait for a table to be allocated. A mobile app spares the customer to place phone calls and ask for a reservation. From the restaurant side, this gives access to data about peak times for reservations, the most frequently requested services, and so on.
Part of the trouble of running a mobile app is in maintaining the menus from time-to-time. With a mobile app, a restaurant can easily update the dishes for the day, seasonal specialties, and so on with the click of a button. Cloud servers ensure that the app is updated with the latest menu instantly. In fact, the app can also send push notifications to notify users of the latest dishes that were added to the restaurant.
An integrated shopping cart helps in seamless checkout. In the restaurant, check out refers to the placement of orders and the subsequent payment to put the order in place. The shopping cart can also be integrated with alternative payment modes to simplify the user experience.
Cash is on its way out. The mere trouble of keeping changes ready for a payment compounded with the convenience of card payments has made cash a less popular mode of payment. That makes it necessary for a restaurant mobile app to offer multiple payment modes to its customers. This could include card payments, digital wallets, promo codes, loyalty points, and much more.
Push notifications are short blurbs that are burst on a mass scale to user devices. They inform the user about a specific offer, the status of an order, other restaurant updates like holidays, new services, and so on. They are of great help if the restaurant has many branches and want to target specific customers in specific locations.
Every time a customer orders through your restaurant app, they are forging a relationship with your business. That relationship will grow and thrive only if it is rewarded, or rather incentivized. In a virtual environment like a mobile app, it comes in the form of loyalty programs. For every order placed completed through the mobile app, the user can be rewarded a loyalty point. These points can be accumulated to redeem against an order at a later stage.
Bringing in new customers through paid advertisements and marketing promotions can be a strain on the restaurant’s budget. A mobile app with built-in referral schemes can help the restaurant tap into its already existing customer base. The customers also get free orders, loyalty points, or other rewards for each customer they refer to and convert.
Thanks to GPS tracking, WebRTC technology, and Google Maps integrations, it is now possible to create an instant connection between customers and the deliverers. Real-time order tracking ensures that the customer is able to view the order delivery progress in real-time. Right from the instance when the order is placed, when it is picked up for delivery and when it is delivered to the customer, real-time tracking can keep all the parties in the loop.
If there is one thing that makes customers try new restaurants, it is customer reviews. Websites like Yelp have made a business out of customer reviews alone. That said, white-label restaurant mobile apps must provide customers with the facility to write, publish, and view customer reviews. For the restaurant, it also acts as an indirect source of Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM).
According to Buffer’s State Of Social 2019 report, 73% of marketers believe social media sharing to be “somewhat effective” to “very effective” for their business. Social media is the digital press and a large chunk of its content is user-generated. All the images, views, and reviews that customers post online from the restaurant’s mobile app can help the business boost its brand image.
The peculiar thing about customer support is that you don’t when customers would request for it. But, when they do and you are not available to provide it, it tarnishes your brand image. The challenge in providing round-the-clock customer support is that it is expensive and is not productive either. It is here that an AI-infused chatbot can come in handy. It can help a business provide online support whenever needed without the need for an agent to be present always. A restaurant app offers several features that further translate into a long list of benefits. However, the question that every restaurant owner would have in their mind is — would it help scale the operations? How does developing a restaurant mobile help in aid in combating competition, upscaling the business, running everyday operations, and retaining brand image?
Each time the user downloads your restaurant’s mobile app, the app’s backend creates a unique user ID. Using this, and the various profiles that the user provides, you can create a comprehensive user profile. The profile can be further enriched with recent transactions, favourites, location, and other details. In other words, it acts as a data feeder for your CRM thus simplifying customer management.
In marketing, there is something called the Rule of 7. According to this rule, a prospect must see or hear a message 7 times before they are convinced to make a buy from you. A restaurant app is like a permanent resident on your mobile device. Even the constant seeing of the app’s icon creates a brand recall for your restaurant. In the long-term, this turns into a competitive advantage as customers are more aware of your restaurant brand than competitors.
At least 60% of millennial customers expect consistent brand experiences, says a study by SDL. a mobile app is no longer a nice-to-have option, but a centerpiece in an omnichannel customer experience scenario. It provides customers with the facility to directly interact with the brand through content, reviews, or even transactions. The end result of this is an enhanced brand image.
Two main features that we listed that your restaurant mobile app must have included loyalty points and referral programs. These are not random features but strategic features that can drive higher user adoption and maximize revenue for your restaurant. Loyalty programs ensure that your customer builds the habit of sustaining the relationship with your restaurant. The app also helps track the volume of transactions that the customer has enacted during a given period of time. Similarly, in the case of referrals, it hunts the potential social capital of a customer. It gauges how actively the customer engages with the brand and how effective they are in bringing new customers. Since the mobile app is the gateway to both of these activities, it helps drive brand loyalty.
It is natural for any business to expect manifold RoI for every single dollar spent. However, given the soaring prices of paid marketing channels, every restaurant needs a passive way to build its revenue and maximize its RoI. A mobile app is an excellent avenue for that. It maintains a constant connection with the customer thus bringing the cost to create brand recall. As a result, it also heightens the impact of every subsequent marketing campaign.
Studies have established the obvious fact — at least 96% of Americans own and regularly use smartphones (Source). Apart from the primary purpose of communication, today they are vastly used for allied utilities like taxi-hailing, food ordering, and social media scrolling.
Among the three, online food ordering occupies a significant position. It connects customers and restaurants in an invisible way. It ensures that both parties are able to benefit from each other despite not coming in physical contact with each other.
A restaurant mobile app can provide ample benefits that will not only maximize revenue but would also lead to a loyal customer base. Every street needs a good restaurant. Every good restaurant needs a mobile app of its own.