Why Your Restaurant Needs a Useful Mobile App
There’s a lot of preachy advice
out there on how important it is to develop a mobile app and make sure you have a strong mobile presence.But the vast majority of that advice is written by app development companies with no real concern over how well your business eventually does as a result of your marketing efforts… they just want to scare you into signing up for their services by throwing out scary-sounding numbers that may or may not be backed up by actual, published facts. We’ve got some data points to present to you… all complete with real-life examples to help you do the math on the potential revenue and customers you’re missing out on so you can make that decision for yourself.
Essential features for restaurant app
Now that you’ve rightfully decided to invest in a mobile application for your restaurant, the next thing to decide on is what features to put in it? We’ve compiled a list of 5 of the most important features every restaurant app needs to have to be loved by the customers. Sure, you can add more features into it, but you shouldn’t compromise on the following features:
Push notification is a double-edged sword; it can make or break your app. Your app will be successful if you use it in a sophisticated and subtle manner. However, if you overuse or abuse it then push notifications can annoy your users resulting in a subsequent loss.Push notifications must be managed smartly and carefully. Sending an alert in the middle of the night is never a good idea. Instead, ask your customers about the medium in which they want notifications (SMS, Email, Push Notification), also ask them the specific time.
2.In-app, online ordering and mobile payments
Online and in-app ordering lets your customers avoid the lines or the wait for the order to be taken and processed. The ability to pay for their orders beforehand takes customer convenience one step ahead.Not only does it make the lives of your customers easier, it also improve
s your efficiency and accuracy for handling orders. Both of these advantages give you a clear edge over your competitor, whether they’re right across the street or across the pond.
3.Loyalty, rewards and discounts programs
According to survey of 2015, 37% customers use the mobile app to look for discounts. While, 26% customers use the app for Redeeming/earning loyalty points.Besides these stats, the most important is the fact that the cost of attracting/acquiring a new customer is 5 times higher than the cost of keeping one i.e. earning brand loyalty is cheaper than creating brand awareness and attractiveness.
4.Location based services
The prevalence of location based services like beacons and geo-fencing have given brands the ability to engage with potential customers, even before they step into the brick and mortar location.Consider it as the modern day equivalent of handing out flyers to passer-bys, promoting the restaurants deals, discounts, menu improvements and other news.
5.Multiple platforms (app store & google play)
It’s obvious after developing an app you want everyone to notice it. Moreover, that would be only possible if your app is accessible on different platforms (App Store & Play Store).
Multiple avenues to your app make it visible to all the users of a different platform which in turn results in them downloading and subsequently increasing your users. Ensure that you maintain the quality of your Apps in each platform. There are few apps whose versions work fine on one platform and struggles on the other as it lacks the quality.
Your restaurant may be small but it may be popular enough that your customers find it difficult to get a table at walk-in. Or maybe, your restaurant is a high-end eatery that only accommodates prior reservations and not walk-ins.Whatever your situation, your restaurant mobile application should have a table reservation option for your customers. This helps cut down customer frustration that undoubtedly arise from long waits to get a table and gives them the opportunity to perfectly plan their evening.
To manage your restaurant staff and increase efficiency
you must have this feature. This feature ensures that your restaurant is never over or underemployed. It also enables you to track your employees’ performance to date.
You can make necessary changes based on your employees’ performances. It eventually increases the efficiency and production as there would always be an optimum number of employees present to finish the task in time.
8.Social media integration
Social media integration has become a permanent feature for every app out there. For the restaurant industry even more, what with the customer’s need to review their experience, take pictures of and upload them to their social media accounts like Instagram, SnapChat, FaceBook etc.Not just that, you can leverage the social media and tie it with your loyalty/discount programs to entice existing customers to earn points and rewards for inviting new customers/friends.
Personalization has become a significant feature in On-Demand Applications in the recent past. In this feature the app tracks and analyses the user’s activities & behavior and suggests relevant products & services. It helps in engaging and building your relationship
with the customer.
It also helps in retaining your existing users as they are getting what they want with minimum effort. With personalization, you save them from the hassle of searching their favorite restaurant or cuisines repeatedly.
Using mobile apps in your restaurant: Features and benefits
Restaurant app development allows making use of mobile technology in a way, which can help restaurant owners manage their business in numerous ways. Data gathered through the use of apps can provide an abundance of valuable information that can help businesses become more efficient, profitable, and overall successful. This information can help owners plan meals throughout the day (during peak and off-peak hours), offer promotional products and special offers when appropriate, keep up-to-date records of the necessary store provisions, and plan product supply according to customer demand.
In the table below, you’ll find a list of features that a comprehensive (and user-friendly) restaurant app will have, as well as the corresponding benefits for the customer and restaurant.
Restaurant apps: Building your own versus adopting what’s already out there
Many restaurant mobile app developers may suggest you starting your business with an already existing app. And while having an app that’s dedicated to your restaurant business can be very beneficial, if your business is only at its start and your resources are limited, it’s important to understand that you shouldn’t hurry with building your own app. There are lots of apps already on the market that can help you achieve some of your goals already. Consider adding OpenTable or another similar app to your restaurant to help customers fill your tables. Register your restaurant on apps like Zomato and others to increase your brand’s exposure and help potential customers discover you.
Designing and developing a dedicated app will take time and resources (financial and otherwise) and will also require time and resources to ensure widespread adoption of your app by consumers. A mobile app should be thought of as a bonus tool once your business is already established and you have the time necessary to manage its development.
If you do have the resources necessary or you’re ready to take the next step in growing your business, creating a unique mobile app for your restaurant is a great way to boost its success even further. But how much would it really cost? That answer really depends on the types of features you’d want included.
The costs of developing a mobile app for your restaurant
The cost of any application depends on many components, such as the complexity of its features, design, functionality, etc. The time necessary for development depends on the number of developers involved in each part of the process. A simpler app will take less time to develop while a bigger development team will be able to accomplish more complex functionality. It really depends on your particular goals and priorities. Based on our years of experience as software developers for various clients around the world, here are two examples of what is reasonable to expect when developing an app for your restaurant.
Example 1: Building a somewhat simple app that includes:
- menu presentation,
- push notifications about news and promotions,
- the ability to leave comments and reviews, and
- the ability to share customer choices in social networks.
Whether you’re a restaurant owner looking to improve sales, customer loyalty and retention or you’re an entrepreneur investing in your next venture of online food ordering and/or delivery service – the above features are a must to include into your app.
However, depending on the range of your business and cost of app development your needs, your app can be both consumer-facing and/or business-facing.
If you’re looking to have both, then your app can be your comprehensive solution for handling the day-to-day management of your business as well as your customers.