I'm asking this because I think it could have real potential to increase business...
It doesn't take much to get in the App Store and then you've got something of value you can offer your customers...
I've developed a few apps for local restaurants and I think they serve as a great marketing reminder that you are open for business... they see your name on their phone perhaps a zillion times a day!  Add to that the ability to retrieve a mysterious daily special like a discount or 'catch of the day' and you might have people consider ordering from you every day...

Am I the only one interested in this?


Tags: advertising, app, iphone

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Do you find that restaurants are more interested in the advertising that a mobile app brings or the potential for increased orders?

I'm curious as to why you aren't able to order with the app itself. While it is super useful to have a menu/phone # available through the app, is it just not feasible at this point to integrate a full blown ordering system?
They are definitely interested in the potential for increased orders!

Full blow ordering can be integrated into the app... but that requires interfacing with your particular POS system, which can be a lot of work (==$$$) which might not really be worth it for a small biz. For chains like Chipotle or Pizza Hut it is great and they have some awesome ordering apps that connect to all locations. I really envy those apps, but I am sure they had a team of programmers develop them and all the back-end to manage it...

Right now I am looking at the ability to team up with an online ordering solution that could be used within the app. Then the business would also get the online website ordering as part of the package.

The advantage of having a simpler solution is that all you have to do is let your customers know that you have an app and most people will download it the first time they come in (for dine-in or pick-up), usually while waiting for their order. The next thing you know they are checking the daily special every day hoping their favorite dish is on the list.

BTW, the cost of getting the app that I have been working on into the App store and ready for download by your customers is really reasonable... No setup/design fee, just a recurring monthly fee for maintaining the app. I'm hoping this can work out for everyone: the business, the customer, and me!

Do you see any problems with my approach here?

-Ryan
I'm a little late to this conversation, but there are a few companies out there that build iPhone apps with integrated online ordering (Micros Partner: http://www.exit41.com/Restaurant_Online_Call_Center_Mobile_Ordering...). But...something less expensive for restaurants that don't need ordering could be interesting. You probably need to provide some value to the restaurant and end user that goes beyond the capabilities of a mobile website (like coupon push notifications).

Hope that helps.
I agree, it can be a huge project to develop an order app for a restaurant. However there are POS systems that have or are adding this to their software as an option that a restaurant can choose to make available to their guests. Operators should ask their software provider if that is something that is available with their current system.
From what I understand most POS systems can allow a simple XML feed as an order input (assuming the menus are properly aligned).

I've been speaking with MetroORDER and SalesVu on this front and it seems doable.

Some of the awesome perks of a mobile ordering system include:
1) being able to see what items customers view but don't order
2) get GPS data from phones to confirm delivery address and ordering locations
3) save tons of time (and avoid errors) taking orders over the phone

Full disclosure: I'm a sales rep for Blue Shoe Mobile -- take a look at our offering here - http://bit.ly/blushoe

We are trying out a build-fee + monthly subscription style service (other have % of revenue or very large upfront fee) and business seems pretty good so far.

Here are some other similar services that I've identified:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/31/technology/31snapfinger.html?hpw
http://snapfinger.com/Restaurant_Owners.aspx
http://www.kudzuinteractive.com/site/
http://www.backpocketmenu.com/BackPocketMenu/App_in_Action.html - $2500 ("1/2 off!!") w/ no monthly + 12 months updates
http://www.mobilaurus.com/restaurants.php
We've developed online ordering apps for the iPhone as well as online ordering from pretty much any "smart phone" made in the last year. The problem we ran into was on the POS side of the house. Most POS venders either don't have a way to communicate with their system, want in excess of $10k for their SDK, have made exclusive deals with other online ordering sites, or are getting into the online ordering business themselves and are locking out any competitors. The first restaurants with apps out for a pilot program start next week. I'll let you know the first of september how things are going as the next batch are rolled out.
Very interesting!
I would like to see what you've developed... please update or post a link!
I think this is a good idea.

A more affordable alternative would be to serve up a mobile version of your existing website and encourage customers to add the page to their bookmarks. Sites like http://www.letseat.at already have the mobile system set up. Businesses with their sites on WordPress can use a plugin like WordPress Mobile Edition.

Also make use of sites like FourSquare and Yelp to generate eyeballs on your businesses. Higher reviewed businesses show up at the top of the list. Just something to think about.
I guess I'll never understand why someone wants to limit their reach to Iphone users! Globally they r 4% of the market. Mobile web combined with SMS can pretty much do anything and more than an App. Usng SMS, you can reach most everyone, not everyone has a smart phone. We built Our SMS platform as a CRM too, allowing u 2 interact with clients and collect data,so u can deliver relevant and personalized messaging, we also built social marketing into it so u can post the offer u r sending to your database on twitter and facebook simultaneously, u can try it if u like, text joinnow to 57711 it will start a dialouge with u. This is a simple example, it can branch out unlimited data. Love to hear what u have to say. Using keyword also allows u to turn all of your media into lead generation, I'm not trashing apps. here, let me be clear, It's much cheaper to build a mobile site and make changes on the fly.

Tony
http://21stcenturymarketingonline.com
Hi Ryan,

I had a little red flag when I read this "they see your name on their phone perhaps a zillion times a day!".

My experience has been that if you post more than a few times per day, people get irritaed and they'll tune
you out or worse, remove the app and block you altogether.

Having said that, I love apps for restaurants for all the reasons you mentioned. =)

It's also a great way to drive people to your Facebook page where you can offer "members only" offers or
to your flicker account where you can post pics of daily specials or people enjoying the specials.

~Arlina
I think what he meant was that they would see the app icon, not necessarily constant updates (which would be incredibly annoying, as you pointed out)
Okay, thanks for saying that! I see it all too often and I just cringe when I see people doing that. Super annoying! lol

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