Seven Reasons Why Your Restaurant Needs an App

Marketing trends are changing, and with them the effectiveness of print media loses its value. Digital marketing is widely becoming the most popular form of advertising because of its many advantages. More and more consumers are glued to their smart phones - they never let them out of their sight! In order to reach customers, advertising must be fresh, technology-forward, mobile and straight-forward. Why not combine all four and come up with a solution: build an app for your restaurant!

There are many compelling reasons for why restaurants like you need Android and iPhone apps to boost your sales and traffic. Here are seven of them:

  • Customer Engagement. We all know that word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective way to get the word out about your restaurant. With an app, your customers can easily refer your restaurant on Yelp, Facebook, Twitter to their online friends. These customers can easily increase your online presence as well!
  • Easier Ordering Equals More Sales. When a customer wants to place an order for takeout or delivery, you want to make it as easy for them as possible. The solution for this problem is your app - by making online ordering mobile, your customers can place an order right from their pocket! Customers love easy ordering and you love more sales so it’s a win-win!
  • Easy to Redeem Offers. Customers love receiving offers and promotions but easily lose print coupons and email offers. Imagine posting a special offer on your app - customers only need show their server their phone to redeem their special prize!
  • Hassle-free Information. Those days where you needed to print out high-resolution pictures for all your menu items are over. With your apps, you only need to upload great pictures of your menu items and a persuasive description and you’re ready to go!
  • Increased Convenience. Imagine this scenario: Customers want to visit your restaurant because they’ve heard of you, but they don’t know if you have a location near them. Your app can display your locations by map view and by distance, so customers can easily visit the one closest to them!
  • Push Messaging Campaign. Sending out push messages to your customers is quick, easy to do, and through your app, absolutely free. Unlike an email, a push message automatically appears on your customer’s phone, so it doesn’t even require a customer to open it to get your message.
  • Stay ahead of your competition. The majority of restaurants still rely on traditional methods of marketing - Be one step ahead of your competitors with mobile marketing!

Innovation is the key to every successful restaurant. For it to happen, new ideas and methods should always be implemented. Innovation doesn’t need to be hard! Building an app is easy when you have proper assistance from the professionals. Consider it as a viable investment that would definitely give you great returns in the future.

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  • I think this is a great article, as Angela said, that shows the benefits of what an app can do for a restaurant.  However these benefits are not only for apps.  These can also be applied to mobile sites as some people have previously stated.  My company, MenuDrive [ ] , recently started giving our customers the option of using HTML 5 to make thier online ordering sites mobile friendly.  This type of formatting is good for smaller restaurants because it does not cost them as much as an app, yet they get all the benefits from it.  More and more restaurant owners are learning about technology and learning to adopt and change with it.  I think in the future mobile apps and websites are going to be a must for every restaurant who wants to be successful.

  • I agree with Sergio. I think there's simply too much generalization in recommendations for the industry. We're guilty of it too at TVI so I need to follow my own advice! An example:

    Apps don't work for every type of restaurant nor every type of customer and I think when making arguments for or against technology usage at restaurants they need to be made for the specific segments of the industry. A single unit fine dining restaurant's needs are much more different than a fast casual restaurant which is part of a 50 location franchise.

  • Good post!. Anyway, I think that not all rules can be applied to every kind of restaurant; if you go to a pleace to have a short, quick and easy lunch, some kind of apps can be useful and some others not, and on the other hand, if you want to spend some good time with great people around you, sitting with no hurry into an elegant restaurant, you will enjoy some apps (like the one we offer.. Digital List WineAmore) and you will refuse some other. Different apps for different situations. Anyway, as told by Negroponte in 1995, "the change from atoms to bits is irrevocable and unsoppable" and so, sooner or later, restaurants and wineries will update to digital solutions!

  • In today's demanding world, more and more people are turning to the web for simple ways to order food from their favorite restaurants. If you are a business owner and don't have your own website, there is a good opportunity you are losing business to your competitors. In addition, having a website does not promise that you will get the desired users coming to your site and this is where eatonline, an expert on online restaurant and online ordering can help.

  • Jason, thanks for that posting.  This shift towards greater app usage is very compelling and argues for restaurants to have their own app, not just a mobile optimized website.  

  • I work with Halo POS and our mobile app has been very successful for many of our quick service clients. Our app is fully integrated with our POS system for processing of orders and accurate back-end reporting while saving on labor costs and freeing up seats in your business. All of our clients have seen their average orders increase by 5-20%.

    For customers, ordering their morning coffee on their way to the cafe, or placing a lunch order to avoid the lines are benefits of harnessing new technology. Mobile ordering is one of the growing trends in the restaurant industry. 

    Moving forward, the power of having information and purchasing habits of your customers is extremely beneficial and something the food service industry has never seen. If I love Subway, and Subway knows I always order a BLT, and send me a push notification to purchase from my phone a 2 for 1 BLT coupon... I'm going to buy it. 

    If you want to see more click or send me an email, I can answer some questions.

  • Hey Angela, great article. For larger chains, I think a mobile app makes sense. An indy restaurant or smaller chain may not have the budget or staff to manage the project. Mobile websites are a good alternative; they can be easily linked to online ordering, reservations, Facebook, FourSquare, etc. This indy Thia restaurant in Redmond, WA is a great example: In our recent company study of restaurants, we found that 95% of indy restaurants in the study group did not have a mobile website. You can read the article in Tech Cruch: Everyone with a Smartphone has felt the pain around trying to locate a local restaurant or diner while on the go...doing the old "pinch & squeeze" routine.

    Lync sign on issues

  • I'm gonna have to wholeheartedly disagree with Mahdad and Dave and believe the numbers and research fully support this article.  The increase in customer loyalty alone, which isn't even directly mentioned here, is well worth the investment.  I can't speak for everyone, but I would indeed download the app for restaurants I frequent as the phone can be a bothersome tool for both sides.  Wrong order taken, you feel rushed, and often can't even hear the person.  An app solves all that and encourages me to order from that place again.  We wouldn't be in this business unless we knew we were providing a valuable tool for both restaurant owners and consumers.  We actually make sure the restaurant has all of these tools;  Facebook ordering, Website ordering, and Mobile Apps.  They are all very important.  But think about food trucks.  They are popping up left and right, but a website only ordering platform is no good to them.  They need mobile apps as they are a mobile product.  Smartphone are taking over, love it or not, and if you don't keep up you're gonna miss out.  The ones who see the highest rate of success are those who are at the beginning of or ahead of the trends, and this is one that you cannot ignore.  I could go on for days but I'll stop :)  Just realize we are entering an exciting time for restaurant related technology and it's gonna be fun to see where it takes us all!

  • Yes... saw that.  Thanks for sharing Angela.

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