Home Web services Top 10 Reasons why your restaurant needs a mobile app

Top 10 Reasons why your restaurant needs a mobile app

by Milan Mathew

The restaurant industry may be old but the market conditions that govern it are even older. When these market conditions change, your business needs to catch up or become a thing of the past.

Many QSR and fast-casual restaurants generate a significant portion of their revenue from takeout and delivery service. With the adoption of apps like Grubhub and Ubereats that trend is increasing as it is becoming easier to start taking delivery orders with fewer new staff. Downside of it is the increased fees paid out to these delivery apps. It can be anywhere from 15% to 25% depending on service and location. Such a high commission can put a strain prepared food margin.

To avoid these heavy commissions many restaurants and chains, started moving to their own apps. It used to be harder for individual restaurants to publish their own mobile apps. Now it’s easier to publish mobile apps for single or multi-location restaurants. Having own mobile app saves the commission paid out to aggregator apps like Grubhub, and Eat24.

Here are the top 10 reasons why it needs one.

  • Location and Localization

One of the biggest reasons to have a mobile app for your website is to increase its visibility. Your website may be in more … analogue mediums like the phonebook or local maps and brochures but, these days, most people find their ways around using their phones. Having a mobile app helps you to stand out more on these platforms.

Some mobile apps can even send notifications to your customers when they drive within a certain vicinity of your storefront so that they don’t need to look at their phones for your restaurant to come to mind. It’s also cheaper than paying for billboards by the side of the road.

  • Increased Repeat Customers

In the restaurant business, you make some money when people come in once. You make more money when they keep coming back. One way to increase your repeat customers is with a mobile app.

Just like having a mobile app is the new version of having your business in the phonebook, having a mobile app is the new version of having a takeout menu that your patrons keep on their fridge at home. It keeps your business in their mind.

Think about how often people look at their phones. Now imagine that every time they look at their phones they see your mobile app. It helps to keep your business on their minds and your food in their mouths.

  • Better User Experience

A recurring theme in this article is changed to the restaurant market. That includes your customers. You have to meet them where they are and they’re on their phones. Having a mobile app for your restaurant makes your business more accommodating to your customers and that’s how you keep customers.

You can also look at mobile apps as a way of improving user experience more directly. Mobile apps make it easy for you to collect information on your customers by doing things like asking them to fill out surveys. This method of customer interaction can be especially impactful if your restaurant offers delivery or takeout services because your customers can submit completed surveys before returning to your restaurant in person.

  • Loyalty and Referral Programs

Having a mobile app also makes it easier for your business to take advantage of loyalty and referral programs. Once again, loyalty and referral programs predate mobile apps. However, mobile apps bring these systems into the twenty-first century. It’s far easier to keep track of customer purchases and referrals when you have a mobile app doing it for you.

This works for the customers as well. One classic loyalty system involved giving your customers slips or tokens to keep track of their purchases which they needed to show to redeem rewards. If the customer lost these slips or tokens, they lost out on their reward. Neither you nor your customers need to keep track of anything once you’ve worked your loyalty and referral programs into a mobile app.

  • Direct Marketing to Your Customers

Having a mobile app also opens up whole new areas for you to market directly to people who already are your customers. With your app on their phones, you can directly send them notifications for things like new menu items, special events or sales, or changing operating hours. No more taping a piece of paper to the inside of the door to alert your customers to hour changes even though they won’t see it until they’ve already arrived.

As mentioned above, this marketing can be optimized by being sent to their phones only when they’re most likely to pay attention to it so that you sren’t spamming them with information.

  • Digital Menu and One-Touch Contact

Having a mobile app doesn’t just give you better access to your customers, it gives your customers better access to you.

With tools like one-touch contact, it’s easier than ever for your patrons to contact you to place their favorite orders. As is the case with user experience, this is more significant for restaurants that offer delivery or take-out. However, even if you don’t offer these services your patrons can use the app to call to make reservations or place inquiries.

Mobile apps also allow for you to give your patrons access to a digital menu so that they can decide what they want before they get to the car or place their call.

  • Stand Out from Your Competitors

A lot of restaurants have launched their own mobile apps but not all of them. After all, that’s why we wrote this article and that’s why you’re reading it. Having a mobile app for your restaurant is one more reason for your patrons to give you their business rather than your competitors.

Even if you don’t have a lot of competition from other local businesses, most chain restaurants already have mobile apps. That doesn’t mean that it’s too late for you to catch up to them by launching the service yourself.

  • Better Social Sharing

Word-of-mouth has long been the best kind of advertisement for a restaurant. For one thing, it’s free, and for another people are more likely to trust their friends and family on how good a restaurant is. After all, all restaurants say that they’re great, right?

Word-of-mouth is still the best kind of advertising, it just works a little differently now. People might still talk in person about their favorite restaurants but they’re more likely to talk up their favorite restaurants on social media. They can do this even if you don’t have a mobile app but they’re more likely to share their experience if you do. That’s partially because it’s usually easier to share experiences if there’s an associated app and because, once again, having a mobile app is likely to enhance your customers’ experience.

  • Better Branding Opportunity

We’ve already mentioned a couple of times that having a mobile app helps for your patrons to think about your restaurant more often, as well as making your restaurant easier to find and easier to use. In the end, mobile apps aren’t just another branding opportunity or a better branding opportunity. Having a mobile app is its own branding opportunity.

Increased Telephone Orders from the App

As discussed above, having a mobile app makes it easier for customers to order from your restaurant and when it’s easier for people to do something they do it more often. This doesn’t only make it easier for you to get repeat customers, it also makes it more likely for the customers that you already have to come back more often. You could ignore everything else in this article and wouldn’t increase orders make it all worthwhile?

Building a Mobile App for Your Restaurant with NetMenus

NetMenus is a new service by iScripts that make it easier for restaurant owners to create mobile apps. With a mobile app from NetMenus, you can manage menus, orders and payments as well as perform more complicated actions like compiling reports. NetMenus takes care of all of the backdoor operations so that you can focus on your business rather than focus on coding and website design. You only deal with the important things through a simple administrator page. It’s also cheaper than hiring a coder or developer to create a mobile app for your restaurant, which used to be how it works. That’s why most of the restaurants with mobile apps a chain companies with the extra money in their budget. It’s also how you can compete with multi-million-dollar companies without breaking the bank.

You’re not a web designer or a coder, you’re a restaurant owner. Your restaurant should be your first priority. It could be that that’s why you don’t have a mobile app so far but it’s exactly why you need one. Creating a mobile app for your restaurant doesn’t need to take up too much of your time or your budget but can significantly increase the revenue of your shop by making your restaurant more visible to new customers and more appealing to your established customers. It’s also an affordable and efficient way to help your restaurant compete with the big guys by bringing your brick-and-mortar storefront into the digital age without losing sight of your roots and your mission.

If you are planning to develop your own food delivery app for a single restaurant, restaurant chain or different restaurants in a geography, it would be easier to start with an off the shelf platform. iScripts Netmenus is a turn-key food ordering solution with customizable web and mobile order solution.

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