There’s not a single industry on the planet that hasn’t been disrupted by the smartphone age in one way or another. As more and more people move to smartphone devices, almost all businesses are looking to get a foot in. Mobile apps are changing the way restaurants do business. Statistics show that 60% of local searches on mobile convert into buying customers within the hour, and the fact that Starbucks (a company notorious for leading the trends in the food and beverage industry) conducted 16% of their monetary transactions over their app alone.
So it’s clear that the ideal of mobile for restaurants is an upcoming trend… but the some real question are? • My restaurant is working perfectly, why do I need an app? • What does an app do for my restaurant? • Will an app improve customer service and customer loyalty for my restaurant? • Must I have a restaurant app just because my biggest rival has one? We’ve got 9 reason points to present to you why a restaurant mobile app is essential to your business. Reservations Taking online reservations via your mobile app makes perfect sense for your business and your customers. Your employees might currently be tied up on the phone taking reservations, busy cancelling reservations, or wasting time shuffling tables around. Mobile reservations can make things more efficient, by allowing customers to schedule and cancel their own reservations. This gives your front-of-house staff more time to handle other tasks, and makes things more convenient for customers as well. Online Order Online ordering systems are great tools for customer convenience. Having a mobile app with online ordering allows your customers to place orders for takeaway and home deliveries via the app, making ordering only one simple click away. You also eliminate your competition from the user experience. Your customers no longer have to use a 3rd party online ordering app which lists your business next to all your competition. Push Notifications Push notifications are a great way to alert your customers about sales, specials and one-night-only deals. You can send out messages to those that have your app regarding events, specials, and more. This makes it easy to communicate with fans and drive engagement and activity on demand. With notifications, you open a channel to your customers that tends to far outperform email or other communication methods. Push notifications are a direct line to your customer base, and can be a powerful way to increase business.
Customers can check in from your location and also post to social media via your app. This helps you leverage social media networks to earn more business. Essentially, your customers can help spread the word about one of their favorite restaurants, and you can earn new fans.
You’ve probably seen loyalty programs offered by retailers and department stores, but were you aware that you can offer the same thing through a mobile app for restaurants? Just send out vouchers and e-coupons to everyone who has downloaded your app. According to research, 65% of restaurant customers would be willing to download your restaurant’s app if you promised them exclusive offers and deals from time to time, and a whopping 80% of those people would proactively return to your restaurant to reap the benefits… even if it meant they’d have to keep buying a few times before they got anything.
If your customers are having a good time, your mobile app can make it easy for them to submit a favorable review of your business online. The better your online reputation is, the more new business you’ll earn when searchers are looking to explore new dining options in their area. A restaurant with good reviews is almost always the top of the list when it comes time to try a new spot out.
There are many ways you can use your restaurant mobile app to engage with your customers. For example, if you have an online gallery, people can submit, share and rate photos of their meals much like they already do on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram.
Social Media Integration
Mobile App is an easy first step into the world of digital marketing. Viral content is the new currency of businesses, and having a strong social media presence can help you achieve it. Let your app serve as a launching point for your virtual branding.
Get ahead of the competition
The bottom line is that there are plenty of customers that prefer online ordering at this point, and your competitors may already be gearing up to serve them. By publishing your own ordering app, you stay at the forefront of customer service and convenience. This means that an ordering app can become another competitive advantage for you.