Over the past 5 years mobile apps have become an increasingly popular way for businesses to reach, sell and communicate with their customers. Many big companies are finding a way to deliver their product or service through a mobile app because they understand how valuable the smartphone is to their customers. Just about everybody you know has their phone within three feet of them 24 hours every single day...
It is said that the average smartphone user opens their phone an average of 46 times per day. A mobile app provides a native experience for your customers to efficiently and effortlessly order your company's products. Wouldn’t it make sense to sell your goods or services through this medium if you want to maximize profits? Almost every business owner considers investing in a mobile app for their business. Mobile apps will help improve sales to generate more revenue, add to their company’s brand awareness and provide a better connection & experience to the customers. Restaurants are turning to mobile apps tvo provide a convenient on-the-go order service to their customers which has proven to be very effective. Recent surveys show that almost 80% of United States mobile phone users are using smartphones about 4-5 hours a day and it is increasing day by day. Mobile apps could be the best way to reach loyal and potential customers for any restaurant business.
The benefits of mobile apps in the restaurant industry specifically can be overviewed in two ways – The benefits for the Customers and the benefits for the Restaurant Owners.
Benefits for Customers
Smartphones help simplify everyday processes for the people that use them. Whether it be ordering food, communicating with friends or even ordering a personal driver, mobile apps help you save time, find the best prices and conveniently order anything you desire. Mobile apps have made it possible for your smartphone to have an unlimited amount of capabilities, making your smartphone more than just a communication device. Over the years we have personally experienced apps changing the way we go about our everyday lives. One major change that has taken place is the way consumers order their food.
Here are some top benefits users can get by using a restaurant’s mobile app:
Mobile ordering: One of the best features restaurant apps offer is mobile ordering. Customers can view menu items with pictures to entice the customers, while also allowing them to order on their own time. Depending on the restaurant, mobile apps provide the ability to place both delivery and pick up orders. Some restaurant apps also give their customers the capabilities to place an order for a future date, allowing the customer to order even when the store is closed.
Easy Method for Saving Info: Most restaurant apps have a very easy way for you to create an account. When you create an account you can save all of your personal information such as your name, phone number, email and delivery address so that you never have to enter this information again when ordering. Also credit card info can be securely stored, saved and available for use of future orders. All credit card information will be secured through a payment processing service like Stripe for example. Saved addresses and payment methods allow customers to conveniently check out very quickly, resulting in more frequent orders. To get even further into saved information… the best restaurant apps allow you to save your favorite order and even your favorite items in the app for easy access when creating the next order.
Rewards for in-app Purchasing: Restaurants usually have an app for the main purpose to make their customers lives a whole lot easier. But what can that restaurant do to make you come back for more of their food instead of the competitions? REWARDS! Most restaurant apps allow customers to get reward points for every dollar spent ordering through the app. Those points accumulate which lead to more discounts and promotions! Sometimes customers can also get reward points to share the app with their friends. One really cool rewards program requires the customer to scan a QR code printed on each receipt to earn discounted and even free items. Rewards programs are exciting for the customers and keep them coming back more frequently.
On the Customers Time: A mobile app for a restaurant enables the customer to truly take their time in the order process. Traditionally calling up a restaurant for a delivery can be disastrous experience for some people. These events can actually stop you from ever ordering food:
• Phone is busy and call never gets through
• Having to repeat yourself
• Uncertainty if the restaurant has taken the order correctly
• Being put on hold
• Disrespectful tone or attitude from the restaurant employee on the phone
• Never given the total price/ estimated time of delivery- would have to call back
• Simply do not like to order over the phone
With an app in place, ordering food for customers has never been so easy and convenient for customers. The best apps offer different options for payment methods such as cash, credit card, Apple Pay and Google Wallet. Some restaurants offer cash upon delivery for their customers. Mobile apps help simplify the order process and provide the customers with an enjoyable experience.
A mobile app well integrated with in store business operations will result in customers never having the call the restaurant… ever again
Benefits for Owners
Owners of any restaurant can have the biggest advantage by having a mobile app for their restaurant. Here are some of the top benefits owners get with their app:
Increases Brand Awareness: A mobile app can increase your business’ value and give community awareness to your restaurant. Giving your customers the ability to enjoy all your restaurant has to offer, conveniently from the palm of their hand is priceless..
When people start to hear and see your app, it’s only a matter of time before they place an order of their own and then tell their friends about the experience. Especially if you are among the first wave of small businesses in your location with an app, you can assume people will talk about it.
Reducing workload for the Staff: By allowing the users to order their own food on their own time gives the owner a peace of mind knowing his staff will have a lot less responsibilities on the ordering side of the business. This would give new responsibilities to the employees like focusing on the restaurant instead of the phone waiting for orders. When customers are placing their orders through the mobile app, the staff only has to focus on making sure the food is made and ready. This gives them more time to focus on the customers inside the store. Restaurants can spend less time taking orders and more time making food.
Increasing Take-out and Delivery orders: Having a mobile app is beneficial for takeout and delivery orders. When your app is downloaded, your app icon sits on your customer’s home screen forever. This means they will see it on a daily basis and next time they are hungry they are one click away from beginning an order. With restaurant apps, ongoing incentives is crucial to recurring orders. With an app and proper customer incentivization you can expect a large increase in delivery and pickup orders, you’ll most likely need to hire more drivers.
Better customer engagement: The restaurant can use the mobile app to communicate and engage with their customers more effectively than ever before. The best apps allow you to send out custom notifications and maybe even in-app messages to offer your best deals and promotions. Many mobile apps also enable customers to leave reviews. With reviews, the owner can attain some great quality insight and advice to get better results for their restaurant. Considering social media is just about taking over the entire world, word of mouth becomes a public service announcement. Great apps allow customers to share content through social media promoting your restaurant. Referral programs done correctly online create virality.
Finding Loyal Customers: Mobile apps are a great way for finding your target customer. Every customer is different. With so many different demographics to keep track of, owners can now see analytics and metrics of the growth of their app. With tracked analytics on your app you can segment your customers by age, location, gender, top spenders etc. After understanding who your customers are and viewing their spending habits, owners can then plan marketing strategies accordingly. You’ll also have the option to run a marketing campaign to your most loyal customers. Understanding your customer and their habits will give owners a step ahead of the market and create more loyal customers. As mentioned above, discounts, promotions and giving reward points to the customers for buying food and sharing restaurants mobile app will also increase a customer's loyalty.
Standing out from local competitors: Having a mobile app that is more advanced and accessible can give the restaurant an excellent boost both in the terms of revenue and exposure. Most small businesses today still don’t have their own app. This gives your business the edge when you are amongst the first few in the area. When your business is able to provide the desirable mobile ordering experience, your customers will not look anywhere else. Most franchises and larger corporations either already have or are beginning to build their own apps because it is where the attention of the customer is currently. By having your own app, you will be able to compete with the best of them and stand out far from your local competitors. As long as the restaurants food and service are just as great as the features on their mobile app, you can almost guarantee new lifetime customers who will bring more success to your app than you believed possible.
In a very short period of time, food delivery and restaurant mobile apps have succeeded tremendously. On a daily business mobile apps are increasing the revenue for business owners and keeping their customers coming back for more! If you are a restaurant owner, it is inevitable to join the mobile market before your competitors force you to. Enhancing your business as a whole is a goal of every business owner. However giving your customers an insurmountable ordering experience will be the determining factor to the unlimited success your app can have in your local market.