Are you unsure whether developing a mobile application for your restaurant would be a prudent investment for your business? Are you thinking of diving into the online food ordering a delivery business? Take a look at these statistics to understand exactly what you’re missing out on:
- In 2015, total revenue generated via mobile applications for the restaurant industry reached $160 million. One of the highest revenue growths for any industry in terms of mobile application sales.
- Mobile Loyalty and Rewards programs integrated into the application increase the amount your customer is likely to spend by 15% when purchasing, reports LevelUp. The number jumps up to 72%, when a customer realizes they’re close to redeeming a reward.
- Online and in-app ordering have helped restaurants, big and small, increase their basket size by 25%, says Olo.
- 69% of customers prefer to order food online via their mobile device.
- If they can’t read your menu on their mobile device, you’re losing 62% of your potential customers.
The math is simple.
Whether you’re a 10 table, family-run restaurant or a multi-branched restaurant chain, if you don’t have a dedicated mobile application, chances are you’re missing out on at least a 20% increase in sales.
A consumer facing mobile app is not the only way to improve your sales. You can invest in a holistic mobile solution that lets you improve not just your sales but your restaurant side management of waiters, table reservation, ordering system, payroll, ingredient purchases and much more.
Essential features for restaurant app
Now that you’ve rightfully decided to invest in a mobile application for your restaurant, the next thing to decide on is what features to put in it? We’ve compiled a list of 5 of the most important features every restaurant app needs to have to be loved by the customers. Sure, you can add more features into it, but you shouldn’t compromise on the following features:
Push notification is a double-edged sword; it can make or break your app. Your app will be successful if you use it in a sophisticated and subtle manner. However, if you overuse or abuse it then push notifications can annoy your users resulting in a subsequent loss.
Push notifications must be managed smartly and carefully. Sending an alert in the middle of the night is never a good idea. Instead, ask your customers about the medium in which they want notifications (SMS, Email, Push Notification), also ask them the specific time.
For example, a customer says that he would want only texts in between 6 PM- 10 PM on Fridays, then you must comply your notifications accordingly.
One more thing which you must ensure is that your notifications adds some value to your users and are not plain advertisement or gimmicks. Manage Push Notifications in this manner, and it will help in growing your app substantially.
In-app, online ordering and mobile payments
Online and in-app ordering lets your customers avoid the lines or the wait for the order to be taken and processed. The ability to pay for their orders beforehand takes customer convenience one step ahead.
Other than that, customers who order online tend to visit the restaurant 67% more often than those who don’t. While, 26% customers state they use a restaurant’s app for the ease of making the payment for their orders beforehand.
Not only does it make the lives of your customers easier, it also improves your efficiency and accuracy for handling orders. Both of these advantages give you a clear edge over your competitor, whether they’re right across the street or across the pond.
Before you know it, a big chunk of your revenue will be coming from mobile payments, just like Starbucks’ 21% of all US sales in 2015.
Loyalty, rewards and discounts programs
According to Statista’s survey of 2015, 37% customers use the mobile app to look for discounts. While, 26% customers use the app for Redeeming/earning loyalty points.
Besides these stats, the most important is the fact that the cost of attracting/acquiring a new customer is 5 times higher than the cost of keeping one i.e. earning brand loyalty is cheaper than creating brand awareness and attractiveness.
This is exactly why some of the big names in the industry pay close attention to their loyalty programs. For instance, Starbucks successfully increased their sales by 80% when they introduced loyalty programs.
Read more: Fare the estimate cost of your on-demand app
Location based services
The prevalence of location based services like beacons and geo-fencing have given brands the ability to engage with potential customers, even before they step into the brick and mortar location.
Consider it as the modern day equivalent of handing out flyers to passer-bys, promoting the restaurants deals, discounts, menu improvements and other news. According to LevelUp, restaurants using beacons successfully see 8%-12% new customers, each week.
Multiple platforms (app store & google play)
It’s obvious after developing an app you want everyone to notice it. Moreover, that would be only possible if your app is accessible on different platforms (App Store & Play Store).
Multiple avenues to your app make it visible to all the users of a different platform which in turn results in them downloading and subsequently increasing your users.
Ensure that you maintain the quality of your Apps in each platform. There are few apps whose versions work fine on one platform and struggles on the other as it lacks the quality.
You can hire a Restaurant app development company which will develop your app on both the platforms with consistent quality.
Your restaurant may be small but it may be popular enough that your customers find it difficult to get a table at walk-in. Or maybe, your restaurant is a high-end eatery that only accommodates prior reservations and not walk-ins.
Whatever your situation, your restaurant mobile application should have a table reservation option for your customers. This helps cut down customer frustration that undoubtedly arise from long waits to get a table and gives them the opportunity to perfectly plan their evening.
To manage your restaurant staff and increase efficiency you must have this feature. This feature ensures that your restaurant is never over or underemployed. It also enables you to track your employees’ performance to date.
You can make necessary changes based on your employees’ performances. It eventually increases the efficiency and production as there would always be an optimum number of employees present to finish the task in time.
The prime purpose of this feature is to ensure proper coordination between the chefs and waiters.
It avoids all the miscommunication between them; which ultimately results in increased production with less time consumed. With this features a chef can channelize their effort in such a way that it produces a maximum result with minimum errors. It also helps them to prepare orders sequentially.
Read more: Manage Your Restaurant Staff and Kitchen
Social media integration
Social media integration has become a permanent feature for every app out there. For the restaurant industry even more, what with the customer’s need to review their experience, take pictures of and upload them to their social media accounts like Instagram, SnapChat, FaceBook etc.
Not just that, you can leverage the social media and tie it with your loyalty/discount programs to entice existing customers to earn points and rewards for inviting new customers/friends.
This greatly helps in attracting new customers, while at the same time enticing a onetime customer to become a repeat customer.
Personalization has become a significant feature in On-Demand Applications in the recent past. In this feature the app tracks and analyses the user’s activities & behavior and suggests relevant products & services. It helps in engaging and building your relationship with the customer.
Read more: Loopholes of restaurant mobility system
It also helps in retaining your existing users as they are getting what they want with minimum effort. With personalization, you save them from the hassle of searching their favorite restaurant or cuisines repeatedly.
A chatbot is a relatively new technology, and restaurant app owners are embracing it with both hands. Chatbots are computer programs or AI (latest versions) which mimics conversations with users to provide a solution to basic queries like answering FAQs.
With the use of AI, chatbots are no longer limited to an answering machine which answers fundamental questions. Instead, they have taken personalization to another level. Including this feature can give make your app stand out from the rest.
Customer feedback portal
Customer Feedback is the simplest and most effective way of getting insights to improve your app. It is imperative to continuously review and make necessary changes in your app to keep yourself up with the competitors.
Moreover, who would be the best to review and suggest changes than the users themselves? You must include a feedback system which allows your users to share their experiences as it helps you to know the customers’ demands which you would fill later to enhance user experience.
Whether you’re a restaurant owner looking to improve sales, customer loyalty and retention or you’re an entrepreneur investing in your next venture of online food ordering and/or delivery service – the above features are a must to include into your app.
However, depending on the range of your business and cost of app development your needs, your app can be both consumer-facing and/or business-facing.
If you’re looking to have both, then your app can be your comprehensive solution for handling the day-to-day management of your business as well as your customers.