Custom Digital

7 Benefits of a Mobile App for Your Restaurant

May 10,2019

Postmates, Grubhub, Zomato, Open Table, and UberEats. Those are just some of the few apps you pull out when you’re hungry and don’t feel like cooking. Apps have made a wide array of cuisines conveniently come to us, giving us a tiny piece of the world in our pockets. Chances are, your favorite joint’s featured on some food delivery app.

There’s a smaller, but real chance that it has its own app. Several popular restaurants and cafes, such as Starbucks and Taco Bell, have distinguished themselves by creating their own apps just for themselves. With so many platforms their orders can be placed from, why would they have done this? Why would any restaurant do this?

In past blog posts, we’ve already mentioned that having your own app reminds users of you by having your logo on their phone, subtly putting you in front of their minds. It also increases brand awareness when people are searching for apps of similar restaurants and yours shows up underneath. What are the other reasons why a restaurant should have its own app?

  1. Curated menus. Sometimes, it’s optimal to present your menus in alternate ways for your customers to find what they need. Does your in-store/Grubhub menu not have a “high protein” section? On your custom app, you can provide the option of selecting a curated “high protein” menu that won’t appear anywhere else, as Panera Bread’s done. This will make ordering more convenient for someone who really wants your food and lifts heavy. If you cater to health-conscious consumers, we suggest having a “low calorie” menu as well. Just name it something nicer though, like “light fare”.
  2. Room to display more specific item details. If you feel like it would be right to let your customers know your bacon burger has a whopping 1300 calories packed inside, an app is where you can do it without having it visible to everyone, unlike a menu. You can also choose to display other facts such as nutrient breakdown or where the meat came from if the user selects it. This will come in handy for restaurants catering to extremely discerning, health-conscious eaters.
  3. Don’t have to lose profit to a third-party platform. If you’re still rolling your eyes and thinking “this isn’t worth it, I’ll just put my restaurant on UberEats”, think about money. Those apps will charge you to be hosted. You won’t have to worry about this on your own app. Sure, the app will cost money, but if you have enough loyal customers, you’ll make up for it.
  4. Custom loyalty/rewards programs. Whoever loves you enough to be downloading your app probably eats from you multiple times a month. Reward them with some points that translate into special discounts or a chance to win a trip abroad to that country where the main ingredients in your award-winning sauce are from. Don’t make your customers carry a paper card they’ll probably lose. Keep it digital.
  5. Custom discounts. Grubhub and Postmates are only going to give users discounts to your place when they want to. Stay ahead of them by offering your own discounts with your own app, outside of your rewards program. You never know when you’re in the mood to give customers 30% off the entire menu, or just the vegetarian options to promote Meatless Mondays.
  6. Push notifications. We’ve touched on the usefulness of push notifications in our previous posts. How could a restaurant make use of them? As stated before, they’re more likely to see a push notification right away than an email. Let them know about that aforementioned 30% off right away. This will also save you some money on graphic design. Give your customers the option to receive notifications for whatever they’d like, including when their delivery is in transit or if the delivery driver is completely lost.
  7. Customized, effective customer service platform. Like with Uber, you could even develop a system where the customer can text and call the driver without giving personal information. Put a chatbox with notifications. Even if this can be done on your website, remember users are often ordering from their devices.

In the end, it’s up to you to decide what to do with your restaurant’s app as long as there’s some way to distinguish it from using existing platforms. The goal should be to serve your customers  as much as possible by providing them convenience, amazing customer service, timely deals, and relevant information. In an urban area abundant with restaurants, this is your chance to stand out from your competition.

Get in touch with SM Innovations today if you’re and influencer with a substantial following. We can get you a personalized mobile app for your brand within 1-2 weeks and with flexible pricing. And best of all, we have strategists and designers that will do a deep dive into understanding your brand!