Primary plan reasons why build a mobile app for your restaurantcafe business 02
Primary plan reasons why build a mobile app for your restaurantcafe business 02

3 Main Reasons Why Your Restaurant Needs a Mobile App Right Now

  • 10 min
  • Sep 05, 2018

Daria R.


Business will be business. It always has its ups and downs. If your cafe, takeaway shop, pizzeria, or quick service restaurant is having more downs than ups these days, it’s high time to start thinking about your own mobile application if you still don’t have one. A restaurant app is one of the most effective tools to boost sales, improve brand awareness, and protect your business from downtime.

Today, we consider the most compelling reasons you should build a mobile application for your business and also consider the profit you may get from an app.

The numbers behind it

The mobile industry is constantly growing, penetrating all possible spheres of business. This includes the food sector. Restaurant giants such as Starbucks, Domino’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell have already realized how beneficial mobile transformation can be. They started early and have achieved great results.

Starbucks now gets 60 percent of all orders via digital channels, with more than 3 million mobile transactions per week. Taco Bell boasts more than 10 million followers on Facebook. Global sales for Domino’s Pizza reached $10.9 billion in 2016, of which $5.6 billion came via digital channels. Domino’s has launched more than 10 digital ordering channels including Alexa, in-car systems, and a zero-click pizza ordering app for their customers’ convenience.

Mobile phones have become the primary source for fast information, and instead of looking to TV, computers, or the radio, people go right for their mobile devices to decide where to eat. Here are some of the latest statistics that prove it.

how customers use apps to choose a restaurant

Quite shocking, isn’t it? All of these customers simply won’t see your place if you don’t have a mobile application. Being on Google isn’t enough anymore. People who are on the go need more information about your restaurant to make a decision. They want to see your menu (preferably with images), your location, and whether you have any discounts or special offers at the moment.

reasons for restaurant business to create an app

With a mobile app, you get visibility and more. Here are the most powerful arguments why your restaurant needs a mobile application today.

1. Improved in-house service

A mobile application is a great way to make your customers’ in-house experience better in more ways than one. These improvements can affect the following business aspects.

Order pick-up

The ability to pay in advance via digital payment options (credit/debit card, e-wallet) allows you to dramatically reduce pick-up times. When customers pay in advance, they don’t need to wait in line or even go through a drive-thru lane. Customers can easily pick up their orders when they want to.

For a real-life example, just take a look at the Disneyland app. This app has an Order Food Ahead of Time feature that lets a user select a restaurant, pre-order food, and pay in advance. Customers simply indicate the time they want to pick up their food or drink and get it without waiting in line.

Another example is Dunkin’ Donuts, which has two drive-thru lanes. One is for usual orders and the other is for customers who have prepaid. Guess which lane has a longer line?

Book a table

If your restaurant offers bookings, your mobile app also needs to. A transparent and simple reservation option allows you to plan better. With this feature, you can see when you’re fully booked and can calculate the necessary quantity of ingredients.

What’s more, you can also see when your restaurant or cafe has fewer customers and more available tables and offer discounts to your customers via push notifications during happy hours.

Your options here are endless and depend only on your current needs. You can reward loyal customers who reserve tables in advance, give discounts to those who book for the least popular days and times, and so on.

App-based bookings benefit customers too. Customers no longer need to make phone calls, repeat the same information several times, and spell their names. They can also cancel or change reservations easily, choose the table they like, and pre-order dishes.

Entertain customers while they’re waiting

If you serve dishes that take more than three minutes to cook, you can use your mobile app to entertain customers during this time. You might do this with a simple game that lets users get bonuses or discounts on their orders. Or you might offer something more sophisticated.

For example, Pizza Hut has launched an augmented reality (AR) menu app for tablets that reacts to a trigger in the menu and allows clients to customize their orders, communicate with funny Chef characters, play AR games, make photos with virtual reality objects, and share those photos on social media.

The results of this campaign were stunning. Over the course of a year, Pizza Hut managed to increase dine-in sales by 14 percent and increase average sales per transaction by 12 percent.

2. Engaging customers via loyalty or referral programs

Since 1888, when the world’s first Coca-Cola coupon was released, millions of companies all over the world have created their own customer loyalty and referral programs. Why? Because they really work. For instance, the Dunkin’ Donuts DD Perks loyalty program now has more than 6.6 million loyal customers. And this isn’t the largest brand community in the world.

If you already have a loyalty program based on standard loyalty cards, we highly recommend linking it to a mobile app. Here’s why.

How many loyalty cards people have

The average person carries from two to four loyalty cards wherever they go. That means a user can decide that your card isn’t as important as a card of some other business and leave it at home. Customers will be less motivated to visit your place if they pass by without the card.

But it’s not only physical convenience that persuades people to shift to mobile loyalty programs. There are many more benefits for both customers and businesses. Here’s what customers get:

  • Ease of use
  • No need to carry numerous cards all the time
  • Transparent program conditions
  • Ability to track loyalty program progress
  • Ability to get bonuses from different digital channels

But probably the biggest reason why customers (especially Millennials) love mobile referral programs is that they can get personalized content and special offers just for them.

Only app-based loyalty programs can offer customers all of these advantages.

interest to use loyalty program

As for businesses, loyalty apps bring even more profit. Just consider the following opportunities.

Improve brand awareness and customer loyalty

It’s estimated that 77 percent of mobile phone owners like to get surprise stars, rewards, exclusive content, and special birthday or anniversary offers and that getting these things influences their loyalty to a brand or company.

how messaging impacts your business

Enhance customer engagement

You can have a lot of website visitors, but without a strong and loyal community your chances to failing are high. A mobile rewards system can help you develop that community. Ninety-four percent of e-wallet users save personalized offers and coupons.

Among the best reasons for customers to subscribe to a brand or company are:

  • 55% special sales promotions and deals
  • 52% loyalty rewards points
  • 26% exclusive content (sneak peeks, new products, deals)
  • 25% product information updates
  • 19% store news and events

3. Better customer interactions with your business

Modern customers like to interact with businesses. It gives them a sense of importance. The majority of restaurant chains and food companies try to show how they care about customers, and this approach is effective. Here’s how they do it and how you can do it too.

App as a new touchpoint

A mobile application makes your customers reachable and ready to listen to whatever you want to tell them. Websites don’t give you the same ability to interact and communicate. Once a web page is closed, the communication is over. A mobile app lets you contact your customers whenever you want with the help of push notifications. Here are some facts about it.

how push notifications influence on businesses

Abundance of visuals

We’ve mentioned before that a menu is a must for any cafe or restaurant app. But modern food ordering applications can show customers much more than a website. You can show appealing visual materials that attract customers and make them feel hungry every time they open your app no matter where they are.

For example, is a service that helps businesses create virtual reality menus for iOS applications. This feature easily persuades customers to place an order because of the attractive food images with a great level of detail. Check out this video — and trust me, you’ll be craving a burger.

Feedback promotion

Mobile applications allow customers to rate and comment on dishes effortlessly right from your restaurant. You can ask customers to leave comments via your application and give them small rewards for doing so. This way you can be sure that customers won’t forget to leave reviews when they get home.

You need this feedback because modern consumers read reviews before deciding where to eat. Sixty-eight percent of Millennials always ask friends for their impressions of cafes and restaurants before going somewhere for the first time. People who are on the go need to get this information easily and quickly. Websites don’t fit this criteria.

Meal customization

About 55 percent of millennials say convenience is a top driver when buying food. Customers aged 18 to 34 are huge fans of the concepts of on-demand, grab-and-go, and fast delivery businesses. This category of customers likes everything that makes their lives easier. That’s why they have the most restaurant apps downloaded on their smartphones.

restaurant app statistics

Mobile apps are more convenient than websites and are preferred by Millenials. They want apps that allow them to do the same things as websites and even more, for instance customize food orders.

Among fast food fans in the US, 58 percent claim it’s very important to be able to customize burger toppings, and 50 percent say they like when they can choose the preparation style for the chicken they order.

Knowing this, Domino’s created the Mogul Pizza app. Mogul allows customers to create pizza recipes. After users design a pizza they would like to try, they can order it and share it on social media. If other customers order this pizza, the designer gets a small percentage of the revenue.

A year after the app’s launch, Domino’s reported that 55,000 people had signed up for the service, 160,000 pizzas had been designed, and the company had seen a 44 percent increase in revenue.

Final thoughts

Modern business demands a modern approach, and a mobile app is part of that. Customers use their smartphones all the time and enjoy getting all information with them. It’s difficult to ignore such a large audience. Don’t lose your chance to boost your business today. If you’re ready to start a new, digital era of your business, contact us and describe your idea.

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