Why Restaurants Are Jumping On The Mobile App Train

The ubiquity of mobile apps has become our reality and customers now spend most of their time glued to their smartphones. Increase in the mobile app usage created new marketing opportunities for restaurants to improve customer experience, but also to boost sales and revenue.

Here’s how some of our clients, restaurant owners, boosted their business and improved customer experience using a dedicated mobile app built on Shoutem.

Increase visibility and raise brand awareness

By the end of 2016, it’s expected that US smartphone and tablet users will spend an average of 3 hours and 5 minutes per day using mobile apps. Although the pace of mobile usage is slowing down, the grow is still expected in the next few years. The data from RetailMeNot revealed that a majority of customers had used their smartphone to find a restaurant location and 49% had used it to browse a menu.

With customers focused on their smartphones, restaurant owners now have a chance to reach potential customer easier than ever. Put your restaurant on a “digital map” of app stores and enable users to find you as fast as possible. Once they notice you, they will give your app a chance and see if they can benefit from downloading the app.

Boost app downloads

Onboarding users sometimes can be a difficult, time-consuming task. With over 2 million apps in the App Store and 2.2 million apps in Google Play, according to Statista, getting users attention seems like a mission impossible. However, here’s where creativity comes in play.Shoutem_rest_app_1

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As guests are waiting for the order to come at the table, they’ll want to check their email, update Facebook status or send a Snapchat. They probably don’t want to use their mobile data if you have Wi-Fi, so they’ll ask you for the password. Set up your router setting to open a special landing page once the device is connected to Wi-Fi network. Landing page should inform the guest about your mobile app, point out the benefits of the app and have a call-to-action button to invite user to download it. More app downloads means more engaged users which lead to better sales result.

Differentiate from competitors

Staying ahead of the curve should be one of the top priorities of your restaurant business. To stay on the top, it’s important to always keep one eye on what competitors are doing and try to differentiate in a unique way. Restaurant owners are becoming aware of the power and importance that mobile apps bring.

One of the best examples is Cotto Enoteca Pizzeria and here’s what they’ve said about the app: “I think the app has really allowed us to differentiate ourselves to our customers. There has been only good feedback from our customers.”

Provide a value

Once the app has been downloaded, your ultimate goal is to keep users returning and using the app. It’s not enough to publish the app and expect to run and maintain itself. To keep users engaged, they need to benefit from the app and it needs to have some value for them. Update the app periodically with latest news and updates. There are few modules that can be used to keep your users engaged, like Loyalty program, Special deals, and Push notifications.Shoutem_rest_app_2

Also have in mind that 2015 was the first year that Americans spent more dining out than they did on groceries and it’s projected that in 2020, America will spend $101.6 billion at casual restaurants. Be sure to carefully plan your marketing and sales campaigns to capitalize on these opportunities.

Connect with customers

The time of loyalty stamps and physical loyalty cards ended with the rise of mobile apps – why would customers want to carry them around when they can have access to loyalty program with one simple tap?

Loyalty program is a perfect tool for extending a lifetime value of your customer and converting potential customer to regular one. Customers love to be rewarded from time to time; it doesn’t have to be anything expensive, but carefully adjusted to amount of money that users spent – a free espresso of will bring the smile to your customer.

Building relationship and understanding customer behavior is of crucial value. To execute marketing campaigns effectively, you need to get to know your app users, their buying habits and preferences. You don’t want to send special steak deal to your vegan customer, do you? Understanding and connecting with customers is just one of the 5 business benefits of mobile loyalty app.

Don’t miss the mobile app train

While research from Edgell Knowledge Network found that majority of the US restaurants plan to invest to improve operational efficiency and customer engagement, most diners still have not encountered in-restaurant tech. Collecting customer data, connecting and engaging with customers on a more personal level, meeting their needs with a restaurant app and will ultimately keep customers returning and can skyrocket your restaurant business.