Media Kit

Fb Share

Remember back in the 1990s, when business owners asked, “Do we really need a website?” My, how quickly that question disappeared. Today the vast majority of businesses now have websites, and for a good portion of those, it’s the only way they conduct commerce.

For restaurants figuring out their mobile strategy, the question, “Do we really need a mobile app?” sounds almost silly. True, many restaurant marketers don’t know how an app would benefit their company, but sooner than later, they will. Market demands will make it crystal clear. Here’s why:

Smartphone use continues to soar. A recent study by Comscore said 57 percent of all mobile users are smart phone users (roughly 134 million people), and the number of tasks performed they perform is mind boggling. According to ABI Research, there are 800,000 Android apps and 775,000 Apple apps available today. That’s over 1.5 million apps managing tasks ranging from altering a home thermostat remotely, managing a family schedule, booking plane tickets and managing loyalty programs.

We all know not all those 1.5 million apps are terribly useful or even frequently used. Apps for games and photography are fun, but they don’t do much for our businesses. Yet, like websites, apps must morph from purposes of convenience to engines commerce—and they will. I guarantee it. Businesses that adapt to apps could be left behind, especially when it comes to marketing.

FastCoCreate.com writer Scott Kveton said it this way: “What is increasingly clear is that mobile will confound the cookie-cutter campaign creator, bother the bulk emailer, and annoy broad-audience advertisers. Brands that rely on traditional, one-way mass media must completely re-engineer their approach for mobile, because when customers perceive marketing as an interruption, they take immediate action to tune you out.”

Tuning into customers’ "frequency" is a matter of giving them an app of value, one that simplifies and/or speeds up purchasing from you. Kveton pointed to the Walgreens Pharmacy app that allows customers to scan prescription bottle barcodes with smartphones to trigger refills. It makes automated phone refills look laughably dated. A Wal-Mart shopping app, he added, aligns users’ shopping lists to in-store aisle locations.

Clearly, many in the restaurant industry are struggling with this. Lots of chains only have calorie count apps for all their menu items or a "nearest restaurant" locator or the apps connect to webpages with menus. But customers typically want to do something more meaningful, like earning loyalty points, engage with brands over social media, or get the latest offers.

Rita’s Italian Ice is one of the few restaurant brands offering a very popular mobile app, Rita’s Rewards to engage customers in a fun and rewarding way. Rita’s Ice fans can earn points whenever they visit, share their experiences with friends over social media, submit a review, play a game, and also get “Cool Alerts” when their favorite Ice flavor is available.   And Rita’s gets insights about every single fans so they can personalize offers to specific stores or customers.

The convenience of having a mobile app, however, comes at a price that only the largest of restaurant chains can afford. Large restaurant brands with deep resources committed to developing such technology; likely no smaller rival has the ability to create and perfect its own app in-house. Luckily, there are many fine third-parties that produce such apps for the restaurant industry.

But even if you find the right vendor to customize an app, you’ve still got to know what app best would fit your customers’ desires. To figure that out, here are some questions to ask:

1. If I need a mobile app, what should it do?

Allow customers to order? Help them find my restaurant? Manage their loyalty points? Pay for food? Provide a two-way communication channel? All the above? Be certain the app meets multiple needs.

2. Who among my competitors has an app, and what, exactly does theirs do?

It always hurts to be behind the curve in competitive situations.

3. By adding an app, what value can I bring to my customers?

For the well-to-do clientele of a pricey steakhouse, an app that helps earn exclusive rewards for high spending might be the right thing. But for a fast-casual chain serving millennials, an app might need to make it easier to order food faster.

4. Is it just a matter of time before I need one?

Even the pricey steakhouse patrons might want to know each night’s specials, have access to an updated wine list, etc., plus the fast-casual frequenting millennials will someday become the fat-walleted fine diners, and they’ll expect an app!

5. Should I build my own app or buy it from a vendor?

The choices are many; you could get a low-cost app by outsourcing the job to entry-level programmers, or a very beautiful app by asking your marketing agency to build you a minimum viable app.

However, the more critical questions you should be asking are:

  • Beyond just a minimum viable app, what functions will you need now and in the near future? How can the app accommodate loyalty programs, gaming, payments, ordering, catering, reviews, surveys, or other functionality your different consumers expect?
  • How will the app reflect your unique brand, your marketing programs, your rules, and at the same time integrate with your point-of-sale?
  • Will the app preserve your freedom to choose the best online ordering app, the best catering app, or any payment technology?
  • Who will be responsible for maintaining the app and make future enhancements that you are almost certain to need?
  • How will you get a substantial number of your guests to use the app?
  • What is the expected Return on Investment (ROI) for your app?

Asking those questions and thinking strategically about the answers will clarify your needs and the timing of your decision. The fact is, though, sooner or later, your business will need a mobile app. The time to consider it is now.

In conclusion, building a mobile app is really about your marketing strategy and automation, and customer engagement.

Related Content

User Comments – Give us your opinion!
  • Andrew Farrell
    29744081
    Market leading Mobile Restaurant Apps from MobiDines! Restaurants get their own private, branded iPhone, Droid, and Blackberry restaurant apps for download by consumers directly on their mobile phones! On your app, Display your menu, get orders, send specials and promotion, and more! www.mobidines.com or sales@pogocorporation.com
  • Andrew Farrell
    29744042
    Market leading Mobile Restaurant Apps from MobiDines! Restaurants get their own private, branded iPhone, Droid, and Blackberry restaurant apps for download by consumers directly on their mobile phones! On your app, Display your menu, get orders, send specials and promotion, and more! Get your apps in 1 week for only $49! www.mobidines.com or sales@pogocorporation.com
  • Dean Greenway
    28511050
    Digital app Developments can build your business app to your brand, allowing customers to book tables, take away orders, leave reviews, see menues & earn loyaly points. We can develop a app accross all platforms to ensure your business is available to as many customers to download. www.digitalappdevelopments.co.uk Info@digitalappdevelopments.co.uk
  • Caren Smith
    25539648
    My friend's husband is a restaurateur in India. He got this fascinating mobile app built for his restaurant marketing from an app builder called "SnapLion". He is now getting very good returns from this mobile app. More repeat customers, more spread of the word, more new guests, more profits. I think mobile app is a must have for any restaurant today for cementing its brand image in business.
  • Andrew Farrell
    25523010
    Andrew Farrellabout 0 seconds ago Market leading Mobile Restaurant Apps from MobiDines! Restaurants get their own private, branded iPhone, Droid, and Blackberry restaurant apps for download by consumers directly on their mobile phones! On your app, Display your menu, get orders, send specials and promotion, and more! www.mobidines.com or sales@pogocorporation.com
  • Ryan McRorie
    22305864
    Great article...we are a restaurant software, app provider for operators (Employee Scheduling, Inventory Management, POS Reporting, Manager Logbook, etc); your perspective on development was spot on. http://www.whentomanage.com
  • Andrew Farrell
    22303093
    Market leading Mobile Restaurant Apps from MobiDines! Restaurants get their own private, branded iPhone, Droid, and Blackberry restaurant apps for download by consumers directly on their mobile phones! On your app, Display your menu, get orders, send specials and promotion, and more! Get your apps in 1 week for only $49! www.mobidines.com or getapp@pogocorporation.com
  • Ian Naylor
    21723433
    Build your own Takeaway App simply with the AppInstitute Business App CMS, no tech skills, or coding, create your takeaway app and start taking orders today! http://appinstitute.co.uk/
  • Andrew Farrell
    21706902
    Market leading Mobile Restaurant Apps from MobiDines! Restaurants get their own private, branded iPhone, Droid, and Blackberry restaurant apps for download by consumers directly on their mobile phones! On your app, Display your menu, get orders, send specials and promotion, and more! Get your apps in 1 week for only $49! www.mobidines.com or getapp@pogocorporation.com
  • William Jenkins
    21195453
    www.mobileappsuite.com Check it out!
  • Andrew Farrell
    21191806
    Market leading Mobile Restaurant Apps from MobiDines! Restaurants get their own private, branded iPhone, Droid, and Blackberry restaurant apps for download by consumers directly on their mobile phones! On your app, Display your menu, get orders, send specials and promotion, and more! Get your apps in 1 week for only $49! www.mobidines.com or getapp@pogocorporation.com
  • Semish Crook
    17644530
    Largest collection of mobile applications i found over http://www.hacktik.com, its just amazing.
  • lori GRAZIANO
    15827245
    I plan to start a small business selling biz apps to ma and pop size operations. Our plan is to market to restaurants, hair salons, ect. We would be a reseller for an app provider. Where would I go for relevant info on this project. Thanking you in advance for your help. Lori
Products & Services

Custom Digital Signage Templates

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/6683.png

6683/Custom-Digital-Signage-Templates

Online Ordering

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/5931.png

5931/Online-Ordering

PeopleMatter SCHEDULE™

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/4628.png

4628/PeopleMatter-SCHEDULE

Javarama coffee

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/6961.png

6961/Javarama-coffee

Hardware

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/4553.png

4553/Hardware

PeopleMatter LEARN™

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/4627.png

4627/PeopleMatter-LEARN

Features

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/4541.png

4541/Features

Social Security Number (SSN) Verification

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/SSN_employmentsearch.gif

1426/Social-Security-Number-SSN-Verification

Put your menu in your customers' pocket

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/1293.png

1293/Put-your-menu-in-your-customers-pocket

Pepperoni

http://global.networldalliance.com/new/images/products/6787.png

6787/Pepperoni

Mobile CRM Director

Latest posts by Jitendra Gupta
Jitendra Gupta
Jitendra Gupta is CEO of Punchh, a mobile CRM suite that includes branded mobile apps for campaigns, games, loyalty, online ordering, payments, referrals, reviews, gift cards, surveys, and integrates with social networks and operators’ POS systems to gather 360° customer insights. Punchh helps restaurants increase same store sales and profitability by driving repeat visits, word of mouth, new customer referrals, and higher returns from marketing campaigns.
Digital Menu Boards and ROI
Fast Casual Executive Summit
Request Information From Suppliers
Save time looking for suppliers. Complete this form to submit a Request for Information to our entire network of partners.