We don’t think so and neither should you!
We know, we have already discussed the benefits of having a mobile application, but we are sure it is not enough. At least, not for restaurant businesses.
“Restaurants and Mobile Apps? They’ve run out of ideas”
Well, not really, we’ve carefully chosen the topic of this article: for example, did you know that 65% of UK consumers would download a restaurant’s app to access deals?
This is just one of the amazing insights discovered by Judo Payments in 2014.
40% of frequent restaurant visitors prefer to order online.
But this isn’t over: in September 2016 a Deloitte study finds that 40% of frequent restaurant visitors prefer to order online, while a RetailMeNot study based on a sample of the U.S. adult internet population highlighted that 1 in 4 consumers have at least one restaurant-specific mobile app on their smartphone.
In recent years companies like Just Eat, Deliveroo, Foodora modernized the concept of “home delivery”: in the same way Yelp, OpenTable and Tripadvisor changed the way we look for a place to eat.
In the Digital Age, dining out became more and more technologically-oriented that, so far, it is common to check how many “stars” a restaurant has before ordering a meal, take a look to its Instagram to see their plates and control its Facebook to discover special offers.
Already in 2015 Starbucks’ Mobile App Payments represented 16% of all Starbucks transaction, a percentage which translates into $1,6 billion.
We know, Starbucks is a notorious company, but this data represents one of the million reasons why a mobile app (or, at least, a digital marketing strategy) worth the investment for your restaurant.
For now, we are focusing on Mobile Apps: Why?
Check out these 7 functions that can revolutionize your business!
1. Set Up Reservation
An application can be useful both for you and your customers. For a customer, it is easier to look for a place to eat knowing in advice if there is a table. To have the possibility of setting up a reservation directly on an app, immediately after checking the menu, it’s an indisputable convenience. For waiters it is easier to manage the customers: they have the situation under control, the tables are automatically occupied and they can “free them” on a system after cleaning up – everyone, with a quick look to a tablet or a computer, can have the entire situation under control.
2. Digital Menu
A digital menu is essential for a business: who doesn’t take a look at a menu before going to a new restaurant? And pictures, for sure, can help us during the selection of the dishes.
Moreover, a paper-menu isn’t easy to update: if a restaurant wants to change the ingredients of a dish, exclude one or add another, the owner has to print it again.
A digital menu is easier to update and it is more appealing to a customer.
3. Easier way to Order
If in the past few years you’ve been in a McDonald, you have surely seen their kiosks, touch-screen panels which allow customers to order and pay for their meal, customizing their food while reducing opportunities for human error.
This experience can be reproduced by a mobile app, thereby avoiding queues in front of these kiosks while maintaining their benefits.
Not to mention the benefits for a home delivery/takeaway restaurant: no risks of misunderstanding, no double-checks between the staff and the customers and, most important, easy payments. Factor which brings us to the third useful function.
4. Faster Payments
In-App payments are more and more common: with a simple click, the customer is able to pay its bills without taking a queue.
No waiting, no more awkward “Do I have enough cash in my pocket?” or “I can’t remember my credit card PIN”, just a simple click.
As we mentioned before, this is a big improvement for a restaurant, especially those who offer home delivery and takeaway services.
For example, delivery guys don’t have to worry about the payment and the customers, for their part, don’t need to find the exact change.
A insight: according to Food Tech Connect, 98% of 18 to 34 year-olds who’ve paid a bill via mobile would like to do so again and 40% of them actually prefer a mobile payment over other options.
5. Personal Area for Loyal Customers
Personalization is a hot marketing topic: customers are looking for more tailor-made experiences, based on their behaviors and their tastes.
Then why don’t try to personalize their experience in a restaurant?
Offer them a selection of their favorites dishes, propose new plates based on their tastes and give them the possibility to create lists.
This aspect could completely change, for example, the experience in an all-you-can-eat restaurant: isn’t it easier to place the order if we have a smaller selection to choose from, based on our taste and previous choices? Or, even better, it would be quicker to order meal if we have the possibility to save a must-have products list – because we all have must-have dishes.
Bonus: all the data collected from your customer behaviors can help you to build an efficient communication and marketing strategy!
This aspect could boost the way to communicate with customers.
Think about it: it’s lunchtime and one of your loyal customers is near your new PV, but he doesn’t know its existence. He is not from around here and he is thinking about something else, so its search its focusing on a different kind of cuisine. Wouldn’t it be great to send him an SMS or a push notification to let him know your presence? Maybe he’d be much happier to eat in a restaurant he already knows and likes rather than try a new one and risk of being disappointed.
In addition, through notification its possible to keep consumers up-to-date about promotions, deals and, when they don’t show up at the restaurant for a while, it could be used as a reminder.
As we said at the beginning of this article, Yelp, OpenTable, Tripadvisor and these kinds of online platforms changed our way to dine out. Now, in order to easily attract new customers, we should have a loyal client base who can vouch for us.
How can a mobile App help us?
Through it, we have the possibility to communicate directly with our customers. If one of them run an order or a payment, we are able to ask them to review our app, our services and share their experience on social media.
An advice: Try to encourage your customers with a Loyalty Program