Does your restaurant need its own app?

 

January 3, 2019

Woman on phoneIf you've bought into the idea that there’s an app for everything these days, your next logical question may be: Then why is there no app for my business?

As the consumer market grows more and more mobile focused, the debate about an app presence no longer exists. You need app awareness. However, drilling down into whether that awareness includes your own personal app can be another matter.

From mobile delivery apps to reservation apps like OpenTable and review apps like Yelp, complete isolation from these services leaves your business in the dark to many potentially new customers. In the highly competitive foodservice industry, you can’t afford to limit your exposure for any reason.

So yes, you need an app presence, but do you need your own personal app?

The answer to that can depend on several things, including the considerations below.

  • Loyalty programs. Loyalty programs have seen a spike in appeal across several industries, including foodservice. An app can be a great vehicle for allowing customers to monitor their rewards while also allowing you to stay in contact with them. Does your restaurant offer a loyalty program? If so, an app would allow you to maximize its potential along your own predetermined parameters.
  • Deals that deliver. Restaurants employ different tactics to bring customers through the door. If your restaurant focuses on daily deals or menu specials that are only available at certain times, an app can help you keep up this constant communication. Research shows that 65 percent of surveyed restaurant customers stated they’d be willing to download an app if it offered them exclusive offers. Deliver deals through your app and customers will take notice.
  • Recognizing efficiencies. Your mobile app could help your bottom line in multiple ways beyond increased sales. For example, if your business delivers or offers car-side pickup, employing your own mobile app could simplify your order-taking routine. Customers can then use the app to enter what they want and pay for it while you gain the ease of clear orders and save money by easing the need to man the phone for such purchases.
  • Proximity marketing. If you’re trying to target your marketing to those in your immediate area, an app powered with Apple’s iBeacon could do just the trick. Whether you’re trying to showcase deals or simply let people know your business is out there, this initiative could be well worth your time, particularly if you compete in a crowded area.
  • Getting social. Is your restaurant already on social media? If so, adding your own app could be a powerful complement to your social media efforts. Your app can ping departing customers to leave a review of their experience on one of your social channels; this feedback can be great marketing for your business, or it can show you ways you can improve.

Adding an app to your menu

While a personalized app may not be an ideal fit for every business, if your restaurant is active on social media, in delivering consistent deals and/or delivery or roadside pickup, you may want to investigate the added benefits an app can offer. Creating your own app is easier than ever, meaning you have very little to lose and, potentially, so much to gain.

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