4 Ways a Restaurant Mobile App Elevates Your Digital Ordering Experience
Restaurant mobile apps are having a moment. Online ordering has steadily increased over the years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated adoption of digital tools and online ordering.
In fact, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than half of adults have downloaded at least one food related app, with 45 percent adding two or more, according to Bluedot. In 2021, restaurants expect 62 percent of their revenue to come from takeout and delivery. And more than 75 percent of restaurants plan on continuing to offer contactless tech.
At ChowNow, we’ve long touted the effect of mobile apps on customer retention and loyalty. Our data shows that diners who download restaurant mobile apps order twice as often as diners who don’t. If you’re considering a restaurant mobile app, this blog examines four ways it enhances your online ordering strategy.
1. A restaurant mobile app uplifts your brand.
The world of restaurant mobile apps is noisy. There’s no shortage of food delivery apps competing for diner attention. But when you rely on these marketplaces for online ordering, not only do you pay costly commissions, but you devalue your brand. Your customer – they are ordering from you after all – is interacting with the marketplace’s brand, instead of yours. When your customers want to order online from your restaurant, they may very well open up Grubhub or Uber Eats and thumb through dozens of other restaurants to get to yours.
When you invest in your own mobile app, you’re meeting your customers where they are. Your restaurant brand is front and center taking up valuable retail space on your customers’ mobile phones. Your restaurant mobile app keeps you and you alone top of mind. And yet, when it comes to mobile apps for restaurants, there’s a disconnect between consumer behavior and restaurateurs. According to the National Restaurant Association, 43 percent of users place orders on a restaurant mobile app, but only 18 percent of operators offer mobile ordering via their own app.
A recent study by Square showed that 2 out of 3 people prefer to use a restaurant’s own app or website for delivery. Of that group, 61 percent said it’s because they want to better support the restaurant.
2. A mobile app ensures consistency.
Your restaurant mobile app brings consistency to the ordering experience, especially when it integrates with your website online ordering system. This way your diners can rely on a positive and familiar experience every time they order whether they’re on desktop or mobile. Even with something as simple as how your menu is set up, when the ordering experience is predictable, your diners already know where to find their favorite dishes and can order that much faster.
This is perhaps even more important – and apparent – when it comes to multi-location restaurant brands. With a mobile app, online ordering for all of your locations is accessible from the same place. This way your customer’s next order is just a few taps away no matter what side of town they’re on.
Consistency also brings about convenience. When the ordering experience is consistent, your customers don’t have to worry about constantly logging in to different systems or updating their payment methods. Ordering is made simple and even moreso if their order history is saved.
It also provides consistency for the business as well. With a centralized system, you can collect valuable data from all your locations in a single place.
Why It Matters: The Most Overlooked Essential for Multi-Unit Restaurants
3. Restaurant apps enhance communication.
When marketing your restaurant, you can never have too many communication channels. And fewer forms of communication are as heavily engaged as push notifications from your mobile app. With high opt-in and click rates, push notifications are powerful ways for getting your customers to order again. Use them to write a catchy message, to send out a promo code, or announce a new menu item. You can even use them to announce any changes in your operations.
They also serve a critical role in customer experience by alerting customers of order confirmations and when the orders are ready.
4. Mobile apps for restaurants increase visibility among customers.
Earlier in this post, we mentioned your mobile app taking up valuable real estate on your customers’ smartphones, which makes for increased visibility among users. But your restaurant mobile app adds visibility in other key places: the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
Both app stores have a Food & Drink category where your restaurant is listed once your app is live and can be discovered by customers, both old or new. Consumers are most likely to read reviews for restaurants than any other industry, according to BrightLocal. Although reviews on the app stores are meant to review the app themselves, consumers often use the space to comment on the entire experience from the ordering to the food itself and the customer service. Good reviews will only spur more app downloads.
At ChowNow, we build multi-location restaurants their very own restaurant mobile apps for iPhone and Android that integrate right into their online ordering system. Our restaurant partners remain in control of their profits, brand, and customer relationships. With their own app, our partners have an alternative to unsustainable marketplaces that charge between 25 and 35 percent of every order.
Ready to elevate your online ordering strategy to the next level with a restaurant mobile app? Take the next step by talking to ChowNow’s online ordering specialists.