The new age of digital technology is upon us. And let’s face it, the days of picking up the phone, dialing a fast casual, and placing a pick up or delivery order are essentially gone. What does a restaurant web & mobile app need to be successful?
Restaurant customers are increasingly expressing this sentiment:
If they don’t have online ordering, I’m not going to call, so I’m not ordering.
With Apple’s App Store receiving more than 1,000 app submissions from developers each day, restaurants are taking notice and throwing their hats into the app ring.
With some restaurant apps being wildly popular and others totally flopping, the burning question has become:
What digital technology do I need, and how do I make it work for my brand?
The Basics of a Winning Restaurant Web & Mobile App
What customers expect from a great webs & mobile app has changed quite a bit over the years.
We no longer live in a world where your app can simply display your locations and menu, and your customers will be impressed with your app.
That being said, it doesn’t mean those facets are no longer important either.
Locations, locations, locations. It seems pretty obvious – your customers need to know where you are located in order to come to your restaurant.
But in today’s day and age, your locations should have interactive maps, hours and other pertinent information that is easy to find and digest.
If the web & mobile app user experience falls short in these areas, you will miss out on potential business.
Including your digital interactive menu on your web & mobile app is a no brainer, but it can be more complicated than that.
Oftentimes, multi-unit restaurants have unique menu offerings at certain locations or have location-specific season menu items.
In these situations, a universal menu isn’t really an option – you need to have custom menus that are unique to each location in order to best cater to your customers.
It’s even better to have a digital web & mobile menu that also allows for seamless online ordering.
There was a time in the world of technology when it made sense for a website or mobile app to exist without offering online ordering. Here’s a newsflash for you – those days are long gone.
Online ordering and restaurant web & mobile apps have become practically synonymous in recent years – but at the same time, most restaurant chains have not risen to the level of technology that their customers expect.
For example, 45 of the top 100 restaurant brands today lack a native app altogether. Those who do have a native app often don’t offer the kind of quality user experience that savvy restaurant app users look for in today’s app market.
If your app doesn’t offer online ordering – scratch that – if your web & mobile app doesn’t offer a quality online ordering experience (seamless, easy to use, intuitive, attractive), you’re failing in the restaurant digital tech space.
Online ordering is more than just online ordering anymore. Online ordering is more than just offering guests a way to skip the line on their lunch hour.
Online ordering has to offer additional features for the convenience of the customer in order to compete and keep them coming back for more.
- Favorite Orders – Web & mobile apps that remember and allow users to easily re-order previous or “favorite” orders preform better than those that do not.
- Payment Processing – Studies show that web & mobile apps that allow guests to pre-pay online or pay in-store rank higher than those that do not.
- Loyalty Programs and Discounts/Coupons – This one shouldn’t need too much explaining – customers love coupons, discounts, and loyalty programs and have come to expect them to be included in restaurant web & mobile apps.
- Intuitive Order Customization – Today’s restaurant customers expect to be able to custom tailor their order to their dietary plans, in accordance with their health concerns, or on a whim – just because. If it isn’t easy to customize an order using your restaurant web & mobile app, you’re missing out on revenue.
- Nutrition Information – People are increasingly concerned with their health and offering nutritional information somewhere on your web & mobile app has become absolutely necessary.
- Catering – If you offer catering, your web & mobile app should at the very least mention these services (no brainer), and if possible, allow for these types of items to be ordered/scheduled online.
- Group Ordering – Offering group ordering can be incredibly worth it (lucrative) in the long run. Think of implementing a user-friendly way for 10+ people in the same office to order lunch together from their own computers/apps to a single order that Carol from HR runs over and picks up. Everyone wins.
- Suggestive Upselling – Providing customers with the option to order an extra drink, dessert, or side before check out can do wonders to increase revenue (and introduce them to new menu items).
Guest Feedback, Reviews and Customer Service
Offering these easy-to-use feedback and customer service app features not only provides your restaurant with valuable, timely information, but reviews allow for trust-building and promotion of your brand as well.
Responding quickly to customer concerns turns upset people into loyal return guests; online social proof is key.
When you sit down and honestly review your restaurant’s web & mobile app presence, ask yourself: Are we doing this the best way that we can?
The majority of top restaurants possess a web & mobile app, and those that do are providing great digital guest experience, and are making more revenue.