Food for Thought: How Mobile Apps Help Restaurateurs

The relationship between business and technology is a common theme on this website, which empowers entrepreneurs of all stripes by offering tech advice and resources. Continuing that endeavour, this article will look at the value of mobile apps to the modern restaurateur.

The restaurant industry has changed immensely in the past half-decade as a growing number of diners take to their mobile phones for information, ordering, reviewing and brand engagement. Hopefully, this article helps you mobilize your ideas with an innovative app – or, at least, take the first steps toward embracing mobile solutions.

Here’s how mobile apps help restaurateurs.

Engagement and Increased CLV

Let’s start with the most significant way a mobile app aids restaurateurs: increased sales. According to research from Boston College, “empirical analyses show that restaurants benefit” from apps, increasing “total takeout sales while creating positive spillovers to customer dine-in visits.”

Put in lay terms, a restaurant that leverages an on-demand app will likely see increases in sales – both takeout and dine-in. Customers will spend more time considering your menu. They will place higher-value orders per transaction. And if your app is intuitive and sticky, customers will probably order more frequently too. All these factors combine to increase what’s called the “customer lifetime value” (CLV), a metric that tracks a customer’s overall value to your business over the course of your relationship.

Reservation Services

As mentioned, the value of an app doesn’t end at delivery. Your restaurant’s mobile app can feature reservation services that make it simpler for customers to plan their next in-person visit. As younger generations become more “phone call averse” (a widely-noted phenomenon that extends to making restaurant reservations), it is increasingly important for restaurants to offer a streamlined, mobile reservations system.  

Virtual Front-of-House Service

What happens to customer service when a restaurant moves its transactions online? Where are the servers to offer recommendations? Where is the host to manage changes to reservations? Where is the FOH manager to placate displeased customers?

These are great questions. And the answer is straightforward: virtual front-of-house services. An innovative app development company can implement an AI-powered chatbot in your app – essentially a virtual representative capable of understanding and replicating human speech. Chatbots can make food recommendations, answer queries and deal with complaints on behalf of the restaurant. No matter how slammed the restaurant is with customers.

Engagement: Review Posting and Loyalty Programs

A mobile app makes customer engagement easier in a couple of critical ways. For starters, your mobile app can allow customers to leave reviews, which allows them to form a closer connection to your brand while providing you with insightful data on consumer preferences and emotions.

Secondly, you can use your mobile app to drive retention by offering loyalty programs. These can be points programs, punch-card promotions or (less common for restaurants) tiered loyalty programs.

Apps aren’t just a new hoop for restaurateurs to jump through to remain market relevant. They can be built with several features to help you engage with, attract, retain your patrons. Consider talking to an experienced mobile app developer to start the process.




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