When you're thinking about your business's growth and marketing strategy, you should be thinking "mobile first". With the evolution of the restaurant landscape and advancements in technology, to stay competitive means reaching customers where they are (when they're hungry) and doing so in a way that is convenient and adds value. That is to say, owning some real estate on that smart phone in the palm of their hand.
Still not convinced? As of 2015, 16% of Starbucks's transactions occurred via their app, and that number has only grown from there. That means despite there being a physical location on every corner, consumers jump at the convenience and ease of use of a mobile app.
In 2016, 25% of consumers had at least 1 restaurant app on their phone. Consumers are using restaurant mobile apps to find a restaurant location, browse the menu, place orders for pick up or delivery, and even make reservations. Once they're at the restaurant, mobile devices let customers take photos, check in on social media, search for online deals, and even pay for their meal.
Being mobile-minded means several things to restaurant owners, including marketing strategies that focus on social media and text messaging. It also means having a website and an online ordering presence that looks great and works seamlessly on mobile devices. But even more so than that, it means developing a branded restaurant mobile app.
Benefit 1: Branding
When a customer downloads your restaurant's app, it serves as a reminder that they enjoy and appreciate your brand (not to mention a shortcut to ordering). The key here is remember that the customer's experience is the focal point of your app. It has to be consistent with the users' expectations and understand their needs and motives (i.e. they're hungry and want something quick and delicious). With your restaurant app, you're positioning your business to build a loyal customer base and stay competitive.
Benefit 2: Speed of Ordering
A branded restaurant mobile app encourages more customers to order digitally, saving you labor costs off of your bottom line. The benefits also typically extend to increased order accuracy and higher ticket averages. These metrics are great for your profit margin, but they're even better for your customer's experience as they deliver convenience and ensure a more positive interaction with your business.
Benefit 3: Loyalty Reward Marketing
The app is already in the palm of their hand, and a push notification reminding them they have free bread sticks waiting for them is a nice lock screen surprise.
If you're already utilizing loyalty marketing in your restaurant, going mobile is a great next step to boost your marketing returns. Loyalty programs are more effective if customers have an easy way to track their progress towards their next reward and be reminded when they have one waiting for them. While text message marketing is still being used, many mass texts are being treated as spam by mobile carriers and SMS is becoming less and less effective. As this trend continues, restaurant apps will be the next move forward for marketing your business.
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