The current trend in marketing for restaurateurs points to the use of custom restaurant apps. Custom mobile apps for restaurants pack a power punch of features that can increase sales, improve service and amplify customer engagement. Today, there are mobile app companies with price points for custom apps that can meet just about any budget. The number of people who use iPhones, iPads and Android devices is growing. This growth will not stop any time soon. Restaurateurs who can realize the benefits of leveraging this technology will have their phone numbers, directions, locations, menu, ordering, events, and specials in the pocket of every person who has their mobile app.
Here are the top features for restaurant apps:
Mobile Food Ordering
A restaurant app with a mobile food ordering feature will allow your customers to place an order and pay from any iPhone, iPad, and Android device. This feature must have custom product menu configurations with options, up-sells, and images of your food. Additionally, consider giving your customers the ability to choose dine-in, carryout or delivery. Look for notifications of orders by a recipient printer and email. The mobile food ordering feature can reduce order entry errors, perform auto up-sells and give your customers new interactions with your menu. Look for easy and instant menu updates including prices changes. This one feature can offer you a substantial return on investment for your restaurant app.
Daily or Weekly Specials with Pictures and Videos
Take a picture or create a video of your daily or weekly specials? Yes, you can and you should! Imagine your customers seeing pictures or watching a video of your specials. This will give you an opportunity to be consistent and strategic in your messaging about your specials. Your customers’ experience will be amplified as they see, hear and interact with your presentation. You can promote your app during peak times and allow your customers to watch while they wait for a table.
Adding an Events function to your custom mobile app can increase customer engagement. This feature has an option of allowing your customers to add the event to their devices’ calendar and set a reminder. Add events on the fly. Look for the options to add one time or recurring events with embedded images and videos.
Push Notifications and Messages
This is a must have feature in your app. The ability to send a message to the customers who have downloaded your app is a great way to market your restaurant. No additional costs are associated with sending push notifications. Although some custom mobile app companies will offer this feature at an additional small monthly fee of about $15. Compare push notification marketing to text message marketing. You have 1000 customers who have downloaded your free app and 1000 on your text message list. You send three messages a month. The push notification messages costs $0.00. The text messages costs $1,800/year (assuming $.05 per message x 1000 x 3 x 12).
Easy Customer Loyalty Program
An app with this feature should be easy for you and your customer. You can set up a custom customer loyalty program that allows your customers to receive a freebee after visiting your restaurant a specified number of times. The customer will present the app to the manager or designated person who will stamp the visit as approved by entering a secret code. Everything is tracked in the app. After your customer achieves the number of visits the freebee or coupon can be redeemed. After it is redeemed the process starts over.
Your customers will use the smart mobile devices to scan the QR code. The QR Code can have start and end dates as well as custom conditions for redemption. The process for administration is similar to the Easy Customer Loyalty Program previously mentioned. The exception is that the designated person will have a QR scan code to allow the customers to scan.
This feature will allow customers to stamp the visits themselves based on the how close they are to your location. It uses the native GPS device functionality to determine the distance. It can be configured to allow only one stamp within a certain time period and has start and stop dates.
This feature can be useful to your customers. It also has the ability to calculate the amount each person should pay after adding the tip.
Reservations and Catering
How about adding the ability of your restaurant app to take reservations or catering requests? Both are an excellent way of allowing your customers an easy way to place orders and an easy way for you to manage the requests. Think about placing a premium or up-sells on the booking for large parties. Maybe you want to create a VIP offer and allow your customers to place the order in the app.
Easily get feedback from your customers using a customer service survey form. You could even offer an incentive if your customers complete the survey. You will get more response over a paper system and you can slice, dice and chunk the data to determine areas that need improving and those that deserve rewarding.
e-List and e-Mail Marketing
Your customers use their smart devices to read email. An app with an easy email sign-up process can be golden for your restaurant. You can multiply your returns if you run a “special offer” type of program and you have the ability to capture the customers’ info. Restaurant apps with an easy email sign-up function gives you this opportunity.
Social Media Integration, Fan Wall, Photos, and Voice Notes
Your customers are using the social media platforms to connect. You should have social media profiles and pages in your app. You can even have your own social media fan wall which will allow your customers the ability to leave comments inside of your app. Have your customers take a photo of themselves enjoying your great food and send it to you. Then you could use it in your social media placements. Voice notes are another great way to take advantage of the smart phone native device functionality.