There’s a lot of preachy advice out there on how important it is to develop a mobile app and make sure you have a strong mobile presence.But the vast majority of that advice is written by app development companies with no real concern over how well your business eventually does as a result of your marketing efforts… they just want to scare you into signing up for their services by throwing out scary-sounding numbers that may or may not be backed up by actual, published facts.But when you consider that 60% of local searches on mobile convert into buying customers within the hour, and the fact that Starbucks (a company notorious for leading the trends in the food and beverage industry) conducted 16% of their monetary transactions over their app alone.So it’s clear that the ideal of mobile for restaurants is an upcoming trend… but the real question is, is it worth the investment for your business?
For those who aren’t, it’s basically a small device you can set up in and around your location to send push notifications and deals to people in your location’s physical proximity to lure them into your restaurant during meal time.
Beyond that, you can also rely on a person’s GPS settings to tell you where they are and send out relevant deal information if you’ve got more than one location.
The Bookatable app, for example, started using beacon-based technology in 119 of their participating London restaurants, sending push notifications to users of the app who walked within a 50-meter radius of one of the restaurants.
By doing so, they were able to jump out at users of the app who might be looking for a bite to eat, but weren’t sure exactly where to go. By helping totally eliminate or expedite that decision-making process, Bookatable was able to get more visitors into their participating restaurants, boosting their business.
Bookatable offers location-based deals using beacon technology.
But beyond sending push notifications about deals to prompt more purchases, you can make sure people know where they’re going, find the right place, and don’t get sidetracked into another restaurant while they’re walking that last stretch to your restaurant’s front door.
2. Loyalty & Referral Programs
On Black Friday 2015, a pizza joint called Pizza Ranch ran a promotion that gave their customers double points for coming in and buying from them that day, which generated 67.6% more business for that day than they normally do.
It was such a successful and low-cost strategy to employ that their ROI was 780% on the money and time they invested.
One of the biggest reasons this works is the fact that mobile-based loyalty programs are far more personal than the ones that involve a simple punch-card being handed out to every customer who buys a drink.
According to research, 65% of restaurant customers would be willing to download your restaurant’s app if you promised them exclusive offers and deals from time to time, and a whopping 80% of those people would proactively return to your restaurant to reap the benefits… even if it meant they’d have to keep buying a few times before they got anything.
Broken down, that’s 52% of ALL restaurant-goers (which in the US, is just about everyone—so you’ve got over half of the population) willing to download your app and proactively return to your restaurant to redeem deals and loyalty promotions.
Effective rewards programs don’t have to be elaborate or difficult… as you can see with this screenshot from Starbucks.
Beyond that, you can incentivize your customers to refer their friends and family to your restaurant by offering them points or credit towards their bill based on how many people they refer to your location and come in to make a purchase.
Beyond making more money, mobile apps (especially the ordering options for pickup or delivery) make it easier to fulfill your orders.
Instead of having someone constantly man the phones and try to understand what the person on the other end is saying and relying on their handwriting to accurately convey what needs to be done to the cooks, the people responsible for filling orders can see plain and clear exactly what needs to be made, along with any special requirements given by the customer.
And with in-app payment, there’s one less thing your front desk staff or delivery guys have to worry about.
For example, if someone has to call in to place a delivery order, there’s a constant back and forth between them and your receptionist to write down the order, double-check it, write down and double-check the address, and if they pay by credit card, the communication to make sure every single digit is correct.
Taco Bell lets customer customize their orders from directly within their app without having to take the time to speak with someone over the phone about their preferences.