The increasing dependence of people on mobile online search has created newer habits amongst internet users. Food outlets, restaurants, and diners are the businesses that have been impacted to a great extent by this paradigm shift in how people seek and find their information. The ease of getting any information at their fingertips has created a need for an online presence for all businesses. Since food is the most basic necessity of man, the search queries around it are more than any other. Be it looking for recipes or finding restaurants and eateries that serve people’s favourite food, mobile searches have revolutionized the way we consume food or information around it.
In a few recent surveys, a majority of internet users have reported that they searched for restaurants or an eatery using mobile devices. If we look at the data from various app stores, the market share of restaurant-related apps has been one of the highest in terms of growth rates in the last few years. Technology has been transforming the way restaurants conduct their business, and apps have emerged as one of the vital parts of their technological endeavors — aimed towards greater revenue.
Want to know more about restaurant apps, their benefits, and how can you make your restaurant business profitable with the help of its app? Stay with us and keep reading.
In this article, we will discuss the benefits of having a separate mobile app for a restaurant. We will also touch upon the trends in the restaurant business related to restaurant apps. Ultimately we will provide a step by step plan for restaurant app performance marketing. So let’s begin.
Food Delivery Apps vs Restaurant Apps
Numerous food delivery apps have popped up in different parts of the world and have been aggressively marketed. These food aggregation apps have also held the lion’s share of the online food delivery business for the longest time of their existence, and for a brief period, individual restaurant apps even got sidelined because of their sudden emergence and eventual popularity. The trend has seen a major shift in the last few years as restaurant apps have made a comeback because of the unique and exclusive benefits offered on these apps.
Food delivery aggregator apps offer a range of restaurants, eateries, and other food joints in one place, and you might ask why in such a scenario are individual restaurant apps even required? To start with, it’s not so black and white because there are several layers to the ‘food delivery app vs restaurant app’ dilemma. Bear with us, we are going to throw some light on it in a few sentences.
Food delivery apps provide discounts and offers on food delivery, but an app can serve beyond just the purpose of ordering food. For instance, restaurant apps can be a one-stop source of the latest offers and special menus crafted just for a particular day. They can also serve as a platform for booking tables at the restaurant and availing offers exclusive just to the restaurant app users. Food delivery aggregator apps try to compete, but the exclusivity of the restaurant apps can be seldom matched.
Food delivery apps also have some other drawbacks that can hurt restaurants and their reputation amongst their customers. There are several problems with these apps that are known to impact the revenue options of restaurants. These problems can include but aren’t limited to:
- Commission rates charged for using the services of these apps are often very high.
- Although food delivery apps promise the best food delivery service, the quality of delivery may not be guaranteed.
- Since these apps have many restaurants to offer at one place, with each of them having different offers, ensuring constant visibility to all app users is challenging.
- Naturally, the margin of competition is considerably heightened because of the availability of numerous restaurant options on one app.
For the reasons mentioned above and more, restaurants have started gravitating towards getting their apps developed through a large pool of readily available app development talent in the market.
Reasons and Benefits of having a Restaurant App
- 1. Reaching out to your local audience
Restaurant apps help in localization of which ultimately leads to better conversion rates. Availing the geo-location marketing benefits can be made super easy with the help of individual restaurant apps. These apps help a restaurant to reach local customers. Localized marketing is one of the most effective ways of attracting users — restaurant apps can take advantage of this.
- 2. Better Reservation Service and Tracking
Booking a table at a restaurant can be a cumbersome task for users, and bigger restaurants keeping a hassle-free record of the same can be challenging at times. Well developed apps can solve this problem by offering end to end reservation service and tracking. Users get a more convenient overall experience when they have easier access to mobile reservations.
- 3. Increasing Brand Awareness
Brand awareness plays an important role in attracting and sustaining customers — the most crucial bit for a restaurant business. Restaurant apps help in improving the scope of brand awareness. A restaurant app on a user’s smartphone can serve as a reminder because of the notifications and in general.
- 4. Option of providing a personalized user experience
Restaurant apps can utilize the personal information provided by users when they sign up to design and send personalized offers and messages — this helps improve the overall brand experience. Personalization of app-based experience is also a precursor to better customer retention.
- 5. Review and Feedback Mechanism
Apps can be a great way to offer a mechanism for retrieving feedback from customers. Feedback and review serve as notifiers of points of improvement to make the customer experience impeccable and as flawless as possible. It also provides insights that can help you get an idea for business expansion.
- 6. Enhanced customer loyalty and increased revisits
Restaurant apps can offer loyalty programs and points which could be redeemed later. Customers like to feel that their loyalty to a brand is recognised and rewarded; thus, rewarding schemes through the app can help enhance customer loyalty. As a result of increased loyalty, customers pay regular revisits helping the revenue base of the restaurant.
Having a well-designed app is highly recommended to succeed in the modern restaurant landscape of the digital age. A functional, soundly executed app can prove to be the difference between you and your competitors.
Steps to Ace Restaurant App Performance Marketing
Now that we have established and learnt about the different ways in which an app can help a restaurant business, it’s time to learn about an effective plan to utilize these benefits for successful performance marketing. Marketing is one of the major goals that can be achieved by the use of restaurant apps, as they hold unlimited potential for the same. Let’s take a look at the steps involved in setting up a restaurant app for performance marketing success:
- 1. Building Brand Identity
Apps can aid in performance marketing by helping a restaurant build brand identity. Having an individual app is seen as a marker of the seriousness and commitment of a restaurant towards serving their customers. A favourable brand identity is one of the most vital factors customers look forward to when they choose a restaurant. Marketing principles always highlight the importance of having a brand identity that attracts customers and urges them to stay. An app can serve as the vehicle through which brands can spread awareness about their services, their delicacies, the qualification and experience of their chefs, assortment and procurement of the ingredients they use, etc. All of this helps in cementing a brand identity.
- 2. Learn About Customers and Personalize their experience
Knowing a user and their preferences is the cornerstone of marketing because an unaware business can only go so far in achieving their goals, including profit generation. A mobile restaurant app helps in finding out vital information about users when they install and sign up on your restaurant app. An app that is smartly designed makes the customer feel that they are not being asked to furnish a lot of personal details, instead, their food preferences are gauged through cleverly designed in-app questions. Thus, a restaurant app helps you to know your customer better. It becomes easier to personalize their restaurant experience based on this information.
- 3. Offering In-Restaurant Perks for app use
Customers love perks and benefits and therefore offering them exclusive in-restaurant offers for installing and using your app can be a great incentive. We want to streamline and achieve our marketing goals through our app, but for that, we need the app to be installed on as many functional mobile devices as possible. Offering one-time free food for app usage and installation is a tried and tested method. New customers get attracted to your restaurant and install your app all in one go — to avail a free coffee or a free burger, etc. This one-time investment increases long term benefits through other marketing strategies that can be pushed using the app.
- 4. Implementing Viral Marketing through the app
Viral marketing trends can be surprisingly beneficial in attracting new customers to the restaurant. Having in-app promotional games, rewarding referrals, and providing limited period irresistible offers help to attract customers to the app, and thus, the restaurant. Giving incentives for having the app shared with a user’s friends and family also helps embolden performance marketing efforts.
- 5. Introducing Loyalty Programs
Having a revenue base intact is the prerequisite for being experimental with marketing shenanigans. To focus and improve performance marketing for better outcomes, restaurants need to have a safety net in the form of returning customers. Introducing in-app loyalty programs can aid in forming a customer base. A restaurant app can introduce the system of earning loyalty points or something on the same creative lines for customers who visit often. Each restaurant visit or online order through the app should add to these loyalty points — which can be used later for in-app or in-restaurant purchases.
- 6. Timely Alerts and Notifications
Restaurant apps can be really effective for marketing purposes because they can be used to send notifications and alerts to signed up customers regularly, informing them about the latest offers and new menu items. When customers timely receive these alerts on the app, they are more likely to act on them — saving time and money for large scale external advertising.
- 7. Automation of Delivery Tracking
One of the basic functions a restaurant app is expected to serve is handling the delivery of food. Most food aggregators provide and advertise their delivery prowess to woo customers who order food. Therefore, a restaurant app must withstand this competition. Automation of real-time food delivery tracking is a must for making your restaurant app the driving force of your marketing strategy. If your app is well-developed to handle automated delivery tracking, providing users with a minute by minute visual representation of the food en route, you have a solid marketing factor in your favour.
- 8. Enhancing Customer Service through Automation
To drive the purpose of having a restaurant app home, customer service needs to be a core element of the app. Any marketing strategy needs to match the real-world implications of being in the service industry — the need for satisfactory customer support in the face of problems faced by the customers. The initial steps of customer service must be automated with the help of the app so that the customers can feel that their grievances are taken care of promptly. Marketing on the back of a great customer service experience fetches results in the form of customer attraction and retention.
- 9. Take Feedback and Improve
Last but not least, feedback is the backbone of implementing required improvements in the app and restaurant service, as has been discussed before. The app should be designed in such a manner that allows users to leave feedback easily, and also notifies them when some action has been taken based on their feedback. When customers are informed about the tangible effect of their feedback, they are more likely to share the app with friends and family and help provide business to your restaurant.
In an increasingly digital world, having an app has become more of a necessity than a fad for businesses and brands. The restaurant industry is no different because it thrives on customer satisfaction and recommendations. Having a restaurant app can prove beneficial for streamlining the marketing strategy and reaping the benefits of its implementation. Following the above guide step-by-step can guarantee success for your restaurant by acing restaurant performance marketing.