Why restaurants need a mobile app

January 9, 2014

It has reached a stage where we rely on our smart phones for pretty much everything. We set reminders, set our alarms, check how our friends are doing, find directions from A to B, shop, browse, play, think, read, inspire and so on. The list is endless. It is time for industries to catch up with this obsessive trend and provide platforms for users to engage with them on their smartphones. One industry that needs to jump on this bandwagon is restaurants. This is why.

The numbers don't lie:

In the last three years, iOS and Android users downloaded around twenty thousand millions apps and in the second half of 2013, more smartphones were sold than regular mobile phones worldwide. These numbers speak for themselves. Your restaurant and business needs to be in front of this captive audience.

Stats so far:

It is safe to say that the majority of restaurants in the world are online in some capacity whether via a website of their own or on a social sphere. However, when you start looking at other stats in the US American Magazine Hospitality Technology study, only 34% of restaurants use QR codes and a mere 27% use marketing techniques compatible with smart phones.

Why restaurants need to use smart technology:

The answer here is simple: Consumers love their smartphones. The market for smartphones is only going to go from strength to strength and will a technology that is developing so quickly, you must keep up or else risk being left far, far behind.

Why app - your smartphone has the Internet

Browsing the web on your smart phone is tedious to say the least and consumers much prefer interacting with a speedy and engaging app over Safari or Chrome. Apps are not only beneficial to the consumer but also to the restaurant itself. It makes it much easier for you to directly communicate with your consumers. You can set up a loyalty scheme on the app and inform users about promos, specials and discounts. You could even record the food they eat each time they visit your restaurant and send them tailored messages. The possibilities are endless - think of how much photo content your could build!

Making it easy:

Having an app for your restaurant will help to make your restaurant run more effectively as well as making life easier for your clients. Imagine if consumers could reserve a table on your app? No more answering the phone. They can look up directions in the app without having to go to the Internet. They can look at the menu and even order prior to arrival. They can specify certain needs like a child's seat so you are ready for them. They will be delighted with the extra service you can provide them just by having this app available.

Social networks:

Apps make it very easy for users to connect their social networks enabling your users to share their experience with their friends on Facebook and Twitter. This is a way to market yourself literally for free and have your crowd share the word. Everyone likes things that come for free and you can get free marketing by the introduction of your very own app.


Foursquare uses GPS tracking in an interesting way; not just to help people find places but for businesses to find clients too. Your app could find people geographically close to your restaurant and send them a promo code or offer that night to entice them to your establishment. They could be grabbing a glass of wine round the corner and decide to come to your restaurant for dinner just because you had the means to send them this notification.

How to make it work:

From the get go you need to develop an app that is clean and easy to use. You then need to promote it all over your restaurant: in the toilets, on your bill slips, on the walls and so on. People need to know that your app exists so they can access it for the future. Once they have it, you have them so to speak.

Have you been considering developing an app for your restaurant? What ideas did you have for this process? Tell us about it below.

Written by
Alexander Rauser
Alexander Rauser


Alexander Rauser is the author of Boardroom Guide to Digital Accountability and Digital Strategy: A Guide to Digital Business Transformation, and creator of the DSX Program, a digital strategy and transformation program for Enterprises.

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