Restaurant business is a very diverse business with a variety of business scales and customer service options.

With changing time, how small and big restaurants serve their customers is changing.

One of the biggest contributor to this is advancing technology. As more and more users or patrons are getting access to smartphones, how they order food is changing.

With the changing customer preferences and behaviour, restaurants are modifying their order placing and processing methods, so that their customers are encouraged to order more and often.

Many restaurants with websites are working to turn website into app to make ordering process accessible to customers on their mobile phones.

In this article, we will cover:

  • How giants like Starbucks use their mobile apps to attract and retain customers
  • Advanced features of restaurant apps that help small and big businesses to gain success
  • How an app can improve your small restaurant business

After reading this article, you can make your own app to grow your business exponentially.

How apps are used by big restaurants

Big restaurants, cafes and coffee shops like Starbucks have leveraged the increasing use of mobile devices by customers by offering them apps that can be used to order, pay, and track loyalty rewards with convenience.

Here are a few things companies like Starbucks do with their apps to gain success:

Order to pick

Using Starbucks apps, its customers can order coffee and other menu items and pick them from the nearby store. This helps Starbucks reduce their checkout queue size, their customer service cost and many other efficiency and crowd issues.

This also helps its customers to order the things they like at their convenience, with no pressure to make a quick decision which they face in an outlet queue. The customers also do not have to wait in line for their chance to order. They can just place their order online, as per their convenience and  pick it as per the suggested time.

Loyalty rewards

One great feature that made Starbucks ordering app a success was its ability to log loyalty rewards earned by customers. This is one of the biggest reasons its customers started downloading the app in the first place. The app offers stars and rewards that can be converted into free drinks.

This feature of offering loyalty rewards through apps and allowing customers to redeem them during future purchases is a great way to attract and retain customers. This is a cost-effective way to increase lifetime value of a restaurant’s customers.

Easy payment options

Starbucks’ app offers convenient payment options to its customers. Starbucks payment option is a mobile-based payment option that allows the users to make payment within the app. Customers are not directed to a payment gateway outside the app.

This enables Starbucks to get more successful orders and increase their customers’ lifetime value. This allows its customers to pay conveniently through their preferred payment modes. Mobile payment options are convenient and quick and encourage users to complete more and more orders online.

Integrated marketing channels

Starbucks has integrated its app with its other selling channels in a way that everything works seamlessly. The users can choose to order online or offline and avail the same service, benefits and rewards. This unification of all order and supply channels helps make Starbucks’ app a success.

This enables Starbuck to streamline its sales and order processing supply chain. The orders placed through the app or in outlets are transferred to the people preparing coffee and other material seamlessly, so that the supply chain works smoothly.

Other features that Starbucks leverages for its sales and marketing are Location services and Spotify integration. Music lovers can use Spotify to listen to or save their favourite music through the app’s integration with Spotify. Also, through location services, Starbucks can send location-based offers and discounts to users to maximize revenue.

Advanced features of restaurant apps for success of small and big businesses

Now, we will discuss what advanced features are available for apps these days that can help small and large-scale restaurants to grow.

These features can helps restaurants to attract customers, work at optimal capacity, reduce wastage, and streamline ordering process.

If you have an e-commerce ordering website for your restaurant, then you can create a WooCommerce native app that helps your customers who prefer using mobile phones to place orders and make reservations easily.

Here are a few features that many restaurant apps leverage to attract customers and grow business:

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Customized menu

Restaurants create suitable menus for their e-commerce and m-commerce selling platforms. These menus are designed to enable ordering of larger basket sizes. They are also designed to attract new customers and retain old ones.

Multiple payment options

Restaurant Apps feature payment options that are convenient to be used. Payment through credit or debit card, net banking, Mobile wallets, Paypal, etc. enables customers to place orders conveniently. These options allow customers to complete their orders more often.

Discounts and happy hours

Apps for restaurants can make room for redemption of discount vouchers by customers. Customers should be able to avail happy hours and use discount vouchers through restaurant apps. This helps motivate customers to return to a restaurant and buy more

Loyalty rewards

Many big and small restaurants offer loyalty rewards to customers on every order made by them. These loyalty rewards can be redeemed for free menu items in the future or can be collected to avail discount on future purchases. This helps retain customers for longer.

 

Location services and GPS

You can add Google maps to your app to direct customers to your restaurant. You can also use location services to identify the location of your customers to send them location-specific discounts. This helps market a local outlet and also attracts customers to your restaurants more often.

Reserve table or order online

Allow customers to use your Woocommerce native app or other commerce apps to reserve a table with you or order online. Appointment feature can be used to allow customers to reserve a table at one of your restaurant outlets.

Location services and GPS

You can use push notification feature of native apps to send promotional and transactional messages to customers. This helps improve revenue and customer engagement. Push notifications give restaurants direct access to smartphone of users.

Event calendar

You can add special events and discount days to an event calendar on your app. Customers can check the event calendar to check when they can visit your outlets to get maximum value. You can also publish push notifications for exciting items on your calendar.

Customer behaviour analysis

The data collected from your m-commerce app and e-commerce website is valuable in understanding what menu items your customers like to order. This also helps you in understanding how customers browse your app to order menu and get value.

Manage inventory

One can manage inventory on your restaurant management app with the help of an admin panel. This helps restaurant ensure that they are optimally stocked at all times. This also helps ensure that restaurants are successfully able to fulfil all orders placed with them offline and online.

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Integration with other departments

Restaurant apps also let one integrate different departments by allowing free flow of information. Kitchen can get real-time update on orders placed, service staff can also get auto-updates on orders ready to be served, and delivery staff can get notifications about orders to be delivered.

Ordering kiosks or table tablets

With the help of mobile apps, restaurants can place tablets on customer tables or place ordering kiosk devices in outlets to be used by customers to place orders themselves. This helps a restaurant cut down on service staff cost, and helps make order processing efficient.

Track delivery

With some restaurant apps it’s possible to track delivery status of an order. You can easily check which stage of delivery an order is in. This helps improve delivery efficiency of your team and also helps deliver orders in time. GPS service can also be integrated in the app to ensure that the best path is used to deliver every order.

Customer app

Besides an internal restaurant management app, your customer app can enable customers to book tables, order food, make payment, leave tips, and much more. They can even review and rate the restaurant through the app, which helps the restaurant improve and make changes for better.

How an app can improve your small restaurant business

With the above features, you can improve efficiency, revenue and profitability of your restaurant.

Here’re a few benefits of restaurant apps that will help your restaurant grow:

Free flow of transactional information

With cloud-based restaurant apps, there can be a free flow of transactional information among your restaurant and your customers and among all departments of your restaurant. This helps all the departments be on the same page, which helps in quick and correct delivery of orders. This also helps in better inventory management.

Cost-effective marketing

App features like push notifications, geo-fencing, email integration, etc. help you market your menu items and restaurant to existing customers without spending a lot of money. You can also collect valuable data to understand customer behaviour to market more effectively.

Order taking made easy

With the help of apps, you can make order taking process easy for your staff. Apps can allow your customers to order before reaching the restaurant, or place orders themselves using table ordering tablets or self-ordering kiosks in the outlet. Your staff can also use mobile devices to take orders at tables and auto-transfer the order to kitchen.

Optimal inventory

Apps help you keep an accurate track of things ordered out of the inventory that was in stock. This helps managers understand the products that need to be ordered at any given time to ensure that all the orders are fulfilled properly. This also helps prevent inventory loss and wastage.

Efficient staff management

Your restaurant app can be developed to allow sales staff to enter their staff ID before taking orders, which will help you understand the efficiency with which each staff person performs. Time taken to prepare and deliver an order an also be studied to understand the efficiency of kitchen and delivery departments.

Winning customer loyalty

With a restaurant app, you can easily reward customers on each purchase they make and enable customers to redeem their loyalty points as per their convenience. This feature allows you to attract new customers who want to avail such rewards and to retain customers that are already associated with you.

Attract referral customers

With the help of a customer app, you can encourage existing satisfied customers to recommend your restaurant to new customers in return for rewards and benefits. This helps you attract new customers through a reliable marketing source, i.e. your satisfied restaurant patrons.

Shorter checkout queues

With the help of a well integrated app, you can enable your cashiers and sales staff to reduce your checkout and payment processing time. This helps in increasing the order processing capacity of your restaurant and in keeping your customers satisfied.

So, if you’re a restaurant looking to improve your business by reaching the most widely used shopping device, then it’s time to make your own app.

If you have an existing website that allows order processing and ordering, then your can turn website into app with the help of services like AppMySite.