The convenience of the mobile environment has spurred a consumer hunger to both search for and make restaurant dining decisions through their mobile devices. The decision to dine is now a decision most make on the go, as restaurants remain the most searched for industry through both mobile phones and tablet devices. With this in mind, restaurant owners should both pay close attention and take advantage of the immense opportunity custom mobile app development can bring to their businesses. It is time for all restaurants to consider developing a mobile game plan, keeping several key features in mind when formulating a mobile app design strategy.
A recent survey conducted by the IAB found two-thirds of those surveyed regularly use their smartphone or tablet device to place online food orders for pickup or delivery. Rather than forcing potential customers to make purchases through a web browser, a custom mobile app can make the process much more efficient and easier for consumers. After all, if the process of placing an online order is too complicated, a restaurant might find themselves facing high rates of abandonment, ultimately losing out on business. Mobile apps make online ordering a breeze.
70% of consumers say they want to see a restaurant’s menu before they decide to dine, with 62% reporting that they are less likely to dine at a restaurant without a visible online menu. Incorporating an easy to read menu in app will go a long way to entice visitors. The menu section should include clear, easy to read descriptions of every menu item offered, leaving no room for uncertainty. When ordering through a mobile device, customers want to know exactly what they are ordering, without having to ask questions before purchase.
In addition to a sleek virtual menu, including special offers such as coupons and discounts is a great way to engage possible first time diners and entice repeat customers into another visit. Utilizing push notifications, offers can be sent directly to users home screens, keeping your restaurant always fresh on their mind. Push messaging can be priceless given an industry in which visits are often made on a whim.
Along with a streamlined menu, consumers love to visually experience food offerings when making dining decisions. With 83% of consumers looking at more than one restaurant listing when engaging in mobile restaurant searches, the best way to stand out from the crowd is to include rich, alluring, and appealing photos of menu items that get them salivating as well as photos showing off your unique dining ambiance. Visual cues are much more influential than simple text descriptions, especially when making quality assessments on the go. Photos immediately grab the eye and inspire consumption.
In recognizing the benefits of going digital, many retailers are now transitioning their customer loyalty programs to the mobile interface. So too should restaurants consider digital loyalty programs within customized mobile apps. Nothing is worse than trying to remember where you placed that pesky membership card at a point of sale. Incorporating a loyalty program in app lets customers actively engage with their rewards points at a moment’s notice.
For any service oriented business today, word of mouth is one of the most influential factors when it comes to consumer decision making. Consumers want to buy from reputable places that others speak highly off. 55% of smartphone users now consult rating and reviews sites like Yelp and Urbanspoon to make their dining choices. Integrating a survey function into your mobile app allows you to keep in touch with your customers by encouraging feedback. By taking advantage of consumer responses you can keep on top of quality assurance and make sure they are always leaving satisfied.
Restaurant owners should also considermobile payment options when making the shift to a more mobile-centric strategy. With the success of mobile wallet options flourishing for companies like Starbucks, it’s only a matter of time before consumers begin further adopting mobile as a preferred method of payment. By integrating cutting edge mobile payment processing capabilities into your app, you can stay one step ahead of the competition, by giving your customers the added convenience of wallet-less purchases.