Updated: May 2, 2022
Mobile ordering apps are on the rise, which is something your customers already wanted even before the current crisis. As reported by Restaurant Dive in late 2019, 43% of consumers said that they wanted restaurants to have their own mobile ordering app, but only 18% of them did. And, especially during the pandemic, your restaurant app can help support your off-premise services—a potential lifeline for your business.
The benefits of having your own mobile ordering app
Beyond pleasing your current restaurant guests and attracting new ones, there are many benefits that come with having your own mobile ordering app linked to your restaurant pos system.
Increase your restaurant’s revenue. When your customers place an order through their mobile device, they often spend more money because they have more time to place it.1 Mobile ordering apps also present your customers with the convenience they've come to expect and it's a great marketing strategy that helps you earn new customers.
Offer a loyalty program that really gets used. You likely already have some sort of loyalty program in place, but a mobile app allows you to very much extend it. It also gives you the ability to get creative with the offers you present and change them to see what works best for your customers.
Give your customers what they want. Customers, particularly millennials and Generation Zs, have come to expect ease and convenience like never before. With their digital devices, people can get nearly everything they want with the push of a few buttons while relaxing at home. What's more, they can control the ordering experience and track it, too. Discover how Chipotle Europe modernized its mobile experience by integrating a new customizable solution that met the needs of younger demographics, driving customer growth and loyalty.
Gain access to your customer's data. When your customers order from your mobile app, they'll be giving you valuable data. You can then use it to market to your customer base and to build customer loyalty.
Ease your staff's burden, reduce errors and increase productivity. Mobile ordering can go a long way in improving the efficiency of your restaurant staff. That's because they'll spend less time on phone orders and processing payments. And mobile orders often reduce errors—all of which leads to increased productivity and, likely, better morale.
How to promote your mobile ordering app
Promoting your restaurant’s mobile ordering app plays a large part in the success it brings to your business. You can have the best branded app that caters to every one of your customer's needs, but if they don't know that it exists none of that will matter. Here are some things to consider:
Reach out to your customers before your mobile ordering app is developed. Ask them what's important to them and what they would value from your mobile ordering app. To increase participation, offer them a free app or 15% off their next order for taking a couple of minutes of their time. You'll generate some excitement with your customers, cultivate more loyalty by letting them know that you care and you can use it to develop an app that will be the right fit for your business (and a chance to strengthen your brand).
Create a mobile ad campaign. Speaking of mobile, it's also the best place to reach your customers. In fact, mobile ad campaigns have been growing in popularity for good reason, the same reason why having a mobile ordering app is good for business: the platform to reach them is nearly always in the palm of their hands or resting near them. From catchy banner ads to teasers that lead to a well-branded landing page, mobile advertising for restaurants is a must.
Use social media wisely. While social media is one of the best ways of marketing to your customers, doing it well is important. Restaurants can hurt themselves when they post content that isn't well thought out, like only copying and pasting links. Get creative, stay on brand and cut to the chase.
Gain some influencers. Your restaurant is part of the community so you likely know some people who influence it. Make a list of some of them, get in contact and let them know that you'll be launching your restaurant's mobile ordering app and ask them if they'd be interested in helping to spread the word.
Optimize for the app stores. According to Modern Restaurant Management, it's also a good idea to optimize everything from your app's name to your relevant keywords to any free food offers so people can easily find your app and download it.
Where to advertise your mobile ordering app
Make good use of your restaurant website. You've already got a great tool to market your mobile ordering app: your website's home page. Use it to place a promotional banner at the top and incorporate pop-up offers for customers when they download your app in their app store. Make sure your ads stay on brand, which may give you the opportunity to fine tune as well.
Make a blog post. If your restaurant has a blog, you've got a great opportunity to connect more with your customers. And it's a free and easy way for your to advertise your mobile ordering app. Make sure to keep it simple and enticing—and mention the benefits of using it.
Facebook is still number one. With an average of 2.23 billion users, Facebook remains a popular and effective platform for advertising. One of the largest advantages Facebook offers is that it supports all types of content, including text, pictures and videos. Another thing to keep in mind is that 94% of Facebook users check their feeds using their mobile devices—so whatever form your ads take, make sure they work with mobile devices.
Whatsapp isn't just for friends and family. Thousands of businesses advertise on Whatsapp for good reason—like Burger & Relish in Accra, Ghana, who uses it to advertise to 6,000 followers. With over two billion users, it's growing in popularity around the world and provides a powerful way to reach your customers.
YouTube is a great way to showcase a demo of your app. When you're ready to reveal your mobile ordering app, YouTube, with its 1.9 billion users, is a great way to do it. And it could be the perfect teaser to use in your restaurant’s marketing campaign.
Instagram is the go-to for fast and effective reach. They say a picture is worth a thousand words for a reason—and that's never been more true (since the invention of smartphones, the average adult's attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to eight, making it shorter than that of a goldfish). So, posting a well-branded, enticing photo of your mobile ordering app will be key.
Related: How well do you know Generation Z consumers, the segment set to spend $143 billion this year? Here's what makes them tick.
Tips for a marketing campaign for your mobile ordering app
Marketing campaigns need thorough strategies for a reason; it's how you're going to get the most out of a mobile ordering app. To help, here are some tips:
Create a far reaching email campaign. With all the social media noise, the power of email sometimes gets overlooked, but it shouldn't be. Email is still the most effective way to get recipients to act and to click on your call to action (to download your app or visit your website). It's the first thing mobile users check in the morning and the thing they check most often through the day. Because you're launching a new product, think about going with an email teaser campaign to create anticipation.
Target your customer base. Every effective restaurant marketing campaign relies on targeting to the right audience. That's why it's important to know your customers and the best way to reach them.
Get your brand set before you start your campaign. Another advantage of launching your own mobile ordering app is that it presents you with an opportunity to look at other aspects of your business. Your branding should be at the top if your list. Ask yourself this question 'What are people saying about my business when I'm not in the room?' If you're not sure, then you likely need to retool your branding.
Create the strongest email contact list possible. With so many of your restaurant guests ordering online, now is a great time to grow your email list. Once they've placed their order and they're ready to check out, the first thing they're asked to do is enter their email address to receive receipts and notifications. Make sure you take the time to retrieve their email addresses to use in the future. Do you have a newsletter? Now's a great time to ask customers to subscribe to it— you'll gain another opportunity to advertise your mobile ordering app as well as their email addresses.
Embed links on social media. Whether it's your business' Facebook page or your Instagram account, post a link that allows your customers to open your app from your social media site.
Insert Disqus into your blog post. If you have a blog that allows comments so your customers can interact with each other, they can spread the word about your mobile ordering app. Try using Disqus to help you get the word out and drive traffic back to your blog and website.
No matter the disruptions to the restaurant industry, technology can help you still deliver the best dining experience possible for new and existing customers. From finding ways to offer safer, low-contact dining-in options to providing seamless food delivery, you can find ways to put your best foot forward. And, with a mobile ordering app that reflects your brand and delivers great user experience, you can do just that.