Digital Ordering

Native Restaurant Mobile App vs. Web-based Mobile App

Own the restaurant guest relationship and optimize the guest experience with a native mobile app, web-based mobile app, or both.
Kamryn Elliott

This digital world where everything we want can be found and bought with a few clicks makes on-demand service a high value. It has increased buyers’ expectations and subsequently decreased their patience.

The restaurant industry isn’t a stranger to this digital landscape. The ability to place online orders has taken off, with 85% of guests having at least one restaurant app on their phones. Mobile apps are a great way for brands to provide guests with an on-demand, convenient way to buy meals.

So what type of apps are offered for online ordering, and what makes them different from each other? Brands can choose either a native mobile app or a web-based mobile app to house their online ordering system or use both, each of which is developed differently and offer different features.

Native Restaurant Mobile App

Native apps are designed to run on mobile devices rather than web browsers. They are developed for specific mobile operating systems such as Apple iOS and Android OS. So if an app is made for Apple iOS, it will not work for Android OS. The app will have different codes for each operating software while still looking the same. But don’t worry; all of this is handled by the restaurant technology software you choose to invest in to help develop your app.

90% of the time spent on a mobile device is spent in apps, while only 10% is spent in a web browser. This is because native apps offer the most responsive experience and the best performance as they are faster than web-based mobile apps. It’s easier to access device features like a GPS to find nearby restaurant locations, and the native app offers more security and safety than a web browser.

A native restaurant mobile app is a great way to efficiently develop and maintain personalized communication between your brand and customers. In the U.S., the average daily screen time is 5.4 hours. A mobile restaurant app lets you meet your customers in a space they constantly use, making online ordering easier. You can also send updates for promotions and events through the app, letting your customers stay up-to-date with your restaurant’s business. 

Not only is it a great avenue for personalized communication, but with the right digital restaurant software, you can also promote location-based deals, create a personalized loyalty program, use data-driven marketing to target the right guests at the right time, offer built-in gift cards, and leverage machine learning to suggest upsell recommendations.

With a native restaurant mobile app, you can own the guest relationship and optimize the guest experience.

Web-based Mobile App

Web-based mobile apps are accessible through any device that has an internet connection. They will adapt to fit whatever screen or device you’re viewing it on and do not need to be downloaded or installed from an app store. They also have the same look and feel like a native mobile app.

Web-based mobile apps require an internet connection, whereas some native mobile app features can work offline, and web-based apps tend to run comparatively slower than native mobile apps. They also have less security because they are hosted on an internet browser and do not need approval from an app store before being published to the public. However, web-based mobile apps update automatically, while native mobile apps require users to download updates manually.


The main difference between a native restaurant mobile app and a web-based mobile app is that they are developed differently. Some features are found in one that isn’t found in the other and vice versa.

 You want to make sure you invest in the right digital restaurant guest experience software to help develop your native restaurant mobile app and web-based mobile app with essential features and integrations to drive guest engagement.