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Why Every Restaurant Needs a Mobile App and 7 Best Features to Include

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With times constantly changing, digitalization is taking over every industry, including restaurants! 

For a growing business, having a mobile app is essential. People naturally prefer services that offer a high level of convenience. A Statista survey showed that 55% of diners use restaurant mobile apps to view menus and pricing, 38.2% to search for deals, 30% to order food online, and 23.8% to make reservations. It’s important to include features on your app that will support your brand and provide benefits to both you and your guests. With a mobile restaurant app, you’ll have full control to ensure a happy customer with every meal!

3 Reasons to Have a Mobile Restaurant App
1. Improved customer experience

A restaurant app will enhance the overall customer experience by providing consistency and convenience. Guests can rely on a positive and familiar experience when using the app to place an order or explore other features. The convenience also comes with saved customer data. Guests can choose to store their order history in the app for a faster check out for future orders. They may also decide to securely save their chosen payment method in the app for a hassle-free experience. Guests will have the option to easily change this data in their settings. The best part is that the information they input can be used for any location. Now that’s convenient! 

2. Builds brand image

Guest interaction starts long before they visit your restaurant. For most, their first impression of your brand is on your restaurant app. Each restaurant has an identity specifically for its brand. With a mobile app, brand image is something fully controllable. By incorporating your unique colors, logos, fonts, and voice into your restaurant app you’ll build a stronger and more familiar connection with your guests. Brand image is directly correlated to building credibility and loyalty among potential customers. Maintaining a stable image across every platform used by your restaurant contributes to your relationship with your guests. 

3. Encourages customer engagement

Communication starts with you! It’s essential for companies to create a channel of communication with their guests. The best forms of digital communication are push notifications and SMS marketing. These can be automated using a restaurant marketing suite to send out messages instantly. The number one way to collect accurate feedback is through the customer directly. With a direct form of communication, you’ll be more likely to hear back from your guests. 92% of customer interactions take place through the phone. That’s why a restaurant app is important for collecting this data!

Features Every Restaurant Mobile App Should Have

Mobile ordering: When building a restaurant app, mobile ordering is the number one thing you’ll want to include. Guests spend more time browsing the menu when ordering through a mobile app. It gives them more time to look and less pressure to make a decision. Restaurants that incorporate mobile ordering into their mobile app can estimate a 57% increase in their sales over the next 5 years. A restaurant app offers easy customization and ensures accuracy on orders. When selecting menu items on their phone, guests are likely to spend more money because they have no fear of receiving judgment. They can also rely on consistency when creating a mobile order. Guests can choose exactly what they want and even save their order for a quicker process next time! Mobile ordering is the main factor in increasing app downloads!  

Mobile Payment: Mobile payments are fast and convenient. They offer a better guest experience than other options. Non-digital payment methods cause slower service and long wait times. When a customer orders online they want it to be quick and easy. Whether they are ordering delivery, curbside, or takeout, they want to be able to grab their food and go. Mobile payment makes this possible! With this feature enabled, customers will be able to store their card information safely in the restaurant app for next time. They can also save their card in a digital wallet that now accounts for 29% of global POS payments. Post-pandemic, people are still leaning towards non-contact solutions. Having access to restaurant payments digitally will help keep people safe. The contactless payment feature will minimize the spread of disease and overall enhance the restaurant experience. 

Loyalty Program: Restaurants are increasingly turning to loyalty programs to encourage sales and boost their guest return rate. On a restaurant’s mobile app, joining the loyalty program is as easy as inputting an email and password. Usually, for restaurant loyalty programs, rewards are earned on a points basis. This could look like 1 point for every dollar spent. By rewarding customers for their purchase, it’s showing them you appreciate their business! Building a connection will help create returning customers. With a reward incentive, the total order price is likely to rise. 66% of loyalty members modify their purchase to maximize their points. Furthermore, a study concluded that loyalty programs increase restaurant purchases by 20%! The restaurant and its guests will both experience the benefits of a loyalty program. 

Digital Menu: Digital menus are used more often than you might think. Research found that 93% of diners view a digital menu before choosing a place to dine out. Potential guests are more likely to choose a restaurant if they know what to expect before visiting. Having this feature on your restaurant app will promote usage and benefit your customers. A digital menu also allows for updates and changes to be made instantly. Seasonal menu items can be incorporated and featured on your menu without a hassle. Whether ordering online or in-store, a digital menu will ensure a smooth experience. 

Location-Based Services: Restaurants that have multiple establishments will benefit from having a location-based service integrated into their restaurant app. Potential customers will have the ability to see which location is closest to them at any time with their mobile device. This feature will make navigation easier and time efficient! Enabling location services is also a great way to send out promotional offers and deals that may be specific to a certain area. Each location has a different amount of stock throughout their days. Through the restaurant app, guests will have the ability to see if any item is out of stock at their chosen location. With location-based services, restaurants will collect data that can be used to create a strategic marketing plan!

Reviews and Ratings: Customer reviews are beneficial for many reasons one being that they can make a huge impact on foot traffic. 94% of diners in the US are directly influenced by online reviews when deciding on a restaurant. Potential customers will trust other guests over the brand itself. Positive reviews are a free marketing tool. People use the internet to discover restaurants so having a high rating associated with your brand will gain the trust of potential and returning customers. By incorporating a review feature into your restaurant's app you are encouraging feedback. You’re subtly telling your customers that you care about their needs and are willing to meet them, every time you ask for their opinions. Reviews can also help dictate how much someone is willing to spend at a restaurant. 31% of diners would pay more at an establishment with positive reviews. This feature will provide unique feedback that can be used to make changes and improve the overall customer experience. 

Push notifications: As of May 2022, there are about 6.64 billion people who own a smartphone. This makes up 83.72% of the world's population. Push notifications are automatic messages sent to a user's smartphone from an application when it is not in use. The quick reminder will help bring traction to your restaurant's mobile app and boost engagement! A study discovered that app users who had push notifications enabled logged 53% more monthly activity than users who didn’t have the feature enabled. Notifications can be personalized and automated. You can even send a notification asking for a review after someone receives their order. The feature is time-efficient and convenient for both the company and the guest!


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