Ryan Williams
Jeremy Julian

3 Reasons Your Restaurant Should Have an App

October 6, 2014
3 Reasons Your Restaurant Should Have an App

Image courtesy of “kromkrathog”; freedigitalphotos.net

Ever heard the saying “There’s an app for that”? Most likely you have. (If you haven’t, we cordially invite you to join us in the 21st century.) An app (short for application) is just that: an application made for use on a smartphone or other wireless device.

You may think of apps as mostly games or tools to help you stay organized or teach you something, or perhaps as social media outlets. But did you know that a lot of businesses are jumping on the app bandwagon – restaurants included?

Apps can be a relatively inexpensive and effective way to connect with your customers and improve brand awareness. We’re a fan of the app for restaurants, and we’ll tell you why.

Here are our top 3 reasons your restaurant should have an app:

1. More people are on mobile devices than are on PCs.

It’s true – mobile devices now outnumber PCs. By mobile devices, we mean small, handheld devices such as smartphones (iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Android, etc.) and tablets (iPad, Kindle, etc.).

We are an on-the-go, instant gratification society. Mobile devices give us what we want. With an app, restaurants are able to get with the times and meet their customers where they are most: on their devices.

2. A better customer experience.

Piggybacking off #1 above, restaurant apps can allow customers to reserve a table, place their order, even pay their bill. There are all different types of features and functionalities available, depending on what you want and what your customer base will likely use. With software packages like our NorthStar Order Entry, your app can talk seamlessly with your interactive menu, ordering, and more.

Convenience, ease of use, accessibility, and a better experience overall will improve customer loyalty!

3. It’s a great marketing tool.

When customers download your restaurant app, you now have access to them. You have their email address for your email newsletter marketing campaigns, and you can stay in front of them and top of mind when the hunger pangs set in and as they plan their after-work happy hour or make their Friday Night Out dinner plans.

As you collect more and more data about your customer from loyalty programs, you’ll begin to know what means the most to them. By combining your loyalty program with your mobile app, you’ll be able to deliver very relevant marketing efforts to the people that already support your brand.

Use push notifications to promote special offers, coupons, announcements, and more. Launch your next marketing campaign through a free app!

Example: BJ’s Restaurants

For an example, check out the BJ’s Restaurants app. They offer a free Pizookie when you download the app! You can find a restaurant location, view the menu, put your name down on the preferred wait list, order ahead for dine in or take out, and pay your bill – all via your mobile device. You can also see what’s new at BJ’s and join their Rewards Program.

Read more about the BJ’s app here.

Granted, the BJ’s app is custom and therefore expensive. Not every restaurant will need all these capabilities, but this gives you an idea of what is possible. There are ways to create apps yourself, easily and inexpensively.

Have you used a popular restaurant app? What was your experience? Comment below!

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