How to make a restaurant app

So you are a proud owner of a small restaurant. Let’s just say – some peculiar and cozy pizzeria. It’s quite popular among people. And, assuming that you are reading this article not because you have nothing to do at 3 am, you are quite determined to get for yourself one of these restaurant apps. Then look no more! You’ve come to the right place.

Benefits from a restaurant app usually depend on your business model and a field towards which you are going to apply your restaurant app. Let’s stick with aforementioned pizzeria. In 2017, when 1 in 4 consumers (in the U.S.) has some specified restaurant app, making the one for a pizzeria is a pretty obvious decision. Everybody does that! But why though? In the Summer of 2015, Domino`s Pizza raised its sales by 19% thanks to online ordering and, especially, their app. The same year Taco Bell experiences the tendency where an order from their dine app is 20% bigger in average than real life order.

In summer of 2015, Domino’s Pizza raised its sales by 19% thanks to online ordering app.

Sure, you can say that those are big companies with a horde of developers and huge marketing investments behind those apps for restaurants. In the case of marketing – you’re probably right, but according to the “horde of developers” – no, and we’ll talk about that later. Besides the boost in sales, such app can also bring in these improvements to your business:

  • more client engagement
  • better interaction with your clients
  • enhanced experience for customers
  • more feedback
  • an easier way to collect statistics overall
  • further automatization = cutting loses

All of these features increase your clients’ loyalty, which almost certainly means bigger income! And satisfied loyal clients bring more clients on their own. Plus, you may get bigger exposure on the market thanks to the app. That is because you increase your presence and recognition of your brand on it.

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Restaurant app features

The basic range of features in restaurant apps is pretty much preconfigured. And those can be divided into four categories:

  • Ordering, reservations, and payments.
    Client orders and pays for his meal beforehand or reserves a table online. With the food ordering app he can even create his own pizza and, of course, order it to his doorstep. Hence, all of these altogether decreases clients’ frustration through shortening the lines or eliminating them at all. In 2015 near 30% of such app users in the U.S., stated that they’ve been using them to order beforehand regularly. The same year online ordering via the app made up to 21% of all Starbucks transactions in the U.S., which is an astonishing number.
    Plus it helps you to cut the losses through automatization. Which means alleviating the job for your employees or even decreasing their number. It also makes ordering flaws less likely to happen.
  • Geolocation and geofencing
    Help people to find your restaurant. Or track their ordered meal. And, of course, kindly invite them with geofencing possibilities. These features in your app will make your restaurant more accessible to your clients. Which makes them more willing to visit it or order food from you.
  • Loyalty and discount programs
    Keeping a loyalty of an old customer is about five times cheaper than acquiring a new one. That’s a well-known business fact. Actually, 43% of customers look for discounts before attending restaurant more than most of the time. And what if you’ll provide them with discounts directly? Or even personalize those discounts! The smart loyalty program will skyrocket the loyalty of your customers and your sales as well. As the example, Starbucks Rewards program in their app by December of 2015 reached the audience of 11.1 million active users!!!
  • Personalization and feedback
    Make your app personal for your every single client. It is the best way to find out who your customers are. Also, what do they want through gathering constant feedback on your products and service. This allows you to improve your business more wisely and make your marketing way more agile by making it targeted. And if you’ll integrate it with social networks that will be a win-win situation as you’ll expand your presence on the market even further!

These were just some basic, let’s say, essential features for your app. Sure thing you’re not obliged to have them all, but without those, it will definitely be much harder to compete with other players who own restaurant apps. And, certainly, you’re not limited only to them. Anything your business might demand is possible.

Popular examples

Every major restaurant chain has the one for itself. Of course, those are native apps which are available on both, Android and iOS. So, let’s start from one of the pioneers in this field.

Domino’s pizza – food delivery app. Allows building your pizza with preconfigured presets and track the order. Creating Domino’s account enables you to keep your order history to repeat them. Also, contains a map with geotagged restaurants. And convenient, very simple UX and smooth UI makes it a great example of food delivery app.

McDonald’s –  comprehensive order placement app. Create your account, browse through the menu, special offers and news. Then place your order beforehand, pay it and just take it in restaurant or McDrive. Also, find the nearest restaurant on the map.

Pizza hut – previous 2 apps combined. There are few noticeable features like reordering in only five clicks and placing orders in advance up to 7 days. The rest is just the same functionality with great design and usability.

Starbucks – a great example of the app with a comprehensive and smart loyalty program. Therefore the app itself is an astonishing tool which helps Starbucks to serve 10 million orders per week (as for 2016). It allows you to order and pay in advance. And participating in Starbucks Rewards program earns you stars for that. For these stars, you may get free beverages and food in Starbucks chain. It also allows you to send gifts to your friends.

Actually, we’ve recently posted an article about how to make an app like Starbucks.

Those were some examples of restaurant apps of major food chains. Hence, all of them have similar basic functionality: orders, payments, geolocation, personalization. However, they differ in some points which are crucial for these chains: comprehensive delivery handling for Domino’s Pizza, special offers – McDonald’s, placing orders in advance – Pizza Hut, Starbucks Rewards program – Starbucks.

How to make a restaurant app

So far you may have made up in your head what your app should look like and what functionality should it possess. So now it is time to make it, and here is detailed instruction how to make an app. First, developing the restaurant apps by yourself may seem like a good idea, but I have to disappoint you – it isn’t. Account creation, proper geolocation for restaurants and guests, orders handling, keeping all that data properly and in safety, developing it for all major platforms natively, and don’t let me even start on payments… Trust me, I know what I’m talking about.

Don’t get me wrong, there is no need in the army of high-end developers. But if you are going to develop it on your own be aware that it’ll take lots of your time, money and bring you a lot of stress. Though, the result will likely be quite disappointing.

So now you, probably, consider hiring a team of developers to create such app. And why not consider hiring a team which knows how it is done from A to Z. The team which is skilled and big enough to develop your app properly and with a breeze. And, on the other hand, will provide you with complete control over your project, so you can be sure it meets all your expectations. So why not consider hiring ThinkMobiles team.

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