In the world of restaurants, small and large business owners often run into the same issues and find themselves asking questions such as:
How do we get customers to dine with us?
How do we gain loyal regulars?
How do we attract those who know nothing about our chain, food or services?
All restaurant owners desire busy nights, pages of wait lists and lines outside of their doors – these are signs of success and a good problem to have that can’t be beat.
There is an abundance of restaurants in any given town or city. Food is everywhere and a restaurant's customers dining options are unlimited.
So how do you make your restaurant stand out from the rest?
Your very own restaurant app.
Lead generation for restaurants are made easy with a personalized restaurant mobile app.
Restaurant marketing can be a time consuming and expensive, especially through radio, print or TV commercials.
The average person rarely listens to the radio anymore, as AUX cords have become the leading way to listen to music, which eliminates a large portion of leads from radio promotion.
Few individuals watch television due to Netflix. But if they do, they have a fast forward option to skip commercials. This leaves us with print advertising for leads, and thanks to social media, who really reads the newspaper anymore?
The truth is, traditional marketing is dead.
The solution is quite simple, a restaurant app.
In today’s digital age, the average smartphone holder is consumed by their mobile device for over 5 hours a day (hackernoon). So why not market through a medium that is guaranteed to be seen?
In this post I will explain why every restaurant owner should incorporate a mobile app into their marketing plan and I'll describe the business benefits of having a personalized app.
But before we give you the features to help your restaurant grow with an app, Learn some Key Elements to Implement Into Your Marketing Strategy to Outshine Competition
As a business in the food, drink and service industry, there are four key element that you are going to want to focus on in order to optimize your marketing strategy through your app and to stand out from competition:
Successful restaurant owners are constantly engaging with their customers. Engagement is important to gain loyalty with your customers, to keep them coming back and to allow for them to be advocates for your brand.
Connect with your customers and provide relevant information with your app, for this will ensure the apps use and will bring people through your restaurant’s doors.
Engagement with your app alone will not equate to a successful restaurant. You’ve got to convert as many visitors as you can.
There are a number of ways to convert customers; in-app food ordering, in-app payment for delivery/take out options, gift card sales, even store merchandise such as beer glasses or t-shirts. Integrating a personalized marketplace will allow for you to make sales through the app alongside your walk-in sales.
Receiving customer endorsements will cut costs and increase efficiency. Generating new customers can be tricky, but keeping existing customers around is very beneficial.
Loyal customers act as brand ambassadors and they will be the advocates for your restaurant and will recommend and bring in friends and family, like a chain reaction. Prompt customers to post reviews, as positive reviews will increase your online reputation and will allow for web circulation and future business.
Your ongoing regular customers want to be rewarded for their loyalty, so by introducing a loyalty rewards program, they'll become more loyal to your restaurant and are more likely to advocate for your business.
Provide them with a mobile stamp card through your app to offer specials benefits and discounts in order to continue to build a rapport with your most loyal customers.
So here is how you can help customers use your app effectively through these 8 features. Bring them back into your doors and advocate for more business sharing their experience with your restaurant with others.
8 Key App Features for Restaurant Apps
Through Getcha Mobile, there are an abundance of ways to ensure that you are designing the perfect app for your restaurant. Here are 8 key features that would be beneficial to your personalized restaurant app and take you from chaotic to organized:
1.) Food ordering:
Allow customers to order their favourite meals and pay directly through the app. Your benefit to this feature will be cut down on call ins, less spontaneous orders, more organization and less staff required.
Feature your menu directly through the app so that customers know exactly what they want to order upon arrival. This feature will also allow you to showcase seasonal promotions and limited time dishes.
Your benefit of this feature will be a faster table turn over due to customers using less time to glance through the menus, increasing revenue, and will lead to optimization of sales on special menu items.
Reward your loyal guests with an in-app loyalty stamp card. Allowing them to collect stamps for each visit and to redeem rewards such as free appetizers or store merchandise. The Loyalty app feature is sure to keep your most loyal customers pleased and coming back for more!
This will benefit you in the long run by having to advertise and market less due to an increase of loyal members, word-of-mouth marketing and will overall upsurge lead generation for your restaurant.
Prompt app users to write reviews in the app after their dining experiences. Make sure there is a reward for writing a review such as a voucher for a free appetizer next time they dine in, for that will increase the chances of the review being positive and will bring business back to the restaurant.
Reviews are beneficial because they allow for you to manage your online reputation and they will help to boost your SEO ranking.
Setting up push notifications to remind your customers about special promotions, happy hours specials and lunch deals will keep you connected with guests.
This will benefit you by saving you the time spent on sending out individual messages to each guest email and will bring business back to your restaurant with the constant weekly special reminders.
Creating a custom in-app marketplace or integrating an online shop to sell restaurant merchandise is the perfect feature for your food fans.
Not only does merchandise work as a promotion tactic, but it also brings money back to your store which would not have otherwise been made simply through food sales.
Use an in-app event calendar to promote and update customers on upcoming event nights at your restaurant. Whether it be a bar competition, live performance, Halloween night, charity night or paint night, make the event known and get the people in through your doors.
This will allow your restaurant to be deemed as the place to be on specific nights, increasing the fun factor of your store, and in turn will increase sales.
8.) Image Gallery:
Showcase your establishment and most popular menu items in this app gallery to attract customers. Remember, visual representation is key because we eat with our eyes first.
This feature will benefit you by bringing your app to life. Images are important for they allow the user to see what your restaurant has to offer and this will be sure to bring in more clients to dine in.
The 8 app features above will be the most beneficial to your personalized restaurant app and are recommended as a starting point, however, Getcha Mobile also provides other app features such as:
Around Us: Draw attention to hotspots in the area using the app.
Direction View: One-touch directions to your restaurant.
Call Us: With one tap, call the restaurant for inquiries or reservations.
Email Photo: Allow users to email photos/videos of their experiences from the app for you to use on your social media platforms, creating a community and sharing space for app users.
Contact: Displays important general information such as business location, website, URL, contact info and hours of operation.
Custom Form: Promotes customer feedback and allows them to easily make reservation requests.
Fan Wall: Allow users to connect over their shared adoration for your business. Users are able to comment, ask questions, share photos and discuss with other users what they love about your restaurant.
Tip calculator: Make splitting the bill and leaving a tip simple for your guests to ensure that your servers are being properly taken care of while your guests are organized.
Youtube Channel: Link your restaurant’s YouTube channel to your app to increase your social following.
The Benefits of Mobile Marketing
Marketing through apps allows you to be personal. Your restaurant app creates the opportunity to collect consumer data like an opt in to be able to tailor to their wants and needs and makes their app experience special.
Having a mobile app will allow you to see how your customers interact with your features, how they want to receive communication from your restaurant and what notifications they are wanting to receive or eliminate – allowing you to tweak your app accordingly.
Apps allow for a seamless marketing operation. Since the majority of us already have smartphones, a restaurant app is easily integrated into someone’s everyday life, especially with the right features. The mobile audience is ever growing.
Take advantage of the power of the smartphone and connect yourself with your community. Mobile marketing is here to stay.
To remain relevant amongst your competition, make sure that your app is adaptable, personalized, easy to navigate through and is equipped with features that your customers want in a restaurant app.
Stay ahead of your competition by creating your own personalized app for your restaurant.
There are not many restaurants who have taken this leap into the future of marketing for the food and service industry.
Allow yourself to be a leader and start the trend. Apps are the future. Know your audience, include features that will add value to their lives, play to their wants and needs and keep them coming back for more.