Functionality plays a vital role in making your restaurant app successful. Though you need to decide the features on the basis of your business model, size, and various other factors, here we give a concise list of necessary features:
Almost three billion people are expected to use smartphones worldwide till 2020. This Statista estimate is sufficient to get an idea about the importance of mobile apps. To capitalize on the ever-increasing number of smartphone users, businesses across various sectors jump on the mobile app bandwagon and hotel or hospitality sector is no exception. Restaurant apps like Zomato, Foursquare, Swiggy, and Yelp have set new milestones of popularity and revenue. For example, a mobile app is responsible for 16 percent of total transactions of Starbucks.
Be it a coupon app, restaurant wait time app, restaurant rating app, or on demand food ordering app- various types of restaurant mobile apps gain ground because of user-friendliness and convenience they offer to both existing and new customers. If you are a restaurant owner, a feature-rich mobile app can offer a plethora of benefits and helps you expand your business.
We’re going to outline all the major benefits mobile apps can provide restaurant owners. There are many, so we decided to accumulate these benefits into the six most important things that will help you enhance your services as you decide to go mobile.
A mobile app helps restaurant owners establish a fast and convenient customer experience, which means reduced wait time and increased sales. Table booking is the first feature that comes to mind when you’re thinking about a restaurant app. First, they don’t guarantee any ROI for restaurant owners. Second, for big and crowded restaurants or chains online bookings, if not organized right, can lead to a real logistical hell at the restaurant. In a case when a restaurant often has free tables, booking feature is simply unnecessary. Meal ordering is a more valuable feature that unfortunately, is less utilized by restaurant app developers. However, allowing app users to choose and order their meals in advance, thus significantly reducing visitor’s wait time, will help not only establish better customer experience at your restaurant but also make the staff’s work easier and faster. You can add even more value to this feature by letting app users browse their order history and store their favorite orders. This will make the ordering process even faster and more convenient.
As the latest surveys suggest, people especially those between the ages of 25 and 34 tend to use mobile apps to discover restaurants and make reservations. Furthermore, 25% of respondents have at least one restaurant app installed on their device. Catching up with this trend will not only make restaurant’s services better for the existing customer base but also appeal to young people who seek for a good restaurant mobile service. Finally, to retain this audience you’ll need to ensure three things: the app, the restaurant services, and the food.
And by discovery, we mean all possible ways a mobile app can make a restaurant more visible to the customers. Mobile technologies help deliver the information on a restaurant location and menu, and establish an emotional connection with customers by memorable restaurant app design. The most obvious thing here is discovering a restaurant’s location with the help of mapping services. This feature is a must for restaurant and food discovery apps like OpenTable and Urbanspoon, as well as for large chains’ branded apps. But people need to know not only the restaurant’s location. They also need to know what does the restaurant have to offer. A mobile app solves this by providing customers with easy menu access. The menu is more appealing when the meals are illustrated with appealing photos. Just note that the reality must correspond to what people see in the app and vice versa. In the same fashion, restaurant owners can show off their places providing alluring interior photos or even 3D tours to the restaurants. Nice photos aside, a thoughtful restaurant app design helps establish a visual communication between restaurant owners and customers, make both an app and a restaurant distinctive and build brand awareness. Adding social sharing features can help extend the brand awareness to users’ friends and followers on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can reinforce this feature by rewarding users with loyalty points for each share.
Mobile apps’ landscape knows a variety of successful approaches to retaining users. Among such features that restaurant mobile app developers can adopt are loyalty programs and user notifications. Both table booking services and restaurant apps retain their users mostly thanks to loyalty programs with discounts and rewards. Gift cards and coupons are things customers tend to lose so stubbornly, and mobile loyalty programs are the best solution to this problem so far. In the case of Starbucks’ app which, thanks to gamification elements and transparent reward system, got a significant rise in user base right after the introduction of the new loyalty program. Restaurant app Starbucks Coffee Company’s app owes its latest success to a new reward program notifications. Regardless you want to build your own restaurant app or to provide discovery and booking services, you can keep your app’s users informed about the latest deals using email and push notifications. If the deals are regular and fair, and the notifications are personalized, people will anticipate them and, thus, appreciate notifications as a useful service rather than as an annoying spam.
Today, extending a restaurant service with the food delivery feature becomes a reasonable option for restaurant mobile app developers. And while it may not be the primary feature to include in a new app, it’s still a prospective direction for restaurant services. Moreover, there are restaurants that serve their customers only with food delivery using mobile apps and websites for ordering. One of the most successful among the delivery-only restaurants is Ando, a part of a large US-based restaurant chain Momofuku.
Online payments are a big thing now. All types of digital solutions dealing with commerce have adopted it, so have restaurant apps. There are two types of online payments you can adopt as a restaurant app developer to make restaurant services more effective. The first is mobile payments processed via payment gateways such as Stripe or Braintree (a PayPal subsidiary). However, restaurant owners may dislike this idea if mobile payments service is provided by a booking platform since it would mean more additional fees that may have a negative impact on the ROI.
A Restaurant or food app development cost depends on the number of features integrated in the app as well as the development time. When you consult a mobile application development company, the mobile app developers can help you making a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) as per your restaurant business requirements. For example, if you run a fast food chain, then you do not need the table booking feature, whereas, if you own a restaurant with casual dining, your app must have this feature.
Usually, a mobile apps company charges on hourly basis for app development. If you have a food chain or a restaurant business in UAE, the US or Canada, you can get the best deal in India as the development cost is much lower in India as compared to the developed countries. When the US or Europe-based developers take $100 to $250 an hour, their Indian counterparts take just $20 to $80 per hour. Though Eastern Europe-based developers are cheaper as compared to the American and other European developers as they charge between $50 to $150 per hour for developing a restaurant or food ordering app.
If we consider these rates, we can state that if you get an app with all the desired features at $24,000 in the US, you can get it at $16,000 in the Eastern Europe and at $8,000 in India.