Does Your Restaurant Need a Custom App?

Close-up image of a phone with restaurant items and the text ‘Does Your Restaurant Need a Custom App?’ and the NCCO logo

Like most restaurant owners, you’ve probably asked yourself at least once whether a restaurant mobile app is right for you. Unfortunately, with so many companies jumping on the mobile app bandwagon, it can be tempting to think you’re falling behind if you don’t have one.

Before investing time and money into researching apps for restaurants or developing one of your own, it’s important to understand what an app can (and cannot) do for your business.

Why Customers Want Restaurants to Have an App

A custom app for your restaurant allows you to create a more personalized customer experience. Food delivery services have only grown in popularity since the COVID-19 pandemic. On top of that, food delivery companies have modernized the traditional ordering experience so that you can order your food online and even pay for it in advance.

With mobile restaurant apps, customers can enjoy an improved guest experience by accessing restaurant menus, finding restaurant locations, and checking the latest reviews. As a result of the ease that restaurant apps offer, more customers may prefer to order their meals online since it takes less time than calling in or visiting in person.

Moreover, they’re not just beneficial for the customer: Restaurants can get customer feedback on the app, which helps build social proof and expand their digital presence.

Mobile Apps Versus Optimized Websites

When it comes to marketing spend, companies usually decide between creating an app or optimizing their website. In the past, apps were the preferred choice because they offered almost immediate hands-on convenience that most websites could not.

However, this is changing with new technologies and advances in web browsers. Many features can now be appropriately optimized on both platforms.

That said, deciding which suits your company depends on your needs and budget. For example, an app might provide community-building and higher-quality social proof but will require more time and money to develop.

On the other hand, an optimized website may take a shorter amount of time yet offer only some of these same benefits.

Which Features Does Your Restaurant Need?

To ensure your customers have the best experience when ordering food from you through a mobile app or website, certain features should be in place to make their journey as easy and convenient as possible.

Customers need to be able to browse the menu, place orders, give feedback, and stay up to date on new offers and specials. You can also engage existing customers more effectively and keep retention high by offering incentives such as loyalty programs or discounts that help you build long-term relationships with your customers.

Other features that can be incorporated into your mobile app or website include easy payment options and real-time order tracking, which allow your customers to track the status of their orders. Additionally, special filters, like Vegan options, could be used so that users can easily search through menu items that they are interested in.

Is an App Right for Your Restaurant?

Ultimately, it comes down to asking yourself what your restaurant needs so you can make an informed decision on what works best for you and your customers. It’s healthier for brand-building to have your customer able to order directly from your own branded app than from a third-party application such as DoorDash.

Some pros of getting an app include:

  • Convenience: Customers can order food quickly and conveniently with a few taps of their finger
  • Scheduled ordering: Customers can set up orders ahead of time if they know they won’t be too keen on cooking at home
  • Features: It allows customers to leave feedback, track orders in real time, and utilize special filters to search through menu items quickly
  • Loyalty programs: Customers can quickly access loyalty programs or discounts

Some cons of getting an app may include:

  • Cost: Creating an app requires hiring a specialized developer and is oftentimes more expensive than creating an optimized website
  • Maintenance: Restaurant app maintenance can require more time and effort due to regular updates, ensuring customers have the best experience
  • Reliability: Slow delivery and incorrect orders can happen more frequently with using an app
  • Security: Restaurant apps have more direct access to sensitive customer information, meaning you must ensure data is securely stored
  • Space: Apps require customers to download and log in on their mobile devices, which takes up space on their phones

Whether or not your restaurant decides to use a restaurant app or an optimized website, technology is essential in today’s world and having an online presence is key to success.

Battle Labor Shortages Effectively with Help from NCCO

The restaurant industry is facing a troubling labor shortage today. NCCO can help you process orders more efficiently and keep more customers happy with our automated labeling, food rotation labels, tamper-evident labels, and more.