Have you thought about investing in restaurant mobile app development? Because running a restaurant becomes app-dependent, too. Customer options are growing to uncountable. From food trucks to fine dining and to theme-based restaurants. Suffice to say that the menu and outstanding interior are no longer enough on its own.
A restaurant mobile app with a simple order taking option makes a difference in a sales increase. Once it looked like an advantage waiting to be grabbed. Now it is a must-have element to stand out in the competition.
Let's dot the "i's and cross the "t"s in a matter of "Why do you need a restaurant app and how to get started?" Read on and figure out more about:
Why Your Restaurant Needs a Mobile App
Since 2007 smartphones have changed our routine and brought new capabilities. That goes from grainy photos and laggy Edge to working from anywhere, managing life and finances, and talking to anyone.
According to Global Digital Overview 2020, there are 5.19 billion unique mobile phone users. And these people take 53.3% web traffic surfing on the internet via their devices.
You ask: So what?
That means that every market segment is turning into app-dependent. Being the product of the era in which we live, many companies started the implementation of the digital transformation.
How does it connect to restaurant app development? Let's check out the other numbers - this time from Restaurant Success in 2019 Report.
Order takeout and delivery change the game of the restaurant business. However, 51% of customers have done online orders from the website. That shows customer loyalty to the brand over the third-party apps.
That was the bright side. Now let's look at the dark one. Businesses fail in every industry. Undeniable fact. The numbers from the research show the tendency: 60% in the first year, and 80% within five years.
How can a restaurant app help here? Think with Google says that 94% of the US population look for local information on their smartphones. 90% of those take action as a result and 66% visit business in-store or online after the search. Once you have a mobile app, you
(a) extend your targeted customers range with offering incentives in loyalty programs
(b) convert a larger number of real, paying customers.
Another aspect is the situational factors. The Covid-19 outbreak turned our life upside down. Many businesses have gone closed and restaurants, too. But food delivery options via mobile app can enhance the lives of both restaurant owners and customers. Statista survey shows that 41,7% of US consumers would order food delivery online.
7 Benefits or Why Investing in Restaurant App
As any entrepreneur, you're wondering why your restaurant needs a mobile app? To paraphrase a fictional boss, Michael Scott: Sometimes we need things explained to us like we’re five years old. And none more so than the benefits of investing in restaurant app development.
So what makes the restaurant app so attractive?
1 User Experience
Why do people download a restaurant app? To look through the menu, order delivery, reserve a table and check up the working hours. That's convenient as customers can comment on to personalize their order or delivery.
2 Reservation Option
From the vendor’s perspective, you have a bird's eye view on the restaurant loading during the week. That helps you to plan special offers and discounts, as well as don't overload your staff.
3 Staff Efficiency
Continuing the employee topic, the restaurant order apps simplify their life. They don't need to jot down the orders from the calls and deal with the (possibly) messed orders. Besides, you can serve more customers at the same time.
The menu, interior and service are important for the reputation of your restaurant. As well the website, social media pages, and ads bring you awareness and customers. So look at the mobile app as another channel to expose your brand.
5 Customer Loyalty
Offering programs and incentives and converting more paying guests to your restaurant. People are always interested in advantages. Roughly speaking, half of your customers will download your app in return to get special offers.
6 Data for Business Improvement
Your restaurant app will collect you a lot of valuable information. That would be the popular day and time for orders and reservations, popular dishes. Also, you can collect feedback on the quality of food and service right away in-app.
7 Payment Processing
Digital payments are quite popular among different age groups. In the US, 46% of restaurant guests chose this option. To get a broader audience, think about payment gateways. This convenient option for improving staff productivity.
How to Make a Restaurant App
Creating a restaurant app starts with market search and analysis. Then covers defining the functionality of your future app. Having this ground, you can define details on the project (i.e. design, tech stack, time frames, and so on.) The MVP helps you try whether the app fits the market before the full-featured product launch.
6 Stages of Restaurant App Development
1 Market Search
You should know your competitors, targeted audience and their expectations. That data helps you to pull together customer requirements and functionality that satisfies those needs. Ensure you considered your budget for developing and maintaining the future app.
2 Documenting Features and App Requirements
This stage is something like wireframing. You create a draft of your restaurant app. Take here a pragmatic ground: the key problem of a customer is hunger. That is an urgent need so your app logic should be simple enough. The complicated app and is hard to navigate will end up uninstalled.
Pay special attention to the design. Branding, illustrations and animations are quite important.
3 Choosing Software Development Agency
The app development requires some delicate handling. And industry-specific such as apps for restaurant owners isn't the exception. Here are a few "dos" in choosing the outsource agency:
- Check up the company portfolio and customer reviews to get a clue about how they work. You can search for companies on Clutch, Upwork, GoodFirms, Wadline, ContractIQ, G2, TrustPilot.
- While choosing a vendor, don't get tempted by the price only and don't choose the options below your budget. It is better to consider the agencies with reasonable pricing you can afford.
- Consider the kind of non-traditional outsourcing destinations, like Eastern Europe. Software development agencies provide less expensive resources yet with high quality of performance.
- Run the interviews to sift through the best options. Be sure to ask questions about the team specialists, tech stack, fees and contract.
4 Creating the Restaurant App Project
Once you find your software development partner, make sure you discuss all the details:
- expected performance
- team roles
- tech stack and working procedures
- payment terms
- contract termination
5 MVP: Testing Core Functions to Fit Customers
Divide your wanted functionalities into two lists: the core and the extra. Minimum Viable Product (MVP) will include the core features to prove or dispel your marketing concepts. Moreover, MVP reduces development costs and adds up to efficiency.
6 Full-Featured Restaurant App Development and Launch
Collect customer first-hand feedback. So you will have a full story of how the features perform and what needs to be added or improved.
Note that the restaurant app development is a kind of continuous process. It takes constant updates of features based on customer feedback and requests.
Must-Have Features for Your Restaurant App
The features of your app can vary depending on the focus you choose. The restaurant app can be of a few types:
- table reservation app
- ordering and payment app
- online ordering and delivery app
- loyalty program app
Either way, you have a list of core features to be on your MVP list.
- Menu is the key feature of any restaurant app despite the type. It should be appealing and interactive. The categories and filters will be quite handy here. Apart from the dish images, think about adding ingredient information, "add to basket" or opt-out button.
- Online ordering. It takes a couple of minutes to make an order on a website while in the app that is less than a minute. Along with pick-up and delivery options, you can offer a pre-order option so customers don't need to wait for the order in the restaurant. Plus, it decreases the workload of the staff.
- Table reservation. The option to book a table via an app is more convenient than to call or do it in person. You can also go the extra mile and offer the map of your location so the guest can choose the best fitting table.
- In-app and online payments. As we mentioned above, people nowadays prefer a digital way of paying for food. That reduces the time people wait for the pick up order or don't need to bother about looking for the ATM.
- Loyalty programs. The incentive to get bonuses and special offers first is another reason to download your app. Make sure you thought about the rules of getting bonuses before developing the app.
- Push notifications perform numerous purposes. The simple case is to notify about the special offer, upcoming event, discounts, happy hours, and the like.
- Social media integration. It brings the best of two worlds: an easy way to register and a word-of-mouth marketing channel. Customers can check-in, share pictures and leave reviews within your app, too.
The extra and nice-to-have features can be the following
- Restaurant nearby.If you have a few locations, this option is quite handy. Using the geolocation option, you can lead the guest to the nearest restaurant of yours.
- Menu customization.The option to make order more personalized. Some people are allergic or prefer to avoid eating some products. This is how to offer customized service and attract a larger audience.
- Geofencing and iBeacons. These are more about marketing aspects and improved targeting. These options help to send push notifications to customers when they are somewhere near your restaurant. Interested customers become guests and add up to your profit.
- Chatbots. Today you don't need to hire a dedicated employee to answer the chat messages. Chatbots, based on artificial intelligence technology, learn to answer the different questions.
- Gamification. The gamification elements perform well in every industry. In the restaurant app, it proves to be efficient, too. There are dozens of strategies. The badges for orders or dining in. Every fifth delivery is 40% off or even free. Just choose the attractive incentive to keep guests participating.
Real Cost of Restaurant App Development
The idea is in place and the functionality is already wireframed on the paper. The next question is how much does it cost to make an app for a restaurant? Well, there is no single, standard number as there are a lot of elements to include. Let's try to figure out what influences the final costs:
- Platform and tech stack. You can build a web app or a mobile app. The tech stack influences the price, too. If you fall for Android and iOS versions, you can have two options:
- First is native apps development and hiring two dev teams. Because they write code in different languages: Android (Kotlin, Java) and iOS (Swift, Objective-C).
- Second is cross-platform development and hiring one dev team that writes the single code running on both platforms. Here you can read more about this.
- Software development rates. Various locations differ in pricing. According to remote hiring marketplaces (i.e. Upwork, Indeed, TopTale, SalaryExpert), the average software engineer hourly rate looks like
- North America $46.3
- Western Europe $67.7
- Easter Europe $32.3
- Latin America $45.7
- Asia $25.8
- Africa $28
- Work scope. The more features the app has, the more expensive it will be. You can calculate the approximate cost with Apiko's cost calculator.
- Project management. At first glance, this position isn't that necessary. Led by a professional, the project meets the deadline and faces fewer issues during the process.
- Quality assurance. The testing restaurant app is vital for finding and fixing bugs and inconsistencies. Every entrepreneur wants to market a flawless product.
Get a rough estimate of your restaurant mobile app
Over to You
Once you build a picture of the advantages your business will get with the restaurant management app, there is no room for any doubt. The statistic, thrown at you above, proves that the restaurant app may be highly profitable. Due to its branding value, sales growth, and efficiency during unforeseen situations like a pandemic outbreak.
If you have an idea for a restaurant app or you know that you can make a better version of the existing app, schedule a call with our expert. We'll be happy to help you!
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