The following is a guest contributed post from Abhinav Girdhar CEO of Appy Pie, the leading cloud-based DIY mobile application builder software
More than half of the population today has a restaurant app in their smartphones. Out of thousands of restaurant apps present on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, only a few hit the radar of the foodies out there to gain excellent ratings and reviews that satisfy their needs. Still, winning the customer experience battle is quite a challenging task for restaurants and fast-food chains in the current mobile world.
Apps are undoubtedly best for the hospitality industry to gain loyal customers, however people’s taste has changed over the past few years. Users nowadays seek rich, location-based, transaction-enabled apps that offer real benefits and great user experiences, and prefer them at the top than others. These varying needs have forced restaurants and fast-food chains to go beyond the customers’ expectations to win their trust.
Although restaurants and fast-food chains have to make a unique move to enrich their customers’ services, there are some who are already doing it the right way, such as Domino’s, Starbucks, etc. So what is stopping others to make a highly functional app and deliver the finest user experience? Let’s take a closer look on the essential features that can help restaurants and fast-food chains create a cool app and increase their customer base, while improving their ROI.
1) Loyalty and Referral Program
Loyalty programs are one of the most successful and low-cost marketing strategies and should be the first and foremost feature that every restaurant and fast-food chain owners integrates in their app. The biggest reason behind the importance of loyalty programs is that they are far more personal than the plastic and paper cards handed to customers. Without any worries of losing flimsy pieces of paper, loyalty cards can prove to be easy to use and redeem.
A referral program is also one of the perfect ways to gain more customers. By running refer and earn programs, restaurants can not only reward their existing customers, but can also gain new customers referred by current ones.
2) Pre-Ordering Feature
The pre-ordering feature can prove to be really worthy for restaurants as well as customers, and can save both time and effort. With this feature integrated into your restaurant or fast-food app, customers do not have to stand in long queues and wait for their turn to order a meal. Once the customer orders its meal using the pre-ordering feature, restaurants can start preparing their meal instantly and deliver it to the customers within the promised time frame.
3) Location-Based Deals
Most of the apps today make use of GPS services to track users’ location, based on what they provide them necessary information happening in their neighborhood, or for proposing special offers so that they can get desired items within a short radius. These offers are termed as location-based deals that can prove to be worthy for restaurants and fast-food chain owners in attracting more and more customers to their outlet, and improve their sales.
Sending such deals based on users’ location can also prove to be beneficial for the customers who are unfamiliar about where to go for lunch or dinner, thereby saving their time and effort, and gaining their trust.
4) Tap To Call
This is one of the amazing features that most app owners are integrating into their apps. Not only does the ‘tap to call’ feature saves customers time in browsing your complete app for your contact number, but also proves to be helpful for them in getting best deals instantly.
A sure shot success, ‘tap to call’ can be the best tool for restaurants and fast-food chains in solving their customers’ queries regarding their menu, reservation times, or location without any delay and providing them exciting offers so that they keep on returning for more.
5) Chatbots- Your Personal Assistant
Chatbots are not really the new concept in today’s app world, but are still far away from the limelight. Functioning as your personal assistant, a chatbot can be a worthy tool in building long-lasting relationships with your customers. Not only can chatbots perform real-time communication with customers and solve their queries, but can also prove to be a helping hand if any customer needs to enquire about best deals happening in your restaurant.
6) Special Offers and Discount Coupons
Many people look for special offers and discount coupons before going to a restaurant, whether celebrating a special day with a partner or celebrating a child’s birthday or even for a small get-together with friends over a weekend.
Push notifications can play a pivotal role in informing customers about the latest offers provided by the restaurants, and allow customers to save money, while having lavish food and an enjoyable time.
Even if the world is going the ‘app way’, there are many restaurants and fast-food chains who still lag behind in creating a highly functional app that fulfill their end-users needs. When deciding to build a good apps, creators must realize the work process behind the app still requires a push that can be too challenging for busy restaurant and fast-food chain owners.