Mobile apps are fast overtaking websites as a means for raising greater revenues and profits in aggressively competitive spaces such as restaurants and food service. Mobile apps are being adopted by a fast-growing number of customers, especially in food ordering/ delivery space, because
- It is easy to use and navigate – a few clicks, taps and swipes will do the job
- It is portable and mobile – orders can be placed from anywhere, at any time and for anyone by the customer
- It offers comfort – Menus, offers, etc. are at the customers’ fingertips, several payment options exist and the food gets delivered at their doorstep without the hassle of interaction, miscommunications, etc.
When small/ medium/ local offline food service/ restaurant businesses develop and maintain a dedicated brand app, instead of depending on purely offline business/ mobile and telephone for orders/ aggregator platforms and third-party portals, they stand to gain a wider reach in a cost-effective manner and direct access to customers without having to worry about losing potential orders to competitors. (For detailed insights on why having a dedicated brand app is a must, check this previous blog).
Effective strategies for building a dedicated brand app for your restaurant/ food service business
#1 Focus On Creating Value
Before building the brand app for your restaurant/ food service business, you must assess what are the pain points for customers and core challenges for you that you are looking to solve using the app. For instance, is it a single platform to take pre-orders, make reservations, order food, get offers, etc.? Do you lose customers to competitors on aggregator platforms? Are you seeking faster ordering and delivery and expanding your customer base? Are you looking to amplify your brand voice? Once you have clarity on pain points and core challenges, strategize on how to address these and create greater value for the customers and your business.
The mobile app is a powerful tool to help build trust and relationships with customers and nurture customer loyalty. Annoying notifications, junk, irrelevant content/ notifications/ offers, etc. will only make the customer uninstall and block your app. So, ensure that your app is creating great value for the customer. Provide only relevant and customized push notifications, engaging content, and compelling offers to prod them to come back for more.
#2 Remember That Customer Experiences Can Make Or Break Your App
Focus on crafting unique, seamless, and cohesive customer experiences through the app. Customization, automation, integrated and speedy processes, live support through conversational bots, rider tracking, customer feedback collection, etc. are indispensable components to include.
#3 Focus On Functionality And Ease-of-use
While it is tempting to concentrate on elaborate designs and colors, functionality and ease of use are most important. Some points to keep in mind:
- Focus on creating a user-friendly, hassle-free, and easy-to-navigate User Interface (UI).
- Keep the designs clean, crisp, and non-distracting.
- Integrate filters but not too many. Remember that the idea is to make the choice easier for the customer, not hard. Include filters such as location (if you have multiple locations), price, course classification (starters, main, rice, bread, dessert, signature dishes, etc.), meat/veg, etc.
- Include mouth-watering photos of your dishes. Try to include simple descriptions of the dishes.
#5 Some Features That You Cannot Miss
- Live order tracking and customer support are a must.
- Integrate your loyalty rewards and referral programs into your app.
- Integrate easy payment options including a secure payment gateway.
- Let your app reflect your unique brand voice.
- Simple customer feedback forms
- Collecting performance analytics is a must
- Integrate social media platforms on the app and coax customers to post on their social media to give you organic reach.
#6 Ensure You Get The Best ROI
With subscription-based platforms like Uengage, it is feasible and cost-effective for small and medium businesses to build, operate and maintain their own dedicated app for food ordering. You save on hefty commissions that third-party portals and aggregator platforms charge, you get direct access to customers and maximize your reach, sales and profits. You also save immensely on having an in-house tech team as platforms like Uengage has an entire team of tech experts working on the technology part of the app while you can focus on your core business.