Published July 15, 2020
Mobile ordering apps are on the rise, which is something your customers already wanted even before the current crisis. As reported by Restaurant Dive in late 2019, 43% of consumers said that they wanted restaurants to have their own mobile ordering app, but only 18% of them did. And, especially during the pandemic, your restaurant app can help support your off-premise services—a potential lifeline for your business.
Beyond pleasing your current restaurant guests and attracting new ones, there are many benefits that come with having your own mobile ordering app linked to your restaurant pos system.
Promoting your restaurant’s mobile ordering app plays a large part in the success it brings to your business. You can have the best branded app that caters to every one of your customer's needs, but if they don't know that it exists none of that will matter. Here are some things to consider:
Reach out to your customers before your mobile ordering app is developed. Ask them what's important to them and what they would value from your mobile ordering app. To increase participation, offer them a free app or 15% off their next order for taking a couple of minutes of their time. You'll generate some excitement with your customers, cultivate more loyalty by letting them know that you care and you can use it to develop an app that will be the right fit for your business (and a chance to strengthen your brand).
Create a mobile ad campaign. Speaking of mobile, it's also the best place to reach your customers. In fact, mobile ad campaigns have been growing in popularity for good reason, the same reason why having a mobile ordering app is good for business: the platform to reach them is nearly always in the palm of their hands or resting near them. From catchy banner ads to teasers that lead to a well-branded landing page, mobile advertising for restaurants is a must.
Use social media wisely. While social media is one of the best ways of marketing to your customers, doing it well is important. Restaurants can hurt themselves when they post content that isn't well thought out, like only copying and pasting links. Get creative, stay on brand and cut to the chase.
Related: 6 best practices can help restaurants run a more successful social media campaign and drive more traffic. Read more.
Gain some influencers. Your restaurant is part of the community so you likely know some people who influence it. Make a list of some of them, get in contact and let them know that you'll be launching your restaurant's mobile ordering app and ask them if they'd be interested in helping to spread the word.
Optimize for the app stores. According to Modern Restaurant Management, it's also a good idea to optimize everything from your app's name to your relevant keywords to any free food offers so people can easily find your app and download it.
Make good use of your restaurant website. You've already got a great tool to market your mobile ordering app: your website's home page. Use it to place a promotional banner at the top and incorporate pop-up offers for customers when they download your app in their app store. Make sure your ads stay on brand, which may give you the opportunity to fine tune as well.
Make a blog post. If your restaurant has a blog, you've got a great opportunity to connect more with your customers. And it's a free and easy way for your to advertise your mobile ordering app. Make sure to keep it simple and enticing—and mention the benefits of using it.
Facebook is still number one. With an average of 2.23 billion users, Facebook remains a popular and effective platform for advertising. One of the largest advantages Facebook offers is that it supports all types of content, including text, pictures and videos. Another thing to keep in mind is that 94% of Facebook users check their feeds using their mobile devices—so whatever form your ads take, make sure they work with mobile devices.
Whatsapp isn't just for friends and family. Thousands of businesses advertise on Whatsapp for good reason—like Burger & Relish in Accra, Ghana, who uses it to advertise to 6,000 followers. With over two billion users, it's growing in popularity around the world and provides a powerful way to reach your customers.
YouTube is a great way to showcase a demo of your app. When you're ready to reveal your mobile ordering app, YouTube, with its 1.9 billion users, is a great way to do it. And it could be the perfect teaser to use in your restaurant’s marketing campaign.
Instagram is the go-to for fast and effective reach. They say a picture is worth a thousand words for a reason—and that's never been more true (since the invention of smartphones, the average adult's attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to eight, making it shorter than that of a goldfish). So, posting a well-branded, enticing photo of your mobile ordering app will be key.
Related: How well do you know Generation Z consumers, the segment set to spend $143 billion this year? Here's what makes them tick.
Marketing campaigns need thorough strategies for a reason; it's how you're going to get the most out of a mobile ordering app. To help, here are some tips:
No matter the disruptions to the restaurant industry, technology can help you still deliver the best dining experience possible for new and existing customers. From finding ways to offer safer, low-contact dining-in options to providing seamless food delivery, you can find ways to put your best foot forward. And, with a mobile ordering app that reflects your brand and delivers great user experience, you can do just that.