Top 8 Things to Consider When Implementing Consumer Mobile Apps in Your Restaurant

By : Jon Lawrence

June 05, 2015 07:45 PM

In the past year, there has been an explosion of new channels and devices that guests can use to interact with your restaurant. Multi-channel ordering actually started gaining momentum in the mid-2000s as restaurants started introducing online ordering from PCs.

And it’s only been three short years since Apple brought the smartphone to the mass consumer market. Now we’re starting to see the beginnings of additional mobile channels open up with the launch of smartwatches and ordering apps that can be used from the connected car.

Restaurants are quickly moving towards multi-channel ordering strategies and mobile apps to meet the needs of the digital consumer and deliver unique guest experiences. It’s important to have a robust strategy for how you will enable customers to place orders from multiple devices and from anywhere.

But you also need to take into consideration and come up with a plan for the areas that will be impacted the most once you open yourself up to orders from anywhere instead of driving them through a cashier or a server. These areas include your Front-of-House, your Kitchen, your Drive-Thru and your Curbside and Takeout.

This is the first post in a blog series we’ve created to share with you what we’ve learned as we’ve partnered with our customers in every type of concept to implement multi-channel ordering.

Consideration #1: Offering mobile payment alone isn’t enough.

We first started working with mobile consumer engagement apps in 2012 when we introduced NCR Mobile Pay as an option with our solution. When we introduced this to different concepts, we learned that it had a significant impact on cashiers and servers and sometimes made their job harder depending on how the consumer interacted with the check.

If the consumer had to scan a QR code to access their check or if the server had to enter a code on the POS to enable the mobile check, it slowed down the experience. Additionally, in quick service and fast casual operations, we also learned that consumers want more in a mobile app than just the ability to pay.

They can just as easily pull out their wallet to pay as quickly as they can their phone. But, when we worked on a more holistic mobile strategy with some of our large QSR clients, we jointly discovered that a better connection was built with the consumer when ordering, loyalty and payment was combined all in one single app experience.

The Takeaway:

When implementing mobile consumer engagement, it needs to add to the experience and be something simple and seamless that is easy for your customers to understand and your staff to communicate. As you build your mobile consumer engagement strategy, think about how to tie in things like loyalty, location awareness or gamification that may differentiate you from your competition or offer a better experience for your customers.

Check back with us next week to learn why your guests shouldn’t be the ones that train your staff on your mobile platforms.

Jon Lawrence

Sr. Dir., NCR Hospitality Solution Mngt and Product Marketing

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Jon has been designing and delivering technology solutions for two decades. At NCR, he helps define, develop, and market solutions to restaurant operators across the globe. In this blog series, Jon shares his insights on consumer mobile apps for restaurants.