Why Does Your Restaurant Business Need a Mobile App?

You might be wondering why a restaurant needs a mobile app – and in this article I’m going outline just that. Here’s the basic truth: your restaurant needs a mobile app and it needs it, like, yesterday.

You may be a café or bar owner, someone looking to break into the restaurant industry or someone who already owns a successful restaurant business, but if you don’t get into the world of restaurant apps, you’re business is going to be left behind by the competition.

Why build your own restaurant app?

Apps are a huge, huge revenue stream for restaurant businesses. Take a look at Starbucks. The company is undoubtedly one of the most successful in the industry and paves the way when it comes to mobile transactions. They drew in $10 billion dollars of revenue since they opened their mobile app, but a whopping $1.6 billion of revenue was brought in by the mobile app alone. 16% of their monetary transactions took place over their online app. Don’t you think that’s worth the investment?

Here are six reasons you need to make a mobile app for your restaurant now.

Most Restaurants Fail

This is a scary thing to think about if you own a restaurant, but the truth is that most restaurants fail. Here are the very real statics of just how risky of a business you’re in. According to research done by Ohio State University:

  • 60% of restaurants fail in the first year
  • 80% of restaurants go bankrupt in five years

Investing in mobile app development for your restaurant can help give your business more security by opening up your range of customers and offering them incentives to come in. 60% of local searches on mobile convert into real, paying customers within an hour. Isn’t that pretty valuable? Keep scrolling down and we’ll show you how to get started.

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Location-Based Deals

The best way to bring customers into your restaurant is to entice them with deals. A mobile app can certainly help sway weary customers by offer a deal based on their location. Location-Based deals are a must because:

  • 72% of millennials express serious interest in location-based restaurant offers
  • 88% of restaurant-goers said they’d be interested in downloading an app that gives advantages while they’re in your restaurant.
  • Half of your customers will download your app and return for special offers

We’re going to outline how to get started with creating an app for your restaurant, but apps like Foursquare and Yelp have been doing this for years, so it’s about time you get on board. While I definitely recommend signing up for those services, it’s great to have your own. You can use GPS coupons (people who check into your app get rewards just for visiting) or iBeacon technology (hardware that lets you catch the location of your app’s users and send notifications to stop in). This all helps bring people in and create customer loyalty, raising your profits.

Online Ordering

I’m going to be honest: a mobile app for restaurant ordering will change your entire business’ revenue stream. Your customers should not have to pick up a phone to order. Here’s why online ordering is perhaps the most important part of a custom mobile app for restaurants.

  • Many millennial clients don’t want to pick up a phone and order food, so they’ll skip right over your restaurant.
  • Online ordering is a $9 billion industry you’re missing out on.

If a customer can get your product while they’re sitting on their couch and barely have to lift a finger, they’ll definitely be more likely to order. Plus, there’s not a single person out there who enjoys being put on hold. If you read on, I’m going to show you how to get started with your restaurant’s mobile app development.

Loyalty Programs Made Easy

Gone are the days of loyalty punch cards. You owe your business (and your customers) so much more than that. Let’s look at the stats of what happened when Pizza Rach, a local pizzeria, ran a loyalty program. They gave their customers double points on a certain day if they came in and bought something. It was a huge success.

  • They received 67.6% more business
  • They’re ROI was 780% on the money they invested.

Restaurant mobile app development was well worth it for Pizza Ranch – and it will be well worth it for you, too. We’ll show you how to get started below, but there are number of ways a mobile-based loyalty program will help your business.

A mobile loyalty program will encourage your customers to come back frequently – but this is so much better than a physical punch card. You can send your customers push notifications and special offers if they haven’t been to your location in a while (or for no reason at all because everyone loves a deal). Keep your restaurant on your customer’s mind and they’ll always come back. It should also be noted that 52% of all restaurant-goers are willing to download restaurant apps and return to redeem deals and promotions

Streamlined Order Fulfillment and Payment

Building a mobile app for your restaurant isn’t just about bringing in a new revenue stream – it also helps out your staff and frees them up to help customers currently in-store. Restaurants without mobile apps suffer from a few problems:

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  • Someone has to answer the phones all day, instead of serving customers in-store.
  • Customers don’t always carry cash, which can prevent them from ordering regular delivery.
  • Orders can easily become mixed up and you can lose business because you’re playing a game of telephone with your customers and restaurant staff.

A mobile app for your restaurant will eliminate these problems, and we’ll show you how to get started below. In-app payment not only frees up your desk staff and makes your delivery guys less stressed-out, but customers who don’t carry physical cash will be more likely to order.

Orders are also streamlined. There’s no yelling to your kitchen guy about what’s needed leaving items left out of orders and unhappy customers who don’t come back. It’s a simple one step process that saves you money in the long run (you’ll get less returns and save money on staff), and it makes everyone happy.

Free Advertising and Referalls

A mobile app can greatly boost the visibility of your dining establishment by encouraging users to share and refer other customers for rewards. According to Referrizer:

  • 83% of customers are willing to refer restaurants to their friends
  • Less than 29% refer people without an incentive.

Imagine the revenue stream you could pick up if 83% of your customers referred a friend. An app that offers this incentive and gives points and rewards to those who share on social media or refer friends via SMS will help you encourage that 83% to share. It’s essentially free advertising that increases your ROI.

How to Build a Mobile App for Restaurants

Figuring out how to build a mobile app for your restaurant may seem pretty overwhelming, but I can help. Here’s how to get started:

  • Decide which features you want (mobile ordering, loyalty programs, location-based deals, etc.)
  • Find restaurant app developers who are willing to take on your project
  • Work with your app’s developers to create the functionality you desire
  • Launch your app to a small range of customers and gather feedback
  • Edit your app according to customer feedback and launch to the public

And finding a restaurant mobile app developers is really the most difficult part – especially because it takes you away from what you love, owning and running your restaurant.


There’s no reason not to develop a restaurant mobile app. The return on investment is well, well worth it. It may seem like something costly and out of reach, especially if you’re a small business owner or just starting out, but that’s not actually the case.

The truth is you can get started for as little as $10,000 if you keep features to a minimum, and you’ll probably see a handsome ROI within just a few days if you play your cards right. What do you have to lose?

Alexey Semeney

Founder at DevTeamSpace
Tech entrepreneur and avid product developer
Alexey Semeney