Profits in the restaurant business come from two sources: serving as many customers as possible and keeping costs as low as possible.
And if you are a quick-service restaurant, a mobile app will help you do both.
Saving Your Time (And Your Customer’s)
QSRs allow customers to view your menu and order their food before they’ve left the office or their home. They can coordinate the pickup time with you so that their meal can be made fresh to order, just moments before they arrive. You suddenly have the advantage of getting a glimpse of your day and knowing at least some of the orders that will need to be prepared, before any customers have even set foot in your store.
Not only is it a bonus for you, but it’s a bonus for the customers too. No more waiting around for their lunch to be made. No more waiting in long lines just to order and pay (before the food is even in the process of being made). No more unwrapping a burger and wondering how long it had been sitting on the heating tray before you picked it up.
Because of this convenience, your customers will reward you. Their time is valuable, and they appreciate you showing them this respect. Giving your customers back 15 minutes of their lunch hour is no small feat, and it will be noticed. They will be back and they will tell their friends. Even if they only tell their friends “Hey, this restaurant was pretty good…”, they view your restaurant in a positive light. And that’s still a win for you.
Driving Higher Average Order Value
On top of the convenience factor, customers also get more time to decide on what they want; they get to fully explore the menu without being rushed. Since this is an app, they can be shown images of the most popular items, notified of discounts when business is slow, and rewarded with loyalty vouchers and coupons, driving higher revenues and increased stock turnover.
It’s only natural for the final step of the app order to be payment, which allows the customer to utilize their mobile banking and for you to know that, even if someone doesn’t turn up and their food goes to waste, they still paid for it. This locks in sales, improves the client experience and reduces waste — all in one go.
Improving Order Accuracy
Once the order is received, there is no doubt from your staff about what the customer has asked for. No misheard orders behind a busy counter, no fat-finger errors typing the order into the machine. The customer has placed their order themselves, and it’s gone straight to the staff to prepare, in clear black-and-white, further reducing that nasty waste we mentioned earlier.
Maximizing Customer Data
While all this is going on, you’re collecting data as well. What are people ordering? At what times? And at what locations?
Are there events that you can leverage? Are there particular spending patterns amongst your demographics? Can you learn each customer’s preferences, and tailor their ordering experience accordingly? Let them know when their favourite dish is on sale, let them save their favorite order so they can get “the usual” from their usual store at the usual time.
Plus, your customers can provide you with feedback directly through the app as well. Which stores are the friendliest, cleanest, fastest, most reliable, easiest to find a parking spot, and any other variable that you can think of. The stores can get nearly real-time feedback and locate their areas for improvement.
Leveling the Playing Field
Perhaps the biggest argument for using a QSR app is this: you can’t afford not to. Your biggest competitors are already moving into this space. Starbucks, Chipotle, Taco Bell, Pei Wei and Wendy’s are already investing heavily to develop this as an offering for their customers. These are the businesses that already push you with large advertising budgets, well known brands, huge location numbers and massive negotiating power. They know that the next big thing is to turn “fast food” into “instant food”, and cutting down the time that customers spend in the store is a huge step towards this.
A Business Imperative for Small Restaurant Owners
This isn’t to say that it’s already too late, or that you need to be a big, global brand to develop your own QSR mobile app. Not at all. Being smaller can be an advantage, because you don’t have to deal with a huge chain of stores that can’t agree on how it should work. You don’t need to bargain and negotiate and tread carefully, because there’s no real risk for you in trying something. If Taco Bell releases an app to the world and it doesn’t work or it’s annoying to use, there’ll be memes across the internet before the end of the day and #TacoBellMoreLikeTacoHell will be trending on Twitter. It will be a PR nightmare.
Small restaurant owners can also get quality mobile apps developed with best-in-class features and a great UI and UX — and at very competitive prices to boot. It’s no longer the prerogative of the big brands. Your job will only be to carefully select a top mobile app development company and your products will do the rest of the work for you. Your main advantage is the quality that you provide. If you offer a much higher quality with a similar service, you will be miles ahead.
Tip for Starters
Focus on the basics before the frills; get an app that lets people see your menu, pick what they want and when they want to pick it up, and pay for it right now. The rest can be worried about later.
Your business has worked because you could offer something that no one else could, certainly not the mass-produced fast food restaurants. QSR provides the opportunity to expand your niche; to offer your food to people who appreciate quality, but perhaps don’t appreciate waiting for it to be prepared. While a gourmet lunch may be affordable to them, time is money and waiting for 30 minutes while it is prepared, is not so affordable.
People will always appreciate quality food served with quality service.
Want to build a QSR mobile app for your restaurant?