Our smart phones have become a part of many of our day-to-day activities. It's no surprise that smart phones have become part of our dining experience. Consumers today are more connected than ever in almost all aspects of their lives thanks to smart phones. As a result, consumers are becoming more interested in how they buy things where traditionally they've been more interested in what they buy. An app can help fast casual restaurants capitalize on this trend.
Here's some food for thought (pun intended):
Starbucks’ mobile app accounted for 21 percent of its Q1 U.S. transactions. Its top feature—Mobile Order & Pay—represents 10 percent of total transactions at high-volume Starbucks stores, directly contributing to increased sales (Mobile Strategies 360).
Domino’s supports payment across 15 platforms, including Apple Watch, Amazon Echo and Samsung TV. More than half of U.S. sales are driven through digital (Business Insider).
Taco Bell experiences 20 percent higher average orders on mobile than in-store purchases (Mobile Commerce Daily).
There are many different approaches restaurants can take when utilizing technology to enhance relationships with consumers. Creating an app for your fast casual restaurant is one of the most popular. Why? 77% of Americans own a smartphone, up from 35% in 2011. Here's why you should have a fast casual restaurant app.
Smart phone make a lot of things more convenient, including, and most importantly for our purposes, ordering food. If a fast casual restaurant has an app, this is a huge draw for customers. While many fast-casual restaurants have a mobile site, an app is typically easier to use, especially if a user frequents a particular restaurant.
Aside from being convenient for customers, online ordering also benefits the restaurant. Did you know that orders placed through an app. or online are on average 23% larger than those created in store or on the phone? Ordering in a digital environment creates a no-pressure up-selling opportunity. The benefits don't stop there. Fast casual restaurants who utilize apps have also seen improved order accuracy and an decrease in the time it takes to serve customers during rush traffic hours.
But in order to reap these benefits, your fast casual restaurant app has to be developed correctly and have a clear benefit. All too often companies rush to jump on the bandwagon for the sake of having a mobile app out there. Even if you go back and improve your app's shortcomings, it may be too late. 23% of apps downloaded are only opened once and then either deleted or never opened again. You don't want your app to fall into this category because developing an app requires a lot of time, resources, and money.
According to FastCasual.com, poorly built fast casual mobile apps are usually not optimized for frequent micro engagements, requiring multi-input navigation (i.e., not tailored for the most common customer journeys and frequent touch points, such as finding nearest location, displaying the menu, ordering ahead, etc.); or lack the features customers expect (i.e., order ahead, loyalty programs and discounts, etc.); or they’re intuitive, ugly, slow or otherwise full of defects. If your fast causual mobile app falls into any of these categories, you may be asking, was investing your fast casual app worth it?