Over the years, the restaurant industry has been slowly digitizing itself by the adoption of new-age technologies to find digital avenues to generate revenue and create brand awareness. The growth of online food delivery systems has slowly been revolutionizing the way consumers experience and interact with the restaurant industry. These platforms have enhanced restaurant services, created brand awareness as well as promotion, and introduced an easy and convenient way to access food.
Though there was a change towards a more tech-oriented service, the change was slow, with conventional service being a more preferred option for both consumers as well as businesses. But the arrival of the Covid19 pandemic has forced restaurants out of their comfort zones and has drastically changed the dynamics of business-consumer interactions.
The global lockdown in 2020 delivered a final ultimatum to restaurants across the globe to reconsider their existing strategies or go out of business. Consumers were now hesitant to visit restaurants and were finding safety and leisure through takeouts and home deliveries. Online food platforms began to prosper through a partial monopoly in the delivery business and in turn forced restaurants to offer ludicrous discounts that further scarred the businesses. Restaurants realized the value of building their own online presence and how it might help them in the days to come.
Benefits of Building Applications for Your Food Business
One of the best assets that restaurants have considered building is food applications that generate revenue as well as establish multiple touchpoints towards consumer interactions thereby helping them introduce and reestablish their brand image in the mind of the consumers. The applications also enable a straightforward method of food ordering, right from selection to transaction. Businesses derive a number of benefits that are listed below.
Grow Audience by Enhancing Online Consumer Experience
Food Applications allow businesses to communicate directly with their consumers rather than through an intermediary food platform. Food applications also help the business gain autonomy over its prices and offer unhindered value to its consumers. It also helps to project the right brand values and to gain direct feedback from the consumers and improve their overall service. Businesses can also improve their customer experience by answering all consumer queries via chat services and bots. By offering a help section, businesses can portray genuineness and gather information about the likes and dislikes of their consumers. For example, Chipotle spotted the opportunity to attract new customers by means of a delivery service offered in its app. The company’s digital sales grew 65.6 percent compared to the previous year.
Source of Data and Information
Applications help businesses gather relevant data about their consumers and their behaviors to build an extensive and powerful database that houses their preferences, behavioral traits, system information, popular orders, user flows, user types, feedback about both food orders as well as the application and many more such data points. Using advanced algorithms and by analyzing and recognizing recurring patterns, businesses can refine existing features, quality of food, quality of service and optimize them to increase marketing and sales efforts. For example, By collecting user data through their app, Starbucks has been able to try out new ideas, recipes and roll out targeted data-driven initiatives which thereby increased their loyalty program members to 16.8 million (as of April 2019).
Applications help capture the attention of a number of consumers by providing them both the leisure of browsing through various food options and the comfort of getting the food delivered without them moving a muscle. This is what makes food applications one of the leading online avenues to increase sales and make a profit. Businesses with their own applications gain autonomy over prices, promotions can push and offer deals like and app exclusives that intermediary platforms cannot. This helps in capturing and retaining a bigger share of the consumers. For example, UK’s Dominos increased its sales by 28% after the release of its mobile app.
Consumer Experience through Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs help create a personalized experience for the consumers thereby improving loyalty and retention. It also plays its part in consumer acquisition by promoting word of mouth promotions from brand loyalists and existing customers. A point-based reward program that unlocks schemes, coupons, and discounts could help businesses grow and increase profit. Using loyalty programs to trigger email alerts, SMS’ and push notifications to help create engagement points with the consumers to keep the application in the limelight. For example, Dunkin’ Donuts launched its rewards program, called DD Perks, in 2014. Using the Dunkin’ app, customers can earn, monitor, and redeem points, order up to 24 hours in advance, customize their orders, pay, send gift cards, and save favorites.
Social Media Marketing
Applications create a tertiary want for consumers by allowing them to talk about their experience with the brand through their social media channels. By using the food applications to create engageable content that pushes consumers to share on their channels, businesses can gain awareness and grow their businesses. For Example, Mcdonald’s increased its Instagram presence by running a campaign that involved customers taking pictures of their favorite meals through their app and sharing it on Instagram.
Technology is rapidly invading the food sector and is changing the way restaurants have operated. The quick-service restaurant sector is tackling digital business disruption head-on. Socioeconomic factors and consumer demand for convenience and flexible fulfillment are pushing customer experience boundaries. A study revealed that by 2025, online food orders will account for 40% of total restaurant sales with a forecasted growth rate of 15 to 20% for online food orders. It is high time that restaurants adopt a digital strategy to stay sustainable and relevant in their businesses. Nineleaps can partner with you on this transformation journey and use our expert experience in building the application that your business needs.