Should Independent Restaurants Invest in Their Own Mobile App?

May 20, 2022

For independent restaurants, establishing a presence in the delivery market is paramount to driving additional revenue. Having ordering capabilities on your website is one smart way to tap into this growing revenue stream. 

However, studies show that mobile apps are currently the leading ordering platform for food delivery. With that in mind, is it beneficial for establishments to build their own mobile app or partner with third-party services for food delivery? We explore these questions below.

What are the Benefits of Mobile Apps for Restaurants?

During 2020, third-party delivery services helped restaurants get food to their customers and generate revenue during a critical time. Today, consumers are still ordering for delivery, even as in-house dining has opened up. This has prompted some independent establishments to develop mobile apps in order to provide their own delivery services, preserve profits, and ensure quality. 

Is investing in a mobile app suitable for your restaurant? Read on for benefit analysis.

Mobile Apps Can Boost Sales

Mobile apps allow restaurant owners to increase profits by tailoring discounts, promotions, and event updates via push notifications. Owners can directly reach out to their customers who have installed the app, which creates a more personalized experience. 

Plus, thanks to geolocation, you can specifically target your neighbors and nearby community. This is especially handy if you want to do a flash promotion for a lunch special, share a neighborhood discount coupon, and more. Mobile apps are savvy marketing tools that allow restaurant owners to personally connect with their customer base.

While third-party apps also have the ability to target local audiences, 57 percent of today’s customers prefer using a restaurant’s app over a third-party’s. Investing in your own app means you have the potential to tap into a robust consumer base.

Mobile Apps Tap Into Rising Revenue Stream

Between 2015 and 2020, the food delivery market increased by 204 percent. With more and more customers using food delivery platforms in recent years, revenue generated from food delivery sales is anticipated to reach $42 billion by 2025. Taking advantage of mobile apps now can enable restaurant owners to tap into a profitable market that is only expected to grow. 

Building an in-house app means that you aren’t losing part of those profits to third-party fees, which can vary from 15 to 30 percent of your total ticket sales. That means more money going directly to your independent restaurant.

In-House Mobile Apps have a Healthy Return on Investment

Because apps allow you to potentially expand your customer base, tap into a burgeoning market, and reduce fees, you have a higher potential for an increased ROI. Plus, there’s not too much financial investment upfront. 

What Are Some Restaurant App Features?

Restaurant app features include menus, ordering options, push notifications, location services, and the ability to leave reviews.

Knowing what you want your app to accomplish is the first step in the development process. Typically, less complex designs will still include:

  • Menus
  • Ordering and payments
  • Push notifications
  • Location services
  • Customer review capabilities

More complicated designs might also include social media integration, live chats, and order tracking. 

Investing in your own mobile app can be one of the most effective tools to reach your target audience, increase sales, and expand into a new revenue stream.

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