How to Create Restaurant Mobile App: Key Features & Dev Process
Reading time: 11 minutes
Many industries are enhancing the customer experience with mobile apps, and the restaurant industry is no exception. These apps allow owners to optimize processes, increase profits and build a personalized marketing strategy. How can you develop a useful mobile app for your restaurant? How can you simplify the interaction between customers and restaurant staff? Read on to learn tips based on our experience in mobile app development for restaurants that will help your business thrive.
Application for Restaurant: Why do You Need It?
Unlike a website or a social network, an app allows you to more deeply interact with the client. When customers install your mobile app, your brand is always in view. The app allows you to grab users’ attention and reduce advertising expenses. Mobile application statistics show that an average phone owner uses 10 apps per day and 30 apps per month. Mobile development experts from Buildfire state that mobile apps are expected to generate over $935 billion in revenue by 2023.
Having an app can take your restaurant business to the next level. Here are the main reasons why:
- Interaction with clients. You have dozens of interaction possibilities. For example, you can provide updates on the restaurant’s news, special offers, or loyalty programs. One of the most common ways of communicating with an audience is through push notifications about the dish of the day. They increase the likelihood of purchasing a particular dish and ensure that customers remember you. Another useful feature is mobile payments; clients don’t have to wait for the bill and can pay online just in a few taps. An additional great feature is restaurant reservation. When you reserve a table using an app, come to the restaurant without having to worry about finding a table when you get there.
- Simple order processing. If your chefs see an order via software, they can start preparing it immediately upon notification. Visitors can order food in the app. In this case, the cooks immediately receive notifications about these orders and start cooking. The only task for waiters is to bring the order to the customers. In addition, this way, people can order food outside the restaurant and come when it’s ready. This feature is especially appealing to millennials as they are often more comfortable interacting with the world through the screen.
- Presence in social media. Your customers will be able to share information about your restaurant with friends online. Thus, you will expand your audience and acquire clients organically. This also makes it a lot easier to follow a link from the app to visit a specialized review website and share your experiences at the restaurant. And, as will all businesses, the more reviews you have, the more trust you will get.
- Visual appeal. Not every restaurant can place a photo of every dish on the menu. Mobile apps, on the other hand, seem to be invented for this purpose. When customers see images of available items, they are more ready to buy. If the pictures are also appetizing, this increases your chances of earning even more.
Key features of your restaurant's app
We’ve gathered the top 8 features that build the basis of any application for a restaurant. Let’s dive in and learn what they are!
Introducing a comprehensible and clear menu is a must for mobile apps for restaurants. Let your customers look at the menu, find out the ingredients used and the calories. Think of where to locate the order button for more convenience.
Take a look at the example from Azoft app development practices — Foodzi, a restaurant menu app for Japanese and Chinese cuisine. Using the app, customers can find out what the dishes are made of, calculate the energy value, choose the most appropriate delivery option, and make an online payment. Restaurant staff can quickly change menu parameters and prices.
Time is precious. Therefore, a pre-order feature can save time for you and your guests. This works well for fast food restaurants where guests have to wait in the line. For example, Starbucks successfully uses a pre-order feature in their app.
#3. Loyalty program
Loyalty programs in development for restaurants are popular, but it’s annoying to carry a stack of cards in your wallet. However, a mobile app is usually at hand. Users can easily save bonuses up and spend them via the app.
Famous pizzeria chain Papa John’s has a loyalty program built into their app. Users get bonuses for orders and then can exchange them for rewards.
#4. Order history
If a user prefers specific dishes, they can quickly repeat the order via order history in the app. This feature is implemented in the Papa John’s app. This makes users feel cared for. They know that the restaurant can offer them what they want.
#5. Making orders
When a waiter receives an order from the guests, they have to give it to the crew in the kitchen. Аn app can save time going between the dining room to the kitchen and back.
Azoft developed a mobile app for restaurants that helps waiters fill out an order and send it immediately to the cooks. The app also has a mobile POS feature to close the check on the spot and accept payments on the go.
#6. Rounds system
Here is our fully-featured app for a restaurant. The resulting solution has two versions.
The first one is traditional. When guests come to the restaurant, they can order food via a tablet on the table, eat, drink, chat with friends, pay for the meal using the tablet, and leave. The second is a version with rounds. A guest makes an order, and then a 50-minute round begins. When it ends, the guest can pay the bill and leave the place or they can open a new round, ordering new dishes.
The system of rounds is popular in Europe. Restaurant guests like the clear algorithm of reserving tables: you can learn what table and when will be available. Restaurant owners choose the round system because guests don’t sit for hours with one cup of coffee as they have to order additional dishes to stay. It helps to increase restaurant profit.
#7. Search for a cafe nearby
Geolocation helps users to find restaurants nearby. Of course, users can do it via an ordinary map. However, don’t neglect this feature especially when you have a restaurant chain.
Practice shows — users give more trust to cafes with a familiar cuisine. The app to locate restaurants can also be widened with information about available tables, specials, and events at restaurants.
Our partner Domino’s Pizza uses geolocation in their app. Using the app restaurant guests can find a nearby restaurant as well as look at the menu, make an order, and follow up the delivery.
#8. Taxi order
Users will appreciate the opportunity to book a taxi for a reduced price to visit their favorite restaurant.
For instance, Zomato is an online service for restaurant search that became an Uber partner. Thus, a user who chooses a restaurant on the website can book an Uber at the same time with the price for the trip. There are no worries about parking.
Process of the mobile app development
The app development for any purpose should be clear and standardized. This allows the customer and the contractor to be on the same page and achieve project success faster. At Azoft, we divide the app development process into six stages. Let's take a closer look at these stages.
Planning and estimation
At this stage, the client shares with us the idea of the project. We ask questions and clarify requirements to estimate the app development cost more accurately. We provide the client with a preliminary estimate and if it suits them, we discuss the product in more detail and draw up the final version of the assessment. By the end of this stage, the contract has been signed, and it’s time to get to work!
Analysts clarify the desired outcome, goals and functions of the product. The client explains the requirements and analysts “translate” them into the language of the restaurant mobile app developers. At this stage, the parties discuss business objectives, final requirements, priorities and constraints.
The purpose of this stage is to make the product enjoyable, understandable, and user-friendly. Designers actively interact with analysts and create a design based on a prepared set of artifacts. We approve the mobile restaurant design concept and create interactive prototypes at the request of the client. At the end of this stage, the client approves the layouts and we hand them over to our developers.
This is where the main work on the project occurs. In this stage the developers create a mobile product that the customer will use. Frontend developers work with the layout of the designers so that a user can see and interact with it directly. Backend developers ensure that the response from the server reaches the client and the designed blocks function as desired. Additionally, the backend provides a convenient and safe environment for the customer to add and edit content on their site. The result of this stage is software that is ready for testing.
QA engineers check for compliance with design and technical specifications. In testing, they use test documentation to conduct manual and automated testing. These processes help us to verify the functionality of different software components of the project and to minimize bugs. As a consequence, customers get to save money, ensure their business’ security, and protect their reputation.
After the release, Azoft does not stop participating in the project. We provide free support for the mobile app for a year from the date of launch. If you suddenly need to fix something, we will do it for free and it will be treated as a top priority. If, during the first months after the product’s release, it becomes clear where and what needs to be finished or redone, then we offer to conclude a maintenance agreement or start a new development phase taking into account new data.
Mobile technologies are a must in the restaurant business. They help engage customers, increase loyalty, and grow profit. If you want to stand out among your competitors, consider creating an app. Whether you own a large restaurant chain or a small cafe, your customers will be grateful if you create a high quality user-friendly app. Our professional development team will help you build a strong restaurant app and choose the best features according to your business model. Contact us to create a restaurant app.