Smartphones and other mobile devices have changed the way people live in profound ways—including where they decide to eat. According to 2017 research from eMarketer, U.S. consumers spend an average of more than three hours a day within mobile apps (and almost another hour on the mobile web). If your fast-casual restaurant (FCR) doesn’t have a mobile ordering app, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to engage with customers.
Your mobile ordering app should offer more than just your menu and location hours—it should enable diners to order and pay ahead of time for specified pickup or delivery. The mobile order-ahead app technology is the ultimate form of convenience for your fast casual restaurant customers, resulting in several key benefits for your restaurant.
Increase Average Order Sizes
Research has shown a definite correlation between digital ordering and ticket sizes. On average, customers using mobile order-ahead apps will order more food than diners who order in person. For one thing, they don’t feel rushed by the employee taking their order or the thought of twelve people behind them in line. They can take their time to select and choose what they really want without worry about potential judgment. Larger order sizes can also be attributed to effective built-in upselling or cross-selling prompts. Larger ticket sizes combined with the ability to serve a greater number of customers translates to increased revenue for your fast casual restaurant.
Improve the Customer Experience
When your mobile order-ahead app is integrated with your point of sale (POS) system, orders are sent directly to the queue in the order they were received, ensuring timely fulfillment. This results in fewer errors, since customers can enter and check the information themselves, rather than rely on a paper ticket hastily written in a busy, noisy fast casual restaurant atmosphere. The heightened speed and accuracy of service improves the customer experience, and satisfied diners are more likely to keep coming back.
Attract New Customers
It costs less to retain customers than it does to recruit new ones—fortunately, your mobile ordering app can help you with both. According to an article in QSR Magazine, “60 percent of people trying to decide where to eat use only their mobile device to help with their decision—and 75 percent of those people haven’t decided where to dine when they start their search.”
For this reason, ensuring that your mobile ordering app is easily found is crucial.
You can leverage tools like Yelp to increase brand awareness and allow your website and mobile ordering app to be found quickly. Beyond that, you should offer customers ordering options through your mobile ordering app, such as ordering as a guest user or signing in through a social media account. Once they’ve ordered, you can save customer information to make future orders as simple as a few taps. After all, convenience drives sales.
Don’t let your fast casual restaurant fall behind the times—or the competition. Marketing and research firm The NPD Group found that restaurant visits via mobile ordering app increased 50 percent between 2017 and 2018, and that number will likely continue to grow.
“Providing the ability to easily order food from a restaurant is no longer a nice-to-have, it is a need-to-have,” says Warren Solochek, NPD’s senior vice president, industry relations. “Restaurant operators seeking to gain more visits and grow the bottom line must decide which convenience enablers, digital or non-digital, are worth their investment.” Mobile order-ahead apps are enablers worth the investment.
HungerRush has designed more than 1,000 customized mobile ordering apps for restaurants of all types and sizes. Like all of our POS and related solutions, these apps are tailored to meet customer needs, brandable, and certified technicians are part of our 24/7/365, U.S.-based support. now to learn more about how a mobile ordering app can grow your FCR sales and customer base.