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Restaurant Apps & The Evolution of Connecting with Your Patrons

Aug 30, 2021 Franchise Information

For those who need a quick bite and don’t want to leave their house, food delivery apps are where it’s at.

People nowadays have a smartphone almost always in hand. Mobile devices have simplified the food ordering and delivery experience in personal and effective ways.

The Canadian food delivery market is projected to reach $98 billion by 2027. The evolution of food ordering apps plays a significant role in that.

Targeting with Customization

Think of food ordering apps like Netflix, but for food.

By creating an account in a food-ordering app, restaurants are enabled to track preferences and provide direct customization options that meet a customer’s taste and needs.

In addition to being able to refer to your patrons by name, and recalling delivery addresses, great food ordering apps can also help brands to serve up deals and menu items that have become a person’s default, as well as suggest similar items the customer may be interested in.

With options that allow restaurants to see order history, and to re-order someone’s previous order, delivery has become faster, and more intuitive — for both restaurants and patrons.

For 33.8% of Canadians, convenience is the top reason to order food online during the pandemic.

Customer Loyalty & Gamification

Why do you come back to play phone games like Candy Crush or Words with Friends time and time again? Simple — because it’s fun, and gaining points and rewards just feels good.

Gamifying customer experiences through apps has increased customer loyalty by keeping things fresh and engaging. ​​According to Get Social, gamification influences and motivates people by:

  • Awakening curiosity
  • Fostering competition
  • Creating a sense of control

So, whether it’s getting a sixth pizza for free, collecting Monopoly pieces, or spinning a wheel for a free appetizer, gamification ultimately will help to keep people coming back for more.

Advantages of Food App Aggregators

Many restaurants around the country rely on third-party platforms like Skip The Dishes to provide delivery services. There’s no question that these food app aggregators have revolutionized food delivery. They have become almost second nature for patrons who wish to order food delivery.

Although food app aggregators are great for staying competitive in the online space, sometimes the margins can have a detrimental effect on profitability, depending on the arrangement.

Recipe Unlimited has established solid relationships with several major food app aggregators, and fortunately can offer potential franchisees a more reasonable balance.

Custom Apps for Restaurant Brands

In addition to partnering with aggregators, some brands can also benefit from a custom app that brings their brand elements and messaging to life.

A customized brand app can often allow for more flexibility when it comes to offering free food, deals on favourites, curbside pickup, loyalty points, contests, and more.

For example, with the Recipe Unlimited Swiss Chalet App you can:

  • Order and pay ahead
  • Get delivery
  • Get Chalet Valet curbside pickup
  • Give the gift of Swiss Chalet
  • Get special offers
  • Play ‘Chalet World’

In other words, the Swiss Chalet app has become its own world, designed specifically for Swiss Chalet lovers — much like an exclusive game or mini-website.

The Canadian food industry has committed more than $12 billion to investments in online platforms, so clearly it’s an area where restaurants are planning a lot of future development.

While there’s no right answer for where your brand should be positioned in the app world, one thing is for sure — it’s good to be available to your customers in as many places as possible.

The Agility of Food Apps

You may be wondering how apps will help restaurants if there’s another COVID-19 “setback”. The short answer is — they help keep restaurants profitable, and people employed.

The lockdowns and restrictions forced much of the population to depend on a food delivery app. Without online ordering and delivery, many restaurants were unable to survive shutdowns.

Today, with more than 50% of bars and restaurants saying they will likely adopt contactless delivery permanently, and 49.4% of Canadians intending to continue ordering online at least once a week after the pandemic, the evolution is clear.

It’s become essential for food brands to go digital, go mobile-friendly, and find new ways to meet and engage with their customers during the ordering process.

Pandemic or not, apps are here to stay.

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