Mobile, Updates

5 Restaurant App Features That Are Crucial To Optimizing ROI

Niall Quinn iOS Developer

The success of the market leaders in mobile, e.g. Starbucks, has set the bar high for other chains. The 5 restaurant app features in this post are no longer ‘nice to haves’ but ‘must-haves,’ if you want to keep up with the fast-paced mobile environment. Market leaders are already seeing over 20% of total transactions coming through their mobile apps.

At Popdeem, we’ve compiled research from mobile experts to identify the five must-have restaurant app features in 2016. As well as taken a look at some examples of how restaurant brands are using these features to drive clear value for the customer.

1. Mobile Loyalty Program

On average, the cost of acquiring a new customer is five times more expensive than the cost of keeping one. That’s why your first core restaurant app feature should be a loyalty program.

Although, punch cards and plastic loyalty cards are still used, but they are not as convenient as a loyalty app feature. Customers often lose the cards, forget them or simply shy away from using them in a crowded line. Mobile loyalty on the other hand completely removes the drop-out problem of lost cards and counterfeiting. Every customer’s login information is unique. If a customer loses or changes their phone, they simply log in to the app and all their information is stored.

Most importantly, mobile loyalty programs can be connected to transaction data to better measure success. LevelUp, a leading provider of mobile loyalty programs in the U.S., reports the following results across restaurant industry segments.

• Customer spending increases by 15% when customers redeem a loyalty incentive
• Customer spending increases by 72% when customers are close to a loyalty incentive

2. Online and In-App ordering

Online and in-app ordering not only improves the efficiency and accuracy of your purchase cycle, but it’s also convenient for your customers. The ability to avoid queues by ordering and paying in advance will drive customers to your restaurant, over competitors that fail to provide the same convenience.

At the end of 2015, Starbucks rolled out their mobile order-ahead feature to all of their 7,400 company locations in the U.S. The feature was a success, resulting in reduced queuing times, improvements in order accuracy, larger purchases, and increased efficiency.

Online and in-app ordering can increase customer spend by facilitating group purchases. Olo, a leading provider of online and in-app ordering solutions to 150+ restaurant brands, state that online and in-app ordering has increased basket size by up to 25%, for some of their clients.

3. Location-based Services: Geofencing and Beacons

We have discussed how restaurant app features improve purchase cycle efficiency and customer convenience, but how do you use your mobile app to engage with customers outside of the purchase process?

The growth of location-based technologies gives brands the ability to engage with customers when they are near their stores. For example, geofencing creates a virtual geographic boundary around an area. Beacons can trigger messages or actions when a user is within a certain distance. These technologies are the modern day alternatives to handing out flyers on the sidewalk. Geofencing and beacons paired with social profile information allow you to target customers with personalized updates, relevant items, offers, and news.

For example, Cava Grill, a LevelUp customer based in the Washington, D.C., messages customers using location-based technology to create a more personal experience. According to LevelUp, merchants who use beacons, attribute 8-12% of their weekly new customers to beacon services.

4. Mobile Payments

According to Juniper Research, mobile payment volume has increased by 40% to reach $507 billion in annual transactions. If you neglect to add mobile payments to your restaurant app features, you risk losing potential revenue.

Mobile payments provide invaluable customer data in terms of spend, basket size etc. By adding mobile payments to your restaurant app features, you can expect to see a boost the adoption of your loyalty program, accelerate check-out times and increase average spend. In October of 2015, mobile payments on the Starbucks app accounted for 21% of all sales in the US and is consistently growing.

5. Social Rewards Integration

Now that you know what restaurant app features create a convenient purchase cycle, and deliver relevant information to your users. The next question is, how do you create an engaging experience inside your app?  Or how can you grow app-registrations?

Integrating social rewards allows you to encourage and thank customers for sharing brand experiences on social media. The more brand moments are shared – the more word-of-mouth promotion occurs. Incentivize your customers to share their experiences with rewards, and watch app registrations, engagement, loyalty, and revenue increase.

You can discover valuation insights about your customers by integrating your restaurant app with social media. For example, you can find out how influential they are, what they’re interested in and much more with Popdeem. We advise using this information to create tailored reward campaigns that match your marketing needs and deliver value to users.

Social rewards inside your app is proven to increase engagement and drive new revenue through word-of-mouth marketing. The average Popdeem client generates 20% of all app downloads from social referrals. Popdeem social rewards have achieved conversion rates of as high as 40%.

Interested In Adding Some Cool Features To Your Restaurant App?

If you’re interested in features like targeted social rewards in exchange for social posts (like photos/check-ins, etc.), influencer targeting, loyalty program integrations, and analytics – then check out Popdeem’s social engagement tool. Popdeem makes it easy for you to reward your customers for sharing their experiences on social media – please visit The solution is white-labeled, fully customizable, and can be added to any existing app in 15 minutes.

With Popdeem, you can reward customers with coupons, loyalty points, prizes, or charity donations, when they share photos on Instagram, check-in on Facebook, or use a branded hashtag. For more information on how Popdeem works, check out this article, Heine Brothers’ Coffee Unveils Social Rewards Program on

Request a free Popdeem demo with one of our social engagement experts by completing the form below.

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Niall Quinn iOS Developer
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