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Restaurant apps: How to maintain a positive customer experience


More and more QSR customers are looking to mobile apps for ordering. It's not hard to see why: customers can review items at their own pace without having to squint at a menu and can order from their car or table instead of waiting in line.

So, how do you ensure your customers have a positive experience when using your app? Make your app intuitive, clean (not overly busy or full of adds), and secure. Here's what we mean.

Intuitive apps are easier to use

Though it may seem obvious, this point really can't be understated: your app must be intuitive. According to a 2017 study on mobile apps by Localytics, an analytics company, 71% of all app users stop using a new app within 90 days — and 21% of them only use the app once before abandoning it. You could have the most robust restaurant app in history, but that won't count for anything if it isn't customer-friendly.

Start with the basics: the menu. An in-app menu can be much more dynamic than a traditional in-store menu. Make it easy to navigate your menu in intuitive ways: by time of day (breakfast, lunch/dinner, drinks, desserts), by type of item (sandwiches, burgers, burritos), or even by dietary restrictions (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free). Go one step further and give customers a way to customize their orders by adding or removing ingredients they don't want.

Clean apps are attractive to customers

OK, so your app is intuitive. But, is it clean? A clean app is free of clutter, ads, and anything else that might distract the customer. When it comes to the mobile experience, minimalism is key.

Resist the temptation to include a promo banner on every page of the app. It may seem like a good opportunity to showcase new items or deals, but customers can be deterred by anything that looks like an ad. A clean app shows customers what they expect to see, when they expect to see it. After all, if someone is already entering their payment information, they probably don't want to go back and change their entire order based on a popup message.

That doesn't mean you can't list specials in your app. A great place to put promotions is on the homepage, where customers can see promos right away when they launch the app.

Secure apps ensure customer information is safe

Whether you're running a restaurant or designing a mobile app, trust is everything. If customers are going to use a mobile app, they have to trust that their payment information is secure and their personal information won't be compromised. Services like Apple Pay and Google Pay have additional built-in security. Make sure your app supports those payment options. If you're going to offer to save your customers' payment information, make sure your app, your databases, and your submission methods are encrypted. Always prompt users to enter their debit/credit card CVV code when using saved payment methods.

Simple security features keep your customers' information safe and are a crucial component of a positive mobile experience.

Companies like Panera, Taco Bell, and Chipotle have seamlessly integrated mobile apps into the customer experience, and they have been very successful in doing so. While it's unlikely to expect that 100% of your customers would prefer a mobile experience, you can be confident that at least a significant portion would be interested. There's little to lose and much to gain with a restaurant app, as long as you follow these simple guidelines.

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