Offering A Seamless Digital Dining Experience

We often hear the question; “Our business isn’t in the technology industry so how would we benefit from a mobile app?”

The truth is that it doesn’t matter what industry you’re working in. The facts show that your customers are using mobile phones more than even before. According to Ofcom’s latest media report seven in ten adults use mobile apps, and the average user spends almost 4 hours on their device each day.

The key to adopting mobile technology is by reviewing your existing customer journey and then defining the key areas where technology could be used to improve their overall experience. A mobile app is an extension of your business and can focus on a specific need.

Within the hospitality industry there are a number of key factors that impact a customer’s dining experience, most significantly the amount of time a diner can be left waiting at each touchpoint; waiting to be seated, waiting to be given a menu, waiting for your order to be taken, waiting for your food to arrive and waiting to pay a bill. We’re an impatient nation, and waiting two minutes often feels like a lifetime, in fact the average Briton will lose patience after waiting five minutes to be served at a bar.

Pan-Asian restaurant chain Wagamama realised that there was no reason to keep their diners waiting, and that each touchpoint could be improved or eliminated by engaging with their customers through digital dining. They were the first UK restaurant to launch an app of its kind, which lets customers order directly from their phone, browse through their menu, review recent orders, organise favourite dishes, place an order to collect from their local store and pay bills in their own time. The integration of Wagamama’s app has not only driven brand awareness, but has had a significant impact on the company revenue, supporting an increase of turnover by 17.9% year end 2015.

There’s been a huge increase in businesses utilising the latest app technology and benefiting from it. Such as Just Eat, Deliveroo, Nandos, Uncover, Velocity and more. Using mobile apps to discover new Restaurants, reserve tables, order takeaway and pay your bill at the touch of a button is becoming more and more popular with consumers. The Starbucks app sees over 9 million mobile transactions a week, and continues to rise.

The hospitality industry is changing and becoming much more technology-driven; integrating apps into the customer journey to create a seamless experience is proving to be the key factor behind their success, whilst giving the waiting staff time to focus on exceptional human interaction.

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We’ve broken down 5 key things to consider when integrating a restaurant mobile app into your business.

  1. Function:

With an infinite number of features available to use in a mobile app these days, it’s important to know the key features which your customers will want, need and actually use. What will they want to do; order takeaway to collect on their way home from work, pay for their meal in store, split a bill with friends, increase the speed of service when in a rush, or simply browsing the menu on their journey. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers what they want to see in the app, they will appreciate this in the long term.

  1. Payment:

Making payment as simple as possible is key to keeping your customer engaged and improving the whole digital experience. Since this is the last touchpoint a restaurant typically has with a diner during their visit, it has huge influence on the customers overall experience.

Taking payment through an app allows your customers to settle the bill at their own pace, and avoids lengthy waiting times trying to get a staff member’s attention. It can also be used to make splitting of the bill between groups of friends much easier. Payment platforms such as SagePay, Stripe and Braintree can be integrated into mobile apps to make purchases quick, easy and secure.

  1. iOS vs. Android:

As the big iOS vs. android debate continues, there’s no escaping the fact that your customers will be using both. However, it’s not difficult to cater to both platforms as the majority of back-end systems and graphic designs can be carried across, it’s just the respective languages that need to be re-written for the different platforms. (Java/xml for Android and Objective C for iOS for iOS are examples of these.)

  1. Design:

It’s vital to remember that your app is an extension of your restaurant, it needs to look, behave and act like your brand does. Use fonts and images that your existing customers are already familiar with as it will give them with a sense of familiarity. As for new customers, it’s all about getting them engaged first time round.

  1. Staff Training:

Ensure that your team understand the benefits of your mobile app and that their jobs aren’t being replaced by technology. The app is a tool to support their role which will allow them to give more focus on their hosting duties, which is all about providing the best possible customer service on behalf of your business.

 

Whatever industry you work in – hospitality, construction, healthcare or financial – a mobile app could improve your customer’s experience. Just evaluate your customer’s journey and see where you can improve their experience.

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