Today’s restaurant owner is challenged with the changing landscape of customer marketing. No longer does a diner go to the yellow pages or even a home PC to make decisions about dining out. Now, consumers check their smartphones to make quick and easy dining decisions.
Consumers often find restaurants by using localization services on mobile devices. So, new customers are finding new dining experiences by searching their smartphone while driving near an establishment. That user simply types in “restaurants” into a search engine or uses an app to list nearby recommended restaurants when they are closest to you. To win those hungry customers over, it’s important to have a presence on the apps they are using. Sean Casto, founder of PreApps.com, the exclusive app preview site, provides the Top 5 Apps to Engage Customers.
1. Urban Spoon
What started out as a fun way to find restaurants has now expanded to much more. One of Urban Spoon’s most unique features is the ability to “shake” a device, which then rolls out a random suggestion of nearby restaurants. In recent years, Urban Spoon has expanded to include reviews and recommendations.
If your restaurant is in a major city, this app can bring customers. Seamless offers delivery from a variety of restaurants, all accessible through its app or website. Customers can browse restaurant menus and even mix and match items, getting appetizers from one restaurant and entrees from another.
Belly users can use their smartphone as a reward/loyalty card, taking away the need to carry a wallet-full of cards around with them. Being listed as one of the businesses who participate in the Belly app will make your restaurant visible to those in your area interested in finding locations that accept it. The app now integrates with Apple’s Passbook, making participating locations even more visible.
Customers are often ready to leave before a server or bartender has time to process payment. With TabbedOut, your restaurant can save the server a trip. When customers arrive, they show a designated code to the server or bartender. That code is entered in to your own system and, once the customer is ready to leave, they simply have to “tab out,” sign their screen, and payment is made.
One of the most popular establishment review sites, Yelp features user reviews and information about restaurants and shops. Because of its location-based technology, it’s imperative that establishments that count on searches by nearby users have a presence on it. Start by encouraging your loyal customers to give you great reviews on the site.
As restaurants compete in this technology-driven world, being online is a necessity. Having a new engaging app will only enhance your visibility. Also, with location-based searches being so prominent in customer technology habits, business owners should also test to ensure nearby customers with mobile devices will find them.