don t miss the boat on using mobile apps for your restaurant

Recent research from the National Restaurant Association (NRA) indicates that 44% of table-service restaurant goers would use tableside payment methods,

and 50% would utilize smartphone apps to view menus. Currently, however, less than 10% of table-service restaurants are taking advantage of mobile or tableside options. Why the disconnect?

Whether it's due to a fear of change or a lack of awareness, many restaurateurs have yet to experience the benefits of mobile technology as it relates to their business operations. But before you try to convince yourself that the mobile app ship has sailed, you may want to listen in on some industry buzz.

Data from the NRA also indicates that 54% of restaurants plan to invest in technology in 2013, and those investments will likely consist of mobile solutions. When it comes to incorporating mobile app technology into your restaurant, don't get left behind in the wake of your competitors. Find out why you'll want to be on board with the app movement:


One of the great things about utilizing mobile apps as a part of your business strategy is that it doesn't require any additional hardware purchases or disruptive installations. Restaurants can use their current POS system and an interface to a mobile platform without having to make costly investments. Then all you need is customers with smartphones, and according to recent statistics, they shouldn't be hard to come by.


While much of the focus is directed towards consumer-facing technologies and mobile applications, there are certain app innovations designed specifically for restaurant owners and managers. Take Future POS Remote Control, for instance. This app allows operators to communicate with their POS system and their employees, all via a smartphone or mobile device. So even when you can't be physically present at your restaurant, you can still stay connected while you're on-the-go.


Mobile apps increase accessibility for both restaurateurs and end customers, because they provide quick and easy access to information from virtually any location. Owners and managers can observe critical sales data or make price adjustments, while customers can view menus, make reservations or read reviews.


Smartphone apps, like most other mobile technologies, offer more efficient ways to perform current processes. From completing payment transactions to taking food orders, apps can assist users in performing core business functions with enhanced accuracy and speed.


With mobile restaurant apps, customers can interact with your business on their own terms. For example, if a customer doesn't feel like waiting in line to place their to-go order, they can order in advance with an app. Or, if they are in a hurry, they can use a payment app to pay their bill without having to wave down a server for their check.


By incorporating mobile apps into your business strategy, you will appeal to millennials, most of whom rely on their smart devices for just about anything and everything. According to Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President of Research for the NRA, technology is at the top of restaurateur's action lists because "it's what the industry's key demographic, 18- to 34-year-olds, most wants."


If you're interested in a more customized approach to utilizing mobile apps at your restaurant, you can actually create your own. For example, Future POS can provide operators with their very own ordering app that is designed and skinned to match the look of their store. You'll boost awareness and reinforce your brand when customers see your restaurant's name and logo in their app marketplace.


In addition to familiarizing yourself with new advancements in restaurant technology, you also stand to learn something about your business and about your customers. For example, you may find that certain menu items are ordered more frequently via a mobile app than in your actual restaurant. Or, a payment app with CRM capabilities may inform you that a certain customer has visited your establishment over 40 times.

These are just a few of the possibilities that mobile apps can bring to the table. The key is to implement a mobile strategy that will improve the dining experience, increase profitability and provide added convenience for your customers.

Sources: USA Today 
Image Credits: Ian Barbour

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