While many restaurateurs continue to use third-party marketplaces to attract more customers, there are many changes in the digital landscape that are likely to impact their mid-term online ordering strategy.
For one, the global pandemic is forcing restaurants to offer contactless ordering solutions that span multiple channels. While marketplaces are often good places to start to appeal to digital-first diners, there are some caveats, including the high commissions, a diluted brand experience, and the fact that customer data is not shared with restaurants.
What’s more, Google recently disrupted the entire digital marketing industry by announcing it will continue to “support first-party relationships…in which they have direct connections with their customers.” This means the end of third-party cookies: restaurants can no longer advertise to potential customers based on their web browsing (for example, on competitor websites) and third-party data, which is information collected by a business that does not have a direct relationship with the customer.
With competition soaring and a global pandemic forcing restaurants to innovate for their very survival, direct relationships with customers and better management of their marketing strategies are imperative. Tools, such as a branded online ordering platform and white-label mobile app, are restaurateurs secret weapons to control the consumer path to purchase and get complete visibility into customer buying patterns.
Let’s take a closer look at the top benefits of one of these tools: white-label mobile apps for restaurants.
What is a white-label mobile app for a restaurant?
A white-label mobile app is a native mobile application that is developed by a company, like UEAT, and rebranded for a restaurant.
Contrary to marketplace mobile apps, in which restaurants basically compete with one another to entice customers to buy from their establishments, a white-label app is all about one restaurant and its brand. A restaurant’s white-label app will feature its logo, colours, distinct messaging, and, of course, menus and promotions.
What are the benefits of a white-label mobile app for a restaurant?
Let’s count the ways!
1. Diners prefer mobile
According to research conducted by AdTheorent pre-pandemic, more than 70% of customers use their mobile devices and restaurant-specific apps throughout their dining journey. The same study indicated that at least 56% of consumers say that their ability to place orders online via a mobile app would make them order more frequently from a restaurant. The main reason? Convenience. Mobile apps provide the freedom to order from any place at any time—without having to call.
With COVID-19 still rampant, the desire to use mobile apps for ordering at a restaurant show no signs of slowing down. Market Force Information carried out a study on how consumers perceive restaurants amid the pandemic. Eighty percent of consumers said they would continue to deal with brands they love. And a recent survey, The State of What Feeds Us, shows that “consumers are increasingly downloading mobile apps to purchase from restaurants and stores for pickup via the drive thru and curbside. They want to support restaurants, but on their own contactless terms.”
2. With a white-label mobile app, restaurants keep their customer data and analytics
A white-label mobile app allows restaurateurs to capture first-party data. First-party data, also known as data your restaurant collects directly from customers, will be critical for maintaining your businesses long-term viability.
First-party data lets you communicate directly to your customers via the app itself, email, text messaging, social media and even mail. You can also gain valuable audience insights to create a personalized experience for your customers as well as identify buying patterns and better predict future trends. This means you can decide when and how often you want to connect with customers to inform them about new menu options, promotions, themed menus, etc.
The ultimate goal is to always be marketing to engage customers to buy from your brand over and over again.
3. Customers tend to spend more through a restaurant’s white-label mobile app
Did you know that many restaurants experience an uptick in average ticket sizes thanks to mobile ordering? In fact, when using a white-label mobile app for restaurants, customers can spend up to 30% more than if ordering via telephone.
There are many factors as to why your patrons would spend more via a mobile app. First, they have more time to peruse your menu and promotions, if the app offers a frictionless experience.
Second, it is easy to non-intrusively upsell menu options to boost the average ticket size as there is no fear of judgement. For example, a customer on the phone may not want to switch their regular fries for poutine when ordering a burger. But through a mobile app, they can “anonymously” order the poutine—and dessert—without feeling as though they are being an ogre.
Third, with the right type of marketing, impulse buys become a breeze within a mobile app. Using time-sensitive or exclusive promotions can incite customers to feel as though they are missing out on something—and add these items to their carts.
4. Reward customers through your mobile app—and see revenues soar
In-app loyalty programs can definitely help to increase your online ordering revenues. Loyalty members spend more on each order than non-loyalty members; customers make repeat purchases in order to reach rewards faster.
Some restaurant loyalty rewards programs have noticed that incentivizing customers in the app can generate a 25 to 45% increase in visit frequency and a 10 to 15% boost per transaction. Over time, that can lead to substantial, positive impact on your bottom line.
However, in order for your in-app rewards program to become a mean, green revenue-generating machine, it has to be simple and fast to redeem the coveted prizes, whether they be discounts, freebies or cash-back rewards. By removing any hurdles, in-app rewards programs can help to improve customer retention. As Fred Reichheld stated in his book The Loyalty Effect, a “5% increase in customer retention can produce as much as a 100% increase in annual profit.”
5. Streamline your operations with a white-label mobile app for restaurants
A white-label mobile app for your restaurant can save your front-of-the-house staff a lot of time since they don’t have to stay constantly on the phone taking orders, clarifying what customers want, their names and contact information, and processing payments.
With the right mobile app, restaurateurs can also manage time slots to reduce lineups for takeout and curbside pick-up. Order accuracy can also be enhanced through a mobile app in order to eliminate profit-gouging errors from ordering by phone.
How to find the best white-label mobile app for restaurants?
Not all mobile app developers are alike. It can cost tens of thousands of dollars and months of development when creating a white-label app from scratch with a technology provider. It is ridiculously expensive to build, maintain and ensure data security.
In addition, when working with a technology company that makes apps for all types of industries, it can get complicated. These developers don’t truly understand the restaurant business and tend to provide generic solutions that are not necessarily designed to create a stellar customer experience and increase the likelihood of customers buying more and actually checking out.
The best white-label mobile app for restaurants is one that can be deployed alongside your online ordering platform. For example, with UEAT, you can have your restaurant’s online ordering platform and mobile app ready in just days—without the hefty development costs and timelines. UEAT specializes in creating white-label mobile apps for restaurants—and restaurants only.
The future of white-label mobile apps for restaurants is here
As digital usage continues to spread across the restaurant industry, restaurants will have to increasingly think like major brands and deliver a digital experience that is on par or even better than in-person ordering. A white-label mobile app for your restaurant is likely to be a game-changer to help your business stay afloat and keep loyal customers coming back.