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Mobile Apps for restaurants

Posted by: In: FastCasual, Jennifer Litz 13 Mar 2010 Comments: 0

Top tech trend for 2009:

Mobile apps The killer tools for fast

casual ordering and loyalty. By Jennifer Litz
The smallest to the largest fast casual eateries started logging

onto mobile ordering solutions for customers in 2009, and the

momentum will continue as many more begin to use these onestop

solutions to help customers find, order and pay for their food.

After all, convenience is king in our increasingly smart-phonebased


“With a mobile app, you have the opportunity to make

things simpler because you can identify the user a lot more

accurately than you can (on the Web),” Jeff Scott, editor of

app-rating Web site, said. “(You can tie) phones

to an account, so when a user has entered his credit card info, you

don’t need to ask for it again. An iPhone can also tell your location.

You probably can’t get the accuracy of an apartment number,

but you do have the closest cross streets, which they ask for a lot in


Scott urges fast casual operators and developers to take

advantage of push notification, which can alert app owners to

special deals.

“Let’s say the local baseball team has a big away game

starting in three hours. You could push a notification timed right

before the game to your app owners, when people are looking for

food to take along the way. There are all kinds of things you can do

like that to push out special offers and one-time deals.”

Early industry adopters have shown the app advantage in

motion. Industry leader Chipotle Mexican Grill was one of the

earliest adopters in the segment. The company made

its ordering application available on the

Apple App Store in August 2009, after a

false start earlier in the year (the server

had been overwhelmed by customer

response, and crashed). The revamped

and much-praised mobile ordering app

gives iPhone and iPod Touch users the

ability to create their Chipotle order,

place it at the Chipotle location of their

choice and also pay for their food directly

from their device. Using location-based

technologies, customers also can quickly find

the nearest location.

“With over 40 million iPhone users and a high consumer demand

for delivery and takeout meals, mobile ordering is a tremendous

opportunity for restaurants,” said Joseph Gagnon, chief executive

officer of ordering solutions provider Exit41. “We expect our

mobile applications to become an increasingly important way for

consumers to order food from their favorite restaurants — and a

significant portion of our business in 2010.”

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