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The Next Generation of Mobile Apps

Published on June 30, 2022
By Michael Juhlin
Key features your mobile app must have to create the ideal customer experience

By Brandon Solnit – PAR Technology

As we move into a post-pandemic world, restaurants have needed to adjust and adapt their services for their guests. In the eyes of the customer, mobile ordering apps have become a hot commodity in the restaurant industry. In the past, mobile ordering apps were primarily used for pickup and delivery services however, it is becoming increasingly apparent that these services are not enough to fully satisfy changing preferences. The next generation of mobile apps must tailor their services and add features that meet the wants and needs that have arisen post-pandemic. This can include contactless services, loyalty programs, and so much more. Here are our four key features the next generation of mobile apps should incorporate to create the ideal customer experience.

Feature 1: Contactless Services

One key feature the next generation of mobile apps must have down to a T is creating a completely contactless experience. Finding ways to develop and promote a contactless experience has become vital to brands as this is likely the future of ordering. While not a simple feat, by any means, many concepts have found success in launching digital ordering apps, curbside pickup options, and contactless delivery partners. In a recent Deloitte survey on existing restaurant trends and how the pandemic has impacted their trajectory, it was reported that:

  • 64% of customers said they do not anticipate returning to dining in restaurants
  • 50% of customers would consider driverless or drone delivery
  • 57% of customers prefer to use a digital app to order food
  • 64% of customers prefer to order digitally on-premises at a QSR

In addition to heightening the awareness of customers around hygiene, COVID-19 has also ignited a digital ordering craze that is expected to stay for the long run. In a recent 2022 NDP report, from February 2020 to February 2022, the rate of digital ordering grew by 117% and that percentage is only expected to increase.

Implementing digital ordering strategies means brands now must promote channels, like curbside pickup and contactless delivery options for customers. Solutions like the recently launched Punchh Pickup allows restaurant staff to view and manage pickup orders from a web-based, in-store console, with real-time location and arrival estimates. Curbside pickup services like Punchh Pickup help reduce customer wait times and streamline order fulfillment while also engaging with the customer. Before the novel coronavirus, curbside pickup and contactless delivery options were an afterthought to customers. Now, they remain a necessity in the mind of the consumer and afford restaurants the ability to branch out into new channels and drive additional sources of revenue. Per a recent Businesswire report:

  • 85% of consumers have increased curbside pickup orders
  • 79% say contactless store pickup is particularly important to them

Feature 2: More Ways to Pay

Offering your customers more ways to order also means you should offer your customers more ways to pay. Aside from traditional cash or card payments, restaurants will need to find ways to allow contactless payments that are convenient and accessible on their customers mobile devices. Incorporating the use of mobile wallets into mobile apps is imperative to the success of the application. From a recent Estatic article, $13.98 billion worth of transactions are done from mobile wallets and that number is expected to drastically increase in the coming years. Technologies like PAR Technologies PARPay are an ideal solution that allows operators a way to accept alternative payment options, while also mitigating risk for the restaurant. PARPay is a great model for the next generation of mobile apps because it supports Apple pay™, Google pay™, Samsung Pay™, and PayPal™ with Near Field Communication. The addition of PayPal™ with Near Field Communication is a critical addition for restaurant’s mobile apps because it is completely contactless and makes purchases seamless and easy.

Feature 3: In-App Gamification

Recruiting and retaining customers is not a simple task, but gamification may be the ticket. Gamification refers to the use of challenges or games to engage with the customer and promote personalized rewards. Many brands are seeing success in developing games for customers in the effort to increase frequency and drive sales. Gamification can include visit behavior challenges, like:

  • Ordering a certain number of times to receive a certain reward
  • Spend-based challenges- Spending a certain amount to receive a certain reward
  • Item-based challenges- purchasing an item to receive a reward

The purpose of gamification challenges is to engage with your customers based on their spending habits and to deliver personalized rewards when completing these challenges. Brands can effectively utilize customer segmentation to deliver gamification challenges to the right customers.

An example of this is showcased in the Round Table Pizza app. This last season, Round Table Pizza partnered with the Oakland Athletics and offered fans Round Table Pizza rewards if an A’s player hit a home run in select games. Fans were required to download the Round Table Pizza Royal Rewards app to redeem offers throughout the season. This encouraged not only app adoption but engagement from the new loyalty members. It was a resounding success and proved to engage and drive awareness for their loyalty program. Adding incentives for new customers to download your mobile app is a great way to gain exposure and show them what you have to offer.

Feature 4: Loyalty Programs

Creating a loyalty program for your customers is another way to improve and promote a mobile app experience, as well as create a more branded experience across your marketing communications. Not only do restaurant operators receive beneficial insights into consumer spending, but more customers are likely to use a mobile application if a loyalty program is installed. It has been proven that mobile customer loyalty apps drive sales, and restaurants that have strong loyalty programs attract and retain more customers over time. According to a study done by Fundera:

  • 65% of most companies’ sales comes from existing users.
  • 43% of customers spend more money on brands they are loyal to.
  • Customers who are a part of a retail loyalty program are likely to spend 12-18% more per year than non-loyalty program members.

Learn More

Tailoring your mobile app to your customers preferences is the key to success. In a world of uncertainty, one thing is certain, the customer is always right, and the next generation of mobile apps must mold their services to the wants and needs of their customers. To learn more about how Punchh loyalty programs can help your business, request a demo today!

Tiffany Disher, General Manager, MENU North America

Tiffany Disher

General Manager, MENU North America

Tiffany Disher, General Manager, MENU North America, an omni-channel ordering solution to futureproof restaurant’s growing digital sales needs. Before taking on this new role in January 2023, she was an integral part of Punchh’s growth story. She has advised hundreds of customers over the past eight years on their loyalty strategies both from a base program standpoint as well as ongoing marketing strategies. Before Punchh, Tiffany worked for Schlotzsky’s where she supported the brand marketing team by leading loyalty, eClub, R&D, Franchise advisory council and marketing analytics. Tiffany has her Bachelor’s of Science in Economics from University of Oregon and Master’s in Business with a specialty in Marketing from Baylor University. An avid golfer, hiker and mom of two small children, Tiffany spends her limited free time entering into baking competitions.