More and more restaurants are discovering that they must implement consumer facing technologies such as responsive websites, social media and mobile apps to stay competitive.
Here’s a roundup of the industry’s latest app offerings which may be coming to a restaurant near you in the not so distant future:
Before you visit
Dining app Dash, founded in the US has introduced its Venue Vibes feature, which lets customers get accurate and real-time information about the atmosphere of nearby restaurants.
The Dash app already has a range of functions to make eating out easier, including venue search, smartphone payments and splitting the bill with friends.
The new feature uses the existing POS systems of restaurants to accurately gauge how busy each one is in comparison to its maximum capacity. When searching for a place to eat through the app, users will see the Venue Vibes indicator on each one, which shows whether it’s Lively, Active, Relaxed or Quiet. Those looking for a bustling atmosphere can filter their results to show only Lively venues, while couples can browse Quiet spots for a romantic meal.
Consumers can benefit by selecting a place that suits their mood at that moment, while businesses can use the service to advertise their popularity or exclusivity.
The app is available for iOS and Android, and is currently available for around 100 different bars and places to eat in New York and Chicago. Could this soon be making its way over to the UK?
During your meal
Spanish innovators Omni Brain Lab have created a smart device called the Owl which enhances and monitors customers’ purchasing and overall dining experience.
In a chaotic and fast paced restaurant environment where it might be hard to be in tune to all of you diners at once, the Owl aims to improve efficiency of communication. Using the discreet smart device, the customer can browse the menu and order via the free app.
Once this has been done the waiters will be able to see an order has been sent as the Owl will glow blue and the restaurant management app receives an alert.
It detects the table which has requested the service and once it´s read by the waiter, an acknowledgement is sent back to the table. The system has a timeout facility to measure the service time. Customers can also turn the Owl to a do not disturb signal that glows white. At the end of the dining experience customers can use the Owl to speed up payment by pressing the payment icon on the app, causing the Owl to glow magenta.
All the information is communicated in real time as well as it being stored and then transformed into valuable business data.
After you leave
Whilst some people may decide to leave TripAdvisor reviews about their recent restaurant visit, the app Grate allows customers to rate their waitress or waiter individually with a 5 star rating.
All ratings and comments about service and staff are send directly to the restaurant manager who can then manage and reward their staff accordingly. This in turn can help restaurants to deliver improved service to their guests.
Will you return?
Whilst mobile apps in the restaurant industry can improve the efficiency of the dining experience they can also help to build customer loyalty. Apps could offer special offers and discounts which make the consumer more likely to return, in addition to providing valuable data for businesses.
How important are apps to your restaurant experience?