Hi, I’m Steve Bigari, and today we’re going to talk about app issues, specifically within the restaurant space. Now those of you who have tried promotions to get people to use your apps, you’ve spent a fortune giving away free food, and, you know, had a little fun getting folks to try it.
The bad news is that as soon as they use it the first time, 88 percent of them go away. Of the 12 percent who stay, 10 percent will open that app 2 more times. Two percent will open it eight to nine times. You’ve invested huge amounts of human and financial capital to pull this off. You have this operational struggle to integrate it into your restaurants, and at the same time, you’re seeing low retention, and generally it influences your strategic timing of your marketing calendar. That’s not a great situation to be in.
Now, if you’re these guys, Starbucks, and you’re fortunate enough to have more than 10 percent of your orders coming through the app channel, then that’s great. You feel really good after four years. There are some things that you can learn from them, and you should build into whatever app you decide to deploy.
The two most important things you should do are: involve frictionless payment and loyalty. That’s been a key to Starbucks’ success. However, you have to understand that Starbucks has a simple menu with an addictive product, and they have millions of transactions, millions of dollars worth of budget behind this, thousands of people backing it up. So, the question is: can you really compete with that?
I believe that guests want to use their lips. The preferred method of input is, and I believe for many years will still be, your voice. We see that only growing through channels like Siri and Alexa. So, to leverage voice, we’ve created VIA, Virtual Intelligent Automation, which allows people to use their lips. This will create a less friction environment that’s easier to accept and gives guests instant gratification.
So, if you’re unhappy with your app-y, call me at SYNQ3, we’ve already got it fixed.
App-Athy: Mobile Apps Flop While Takeout Takes Over
With carryout on the rise, foot traffic declining, and restaurants reshaping to meet to-go orders, takeout is taking over in the restaurant industry. To meet guests’ needs and desires in this growing sector of restaurant operations, many restaurants are scrambling to identify solutions that will attract guests and build loyalty. The takeout takeover is pushing many restaurants to adopt new solutions; solutions that demand operational and even structural adjustments. Unfortunately, one solution that many restaurants flocked to, the mobile application, did not perform as hoped.
While the mobile app phenomenon is still sweeping through the restaurant industry, the success stories are few and far between. One of the rare, mobile-app success stories, Starbucks’ Mobile Order & Pay app, now secure 10 percent of the company’s total transactions. Frictionless payment and loyalty have been key to Starbucks’ success. Additionally, Starbucks’ simple menu, addictive product, huge budget, and massive loyalty base positioned them to see greater app success than most restaurants. How does your restaurant stack up? Can you compete?
Unlike Starbucks, most restaurants’ apps have experienced low adoption and retention. There are a lot of potential reasons for the low adoption and retention of mobile apps. Some reasons include: increased competition among all apps, changing technology, poor development, a design that’s not intuitive or easily functioned, and a lack of clear benefits for users. If you create an app, guest perception must be that your app is worth the storage space it will take up on a smartphone. You’re fighting for a 3% share of time that users spend on all retail apps; that’s stiff competition.
Plus, according to a 2017 Applause report on app retention, 10 percent of people will open an app twice, and only 2 percent will go on to open it eight to nine times after installing. Investing in a mobile app comes with some challenging odds. Based on app-usage numbers and the results that most restaurants have experienced, mobile apps are not a very sound investment. Restaurants should consider other channels.
Artificial intelligence is one communication channel that is being rapidly adopted across many industries. Consumers want to communicate by mouth; it’s easier to do on-the-go and there’s greater room for complexity and customization. We see this with the adoption of tools like Siri, Alexa, Okay Google, and other AI-communication in smartphones, cars, homes, and many other places.
At SYNQ3, we’ve developed an AI solution for the takeout takeover: VIA. Virtual Intelligent Automation, VIA, is an AI tool that receives phone-in orders for restaurants utilizing advanced AI and automated-speech-recognition (ASR) technology. This tool is so smart that it can tell if a caller is upset, crying, happy, etc. With VIA, restaurants can attract more to-go guests, build loyalty, increase profits, and see greater success in this changing market. Use VIA and give your guests a VIP experience that will have them ordering takeout from you again and again.
And if you’d like to learn more about the future of restaurant technology, check out our free whitepaper.