Think Outside the Brick and Mortar: Restaurant-Retail Apps

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Partner Post - Adperio Premier Mobile Acquisition Partner

Posted: December 5, 2016

David Asseoff is CEO of Adperio, a mobile acquisition partner that helps restaurant-retail and other app verticals find and grow their installed consumer base. 

Think Outside the Brick and Mortar: Restaurant-Retail AppsRestaurant and retail chains have been slow to develop consumer-facing apps. This will change rapidly in the next few years, as apps will start to confer game-changing competitive advantages to brands that embrace the possibilities of the technology.  Apps will have three major functions for the restaurant-retail sector:

  • Driving foot traffic
  • Consumer engagement at locations
  • Reducing friction at purchase

Restaurant-Retail App

Restaurants and retailers who realize that mobile is a necessity in 2017 and beyond need to focus on the above, ensuring that the app adds value. If you scroll through the app stores, you will find many one-star apps pushed by otherwise savvy restaurant-retail brands who rushed to release an app without thinking of the consumer experience. Apps should enable restaurant-retail brands to interact with their consumers in novel and engaging ways. One app that is setting the bar for restaurant retail is Starbucks. Starbucks is single handedly revolutionizing the morning commute – one Pumpkin Spice Latte at a time. There is no greater incentive or time saver (for both restaurant and consumer) than to allow your customers to place an order from their phone and have their drink ready within seconds of arrival at the store.
Another company with launching a mature app strategy is Walgreens. Through their app, consumers can clip coupons, manage prescriptions, and even order prints of photos.
McDonald’s is also putting an app at the center of their digital efforts. Within the first 3 months of launching, the McDonald’s app achieved over 7 million downloads. “Digital has become a really big focus at McDonald’s,” Julia Vander Ploeg, vice president of Digital, McDonald’s USA. “The mobile app will transform how our customers engage with us by removing physical boundaries so they can connect to McDonald’s any time or place.”
While restaurant-retail has been slow to enter the mobile space, apps like these are showing the way. Restaurant-retail brands approaching their own app should steal the most relevant features from apps like these, as well innovating to increase their wallet share in their category. Here are a few ways apps can connect with customers for restaurant-retail, all related to the three major functions identified above:

  • Display nutritional info for menu items
  • Interactive menus to customize orders
  • Ease of ordering
  • Pre-ordering
  • Upsell on sizes, additional items
  • Loyalty programs
  • Location-enabled deals to drive foot traffic
  • Coupons
  • Curated social shares
  • Real-time consumer feedback
  • Card on file/frictionless payments


  • Detailed info for products
  • Product reviews
  • Buying guides
  • Draw users to specific SKU’s (i.e. virtual end cap displays)
  • Ease of ordering
  • Pre-ordering/in-store pickup
  • Upsell on additional items, i.e. cables, batteries
  • Loyalty programs
  • Location-enabled flash sales to drive foot traffic
  • Coupons
  • Curated social shares
  • Real-time consumer feedback
  • Card on file/frictionless payments

Apps clearly have a huge role to fill in revolutionizing restaurant-retail. Forward-looking brands are leading the way, but too many have yet to think outside the brick and mortar.