How to Promote Your Restaurant App
So, you’re planning to launch a new app for your restaurant brand. You’ve made sure it provides real value to your guests: through convenient order ahead functionality, exclusive coupons and deals, and loyalty reward integrations. You’ve distilled the app’s features into benefit statements: by downloading the app, your guests will be able to skip the line, get a free sandwich every 5th visit, etc.
Now it’s time to promote. How do you get downloads? Where do you put your benefit statements to work?
Here, 10 ideas to get you started…
Use What You've Got
Each of your restaurant locations is the perfect place to start: you've got the advertising real estate, the brand ambassadors (your staff), and the perfect audience (your current customers).
1. Don’t be shy about in-store signage. Create a screen for your digital menu boards, a video for your Self Order Kiosks’ splash screens, and signs for your countertops.
2. Ask your staff to mention the app to guests, and give them a few specific benefits to talk about.
3. Use beacon technology at your drive-thru or in-store to push out the URL of your app’s landing page.
Of course, you want your app to go viral. The key to continuous, exponential growth of any app is the referral: how do you get current app users to recommend your app to their friends? Because your app is a utility (as opposed to a social network, for example), you'll have to work on building in some incentives.
4. Reward referrals with special coupons or discounts. Consider giving a free meal each time a user’s referral link results in a download and sign-in.
5. Do a drawing. Make referrals the entrance fee for a contest or giveaway: “Share our app with 5 friends and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a month of free, daily bagels!”
6. Offer a two-way incentive. By sharing your app, not only will the user get a percentage off or a free drink, but the friend they share it with will too. It’s hard to resist an opportunity to give your friends gifts (and benefit in the process).
Of course, you'll have to do some work to earn attention in the sea of millions of apps. So, make sure your app is easily discoverable, online and in the app store.
7. Employ app store optimization strategies: select the right app category to be in, choose a good mix of keywords, use appealing screen shots.
8. Reach out to influencers to get the word out on social media.
9. Design and execute email campaigns to promote the app launch. If a customer is opening your emails, there’s a good chance they want to know about your new app. So don’t stop at one email.
10. Use a Smart App Banner. When someone navigates to your website while on a mobile device, a banner encouraging users to install your app will be presented along the top of the page. Clicking on the banner will bring them to the appropriate app store (either iOS or Android). If they’re on your website on mobile, it’s likely the app will be a useful possibility for them.