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Improving Mobile App Aptitude Yields ROI

More than half of restaurants (53%) are planning to either add, upgrade or change mobile apps in 2017, according HT’s 2017 Restaurant Technology Study. For the investment to show returns, restaurants must determine how they will encourage downloads and regular usage. A common solution is to tie mobile apps to loyalty programs. Shake Shack ( recently launched its first mobile app with this mentality. During Shake Shack’s 2016 fourth quarter earnings conference call, CEO Randy Garutti said that to get customers to download the app, the company offered a free Shack burger. Through February, the Shack App was downloaded more than 200,000 times.
According to Garutti, after excluding the free burger promotion, the company’s average mobile app transaction during January and February was approximately 15% higher than a normal Shake Shack transaction. Additionally, since the launch, more than 25% of app users have already come back for repeat visits.
This aligns with Oracle Hospitality ( research that found that more than half of customers aged 18-50 around the world want restaurants to offer loyalty programs via a mobile app. The company’s worldwide survey, “Recipe for Engagement: Essential Ingredients for a Restaurant Loyalty Program,” revealed that millennial respondents were most likely to want to use mobile apps for loyalty programs (56%), but 50% of Gen Xers said that that this method was preferable.
Consumers also want to be able to use mobile apps to order, pay for and pick-up food. To address this trend, Chipotle ( introduced “Smarter Pickup Times” technology through its mobile app, reducing digital order wait times by 50%. The technology improves the company’s ability to process more digital orders without disrupting service or throughput in its restaurants. With the improvement, it saw an increase in the total number of digital orders to record levels.
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