Working Up an App-etite

Consumer? F&B business owner? With the advent of mobile apps, you will be able to sate your appetite with a few taps and swipes.

f&b business

Author: DBS BusinessClass, Administrator of DBS

When hunger strikes, what do average Singaporeans do? These days, they’ll probably whip out their mobile phones and start tapping.

The advent of smartphones and the development of mobile apps means that whatever the appetite, consumers will be able to sate it with a few taps and swipes.

They can review and rate outlets with photos or text (HungryGoWhere, Makansutra, Burpple); make a reservation at a restaurant, queue or order ahead (Chope.sg, TickTok); order food delivery (foodpanda); and track their calories and nutrition details (MyFitnessPal, iDAT).

For F&B business owners, there are a myriad benefits of going digital. The positive bounce from favourable reviews, and champions among influencers such as bloggers and celebrities, can stand you in good stead for some time to come.

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Automated recommendations also allow you to upsell revenue. You can also track customer preference, likes and dislikes, and favourite dishes for greater personalisation.

Online reservation and ordering systems let you track point-of-sale transactions as well as queue waiting time. There are also automated loyalty and reward programmes out there that are based on spend.

Other apps allow you to manage inventory, or feed payment data directly into financial management and accounting software. Not forgetting, of course, the manpower and productivity gains that come from using these smart apps.

For instance, integrated platforms like Mobikon collect data from restaurants, and allow them to juggle reservations, manage customer loyalty programmes, run campaigns and channel real-time transactional data straight to their accounting software.

Local tech company TabSquare has four different mobile solutions for F&B businesses. The SkipQue app, for instance, lets you build your restaurant’s own custom app so you can easily offer customers mobile and online ordering, payments and loyalty programmes.

Looking abroad, you might want to take a tip from the American fast food industry. Quick-service restaurants like Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Chipotle are now using mobile order-ahead apps to boost their order sales, attract customers, and increase brand loyalty.

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Early indications, as reported by Business Insider, are that these apps can drive revenues, as they appear more effective than human staff in upselling add-ons (“Would you like fries to go with that?”) and increasing average order values (“Yes, please!”).

Easing payment friction is also a key benefit for many American players. Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts, for instance, offer mobile payment apps for in-store purchases using Apple Pay integration; customers are also given perks such as free beverages and loyalty points.

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What else is next in the future? Some clues: David Chiang from the renowned Momofuku recently started a mobile app in New York this past April that is essentially a redesigned restaurant without having a physical space.

Tap on it to order from a rotating daily menu, cooked up by award-winning chefs in a kitchen, and fine dining meals will be delivered to the customer’s doorstep. Besides offering great food at pocket-friendly prices for customers, the app means fewer overheads and the ability to scale much faster and more efficiently for the business.

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However it pans out, it appears food apps will continue to shape how businesses reach out to consumers, perhaps more effectively, and give them exactly what they hunger for.

For a summary of Working Up an App-etite business tips, download the full infographics below.

Click here to enlarge

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