Mobile technology is a powerful new force in the restaurant business, whether restaurant owners like it or not: according to a recent survey from the National Restaurant Association, significant numbers of customers said they prefer to use their mobile devices to book restaurant reservations, order food, and view menus, and nearly 70 percent said they would like to use electronic payment terminals at their tables. If you want to catch up with your customers, here are some mobile apps that can help.
If seating space is at a premium at your establishment, it’s easy for potential customers to lose patience and decide to eat elsewhere. This app allows you manage your wait list and to send a text message to a customer when his table is ready. The app eliminates the need to manage dozens of pagers, and gives your customers the freedom to wander outside while they wait. The service costs $149 per month per location.
Unlike other mobile payment processors that take money from a customer’s credit card, Dwolla allows you to accept a transfer directly from your customer’s bank account, with much lower processing rates than credit card transactions: Payments under $10 are processed free of charge, while higher amounts are billed at a flat rate of $0.25 per transaction. You can add a “pay with Dwolla” button to your website for mobile orders, and add Dwolla to your point of sale system for physical purchases.
GrubHub is a mobile app and website used by millions of diners each month. Since merging with Seamless, another food ordering platform in May, it has become the largest online food ordering platform in the world. The tool allows businesses to list their menus for take-out purchases, and place orders directly through GrubHub. Although you can list your menu free of charge, if you want to allow customers to place orders and pay for their meals through GrubHub, you’ll be subject to the service’s commission charge of approximately 15.5 percent. Although the fee is relatively steep, the app can help you reach new diners and increase your daily orders.
If you need to keep track of your restaurant staff’s hours, a time clock system can ensure accuracy. Instead of springing for an expensive time clock, you can let your staff check in or out on their own mobile devices, using this convenient app that costs $29.95 per month for up to 10 employees. The app lets you schedule shifts, and verify whether each employee has worked all of his allotted hours. You can access your automated time tracking reports both from the app and on the web.
Mobile point of sale apps
Although there are too many mobile point of sale apps to mention individually (we’ve reviewed some popular ones), such tools can help you simplify the cash-out process significantly. You can allow customers to pay via credit card right at their own tables, and use online analytics to monitor customers’ purchasing behavior.