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How to Develop an App for Your Restaurant and Bring Home More Bacon

As statistics show, cafes and restaurants can increase profits by 10-20% by using mobile applications. Agree, this is a wonderful reason to think about how to develop an app for your restaurant. Moreover, the restaurant business is a very saturated market, which means that it is necessary to effectively use all possible advantages to stand out from the competition and attract a vast number of clients. And a mobile application can be safely called one of such advantages.

In this article, we'll cover all the details of the restaurant application development. We’ll explain how these mobile services help the owners significantly improve the financial situation, so to say, bring home more bacon.


  1. A few words about restaurant apps
  2. Ways to attract more customers
  3. Key features for your restaurant service
  4. Factors to consider
  5. How much do restaurant app development services cost?
  6. How to develop an app for your restaurant?

A few words about restaurant apps

A restaurant application is a beautifully designed program that is constantly at hand of your client, - on his mobile device. This is very beneficial because as the statistics claim we take advantage of our favorite gadgets at least 127 times a day. So, having your own app, you will be constantly in touch with your customer. In other words, every time a person uses a mobile phone, he sees the logo of your institution.

 By the way, the app logo is an important factor in the success of any mobile service. Wanna know more? Read our article.

So, you should build a restaurant app because:

  • customers order more often, this happens due to the fact that they just need to tap a button on the smartphone to order, they should not wait for the waiter anymore;
  • you can serve a greater number of visitors at the same time - a mobile application for a pizzeria, sushi bar or cafe speeds up the work of waiters, and they spend less time accepting orders;
  • the application provides additional marketing promotion by raising awareness about the restaurant among a paying audience;
  • such an app is able to motivate customers to visit your institution more often (with the right functionality, of course. However, we'll talk about the functional a bit later);
  • restaurant app development is also a way to create a client base, study statistics, learn preferences and use these data for business purposes.

So, you decided that you need to make a restaurant app. But what should such a service be like to bring you maximum benefits? We will discuss this issue in detail in our article.

Ways to attract more customers

app development for restaurants

To create a restaurant app that will be efficient, you must first think about its functionality.

Each restaurant has its unique target audience which, in turn, has its special interests. However, applications often either do not meet the needs of the target audience or do not help in solving its urgent problems. The result is the same: such an app is not in demand. But there is a solution, and it's quite simple: you should think about your clients.

Therefore, before considering how to create an app for a restaurant, figure out who you are and what your customers really need.

#1. Fast food chains

People drop in such institutions for the fast, substantial, and tasty snacks and chat with friends. So, your TA will need to have a possibility to…

  • make an order quickly
  • order food at home
  • order food to go (for taking away)
  • get bonuses
  • participate in interactive activities
  • do not get lost in the menu

#2. Comfortable Restaurants

You offer refined cuisine to guests, conduct banquets, weddings, organize master classes from the chef… So, you need to create a restaurant app that allows clients to:

  • learn about new dishes and recipes
  • book a table online (with privileges)
  • learn about events in time
  • make pre-orders  

#3. Club restaurants

This is, rather, a club than a restaurant or a fast-food establishment. However, people can also have a tasty snack and a drink in here... Among other things, clubs often conduct musical events, concerts, creative evenings, etc.

Your Target Audience would be interested to:

  • learn about events and plan the weekend
  • share announcements with friends
  • get bonuses
  • order a table and pre-order online

This is the minimum set of features that would be useful for your clients. However, to get a person to download your program and use it, you need to come up with something especially helpful.

You must build a restaurant app that will really interest the person, only in this case, he or she will not delete the service immediately after installation. The application should be super-useful. And such usefulness depends on the functionality…  

Key features for your restaurant service

Before embarking on the mobile app development for restaurants, you need to understand what features your service should include. We can offer a few options to consider.

#1. Interactive menu

restaurant app development

First of all, don’t forget about creating a beautiful interactive menu.

The menu should be easy for viewing and choosing dishes and drinks: with information about the ingredients and the size of portions, with good images and a large order button.

#2. Delivery

build restaurant app

The home delivery feature is another prerequisite for successful restaurant mobile app development.

And remember, many users'd like to track the order and have the option to abandon it. Do not be afraid of losing profit. On the contrary, you will be able to identify your weak points and solve this problem for the benefit of your business.

#3. Pre-order

As you know, time is a valuable resource. The possibility to make the pre-order will help users not to waste this resource in vain. So this is definitely a “must-have” option for fast food restaurants where visitors should usually wait for their order not at the table, but in line.

By the way, this pre-order feature has been efficiently implemented in the Starbucks application.

#4. Table reservation

restaurant mobile app development

If you think to create an app for a restaurant, do not forget to include this option in the mandatory list. Your visitors will appreciate the chance to book a table in advance, without having to make a call.

#5. Call the waiter VS Order through the app

This feature will help you save the significant time of the waiters so that they could spend it for better tables serving. Moreover, perhaps, you can do with a smaller quantity of attendants - visitors will make orders using the application, especially since this format of interaction is becoming more popular day by day.

Also, this feature is a chance to greatly improve the loyalty of people used to having online communication. Consider this when thinking to create a mobile app for restaurant.

#6. Bonus programs

Loyalty systems cannot surprise anyone. But agree, it’s not convenient to carry around a mountain of bonus cards. On the other hand, a mobile application is always at hand. With its help, it is easy to accumulate bonus points and use them.

But remember, the main scheme for obtaining bonuses should be clear from the very beginning since the restaurant app developer must write a complicated code with its logic for this block.

#7. Searching for the nearest restaurant

restaurant mobile app development

This is another useful feature for those who want to make a restaurant app of the high grade and attract the maximum of visitors.

You may add extra data to this option: about the availability of dishes in specific restaurants, the fullness of the institution at the moment, promotions and events. Also, such a geolocation feature helps to invite a client to lunch if he is nearby.

Of course, if your restaurant business is limited to only one place to dine, this feature will not be useful to you.

 The geolocation feature is useful for many applications... see details in our article

#8. History of visits and payments

Not all restaurant applications have this option since it is not always clear why to display this information to the visitor.

In fact, everything is simple. If a user has a certain taste (he orders the same sushi set, for example), then it is important for him to get a quick access to the previous order and repeat it.

#9. Interaction with social networks

make a restaurant app

Today social media courses have become an integral part of our lives. So, it's important to build a restaurant app that will easily integrate social networks. Among other things, this is a great way to register a user in a matter of seconds: all information about a person will simply be extracted from FB or another similar resource.

#10. Interactive Elements

Some large fast food chains actively take advantage of the interactive elements in their applications:- unpretentious games, getting bonuses for social activities, and so on. This approach helps to increase user engagement in brand culture. And we advise to follow this lead and make a restaurant app able to entertain your clients (not just "feed" them).

Such an interactive element can be anything that comes to your mind: from simple game action to a complex quest logic that requires the use of modern processing technique (for instance, augmented reality and computer vision).

 If you want to know more about the augmented reality and its advantages for developing applications, read this article

#11. Order a taxi

This feature does not belong to the “must-have” functionality, so you can create a mobile app for a restaurant without it. On the other hand, this option will increase your chances of succeeding, as your customers will like the possibility to get to the institution by taxi at the affordable cost.

For example, Zomato company, an online service to search for restaurants, has partnered with Uber. Now a user who has chosen one of the restaurants can call Uber taxi from the Zomato website.

#12. Push notifications

Push-messages will help inform clients about interesting offers and discounts, about events, thus motivating people to visit your institution more often.

Factors to consider

What should you consider during the app development for a restaurant?

  1. Carefully study the competitors and your target audience. It would be nice to conduct a marketing research to have an idea of why attracts people prefer visiting your cafe (or other institution). Pay attention to these advantages if you want to build a restaurant app that'll be in demand.
  2. The application has to work accurately. The app logic should be simple. Most often, the restaurant solves the problem of hunger, and this is an urgent task. The client does not want to wait to get what he wants, in this case - the chance to eat tastily and quickly. If a user has to spend a lot of effort to understand a complex app interface, he is likely to delete your program.
  3. The application must be clear not only for users but also for employees who process orders. Therefore, you should create a restaurant app integrated with all internal company systems.
  4. Think about the budget: how much are you willing to spend to create a mobile app for a restaurant? In addition, it is worth thinking about the profit that you want to get due to the mobile program. If your expectations are high, then, believe us, ready templates will not work for you. So, you have to hire skilled restaurant app developers.
  5. Think about the future. Today, large retail and restaurant chains publish statistics, which shows that online sales will soon exceed offline ones. Therefore, sooner or later you will have to think about how to create an app for restaurant. And it's better to start today.

How much do restaurant app development services cost?

The price of the restaurant app development is not universal. It all depends on the requirements for your application, its functionality and technological capabilities. On average, creating a simple app with a minimum of features will cost about $ 10,000. A service of an average level of complexity will require costs of $ 30-70,000. And if it's a complex application, then prices can reach any level. For example, if you want to provide your service with an AR feature, you will have to fork out.

 Wanna learn more about VR apps? Read all the details here

If you want to save money, it’d be smart to make a restaurant app of the simplest type. In other words, build an MVP model with minimal functionality which can then be supplemented with various features depending on the users' interest. This is the approach that such giant as Starbucks and McDonalds take advantage of.

The cost of the MVP model will vary between $ 10-25,000. Its development usually takes about 400-450 hours (plus 200-300 hours for backend development). Of course, these are very approximate calculations.

If it is a more complex restaurant application (but, again, moderately complex), then we can offer such figures:

  • The user version of the application: $15-20,000;
  • The staff version: $10-15,000;
  • The version for the manager (owner): about $5,000.

Of course, you should build a restaurant app that will include and combine each of these versions.

All the estimates given are valid only if you hire restaurant app developers with moderate rates - for example, in Eastern Europe. If you use the restaurant app development services of American experts (or specialists from Western Europe), you will have to pay much more money (and the quality will remain the same).

 Guess which country from Eastern Europe you should look for IT experts in? You will find the answer here

How to develop an app for your restaurant?

The mobile app development for restaurants and cafes should always start with a business expertise. Competition in this area is huge, so the Internet marketer must first study the market, competitors, the target audience, their expectations, and needs.

After this, it is necessary to formulate a clear technical task and create a prototype of the future application. The next stage is the search for a design solution - one should make the app interface using the corporate style of the institution. Next comes the coding itself, which turns the idea and sketches into a working mobile program. Besides, the application is being constantly tested all the time to ensure its correct operation.

The last step is to launch the application to start its life in the mobile services market.

Stages of the restaurant application development:

  • Analysis and requirements gathering
  • Drawing up a technical task, a prototype
  • Application Design
  • Coding and testing
  • Launching and publishing application

make a restaurant app

So, as you can see, almost any successful restaurant enterprise is actively using mobile technologies. And if you have not created your own application yet, it's time to take this very step.

Of course, it is very important to find the right restaurant app development company: a team that has huge experience and expertise.

When choosing experts, pay attention to:

  1. company portfolio
  2. a number of employees. The company should employ such specialists as:
    • UI / UX designers
    • mobile (iOS & Android) and backend developers
    • QA engineers
  3. experience (how many years do they exist in the app market?)
  4. willingness to answer your questions clearly
  5. examples of design work. After all, the restaurant application should not only work well, it should be attractive visually.

Here are examples of the design concept for the restaurant business that our experts created:

restaurant application development

This is a concept of the food review app that allows you to choose the restaurant with the best rating.

mobile app development for restaurants

And here is another expressive concept of the same kind.

The Agilie team fully meets all these requirements and is ready to offer high-end restaurant app development services. We will help to increase the profit of your business thanks by implementing effective and innovative mobile solutions.

And believe us, the costs for creating an application are minimal in comparison with the benefits that it brings - with the right approach, of course. And this is another reason to hire us, for we know how to develop an app for your restaurant.

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