6 ways to get more downloads for your restaurant or bar's mobile app

Posted By: Nick Adams Marketing & PR , Technology & Innovation ,

So you have a mobile app for your restaurant, bar or brewery. Now what? How do you go about getting people to download and use it?

Begin by thinking back to the last app you downloaded. What enticed you to give it a try? It probably promised to deliver something you wanted or needed–convenience, useful tools or maybe a great deal. In other words, there was something in it for you, and that made it worth a download. The same is true for your restaurant's mobile app. What's in it for them?

No one likes to be told what to do, but everyone loves to feel special. What you’re doing to make your customers feel special is key to gaining new and repeat business. Your app is the perfect tool to deliver these messages to your customers... But you need to entice them to download it in the first place.

Here are 6 things you can do to get customers to give your restaurant's mobile app a try.

#1: Offer a great deal for new users

The market is crowded, so how do you stand out? How do you attract new guest who may be considering your restaurant alongside the four other places that showed up when they Googled “burgers near me”? The answer lies in what are you going to do for them if they decide to give you a try.

As an example, let's say you're a burger restaurant. What if you offer free customization to new guests and first-time app users? All the topping are on the house–just show us the app and buy the burger! Taking away the financial risk of trying a new place gets their attention. Plus, they just might get hooked on the build-your-own option that you're known for. Soon, they can't wait to come back.

Make sure you talk up this sweet offer on store signage and work it into servers' routines!

#2: Create a First Time Guest campaign

If you want to roll out the red carpet for your guests, first you need to know who they are. Have your servers identify first-timers, and make sure those guests know how you're going to make their first visit memorable.

Imagine that you’re known for BBQ. With your app, first-time guests get a free side of your famous cornbread. Who doesn’t want to be treated like a VIP? The next day, you send a thank you message for coming in. Next week, you follow up by offering a free entree upgrade, right to their phone. If they know that having your app gets them a whole series of feel-good messages and deals, they won't be able to stay away.

#3: Talk it up on your website and social media

This may seem like common sense, but don't forget to tell everyone! If you already have a captive audience, make sure you drop the bait, and make it enticing.

It’s all about how the message is presented. Which are you more likely to click on as you’re scrolling through Facebook: “DOWNLOAD OUR APP” or “Let us buy you a beer”?

Both could lead to an app download, but one of them is probably going to have a much higher success rate than the other. We’ll let you decide which.

#4: Use your mobile app as a one-stop shop

Simplification is the name of the game. Offer to make your customers' lives easier by providing a way to do everything they want to do in one place.

Online ordering, gift cards, reservations, catering inquiries, mug clubs, waitlists, current tap lists and more can and should all be integrated into your app seamlessly. That way, no matter what your customer wants to accomplish, they're always just one touch away through your app.

#5: Lure them in with a secret menu

This is an old trick that can work wonders. Make your loyal customers feel like true insiders!

If you don’t already have things that your regulars order “off the menu," you could make some up. Or, if that seems daunting, use your app to list specials and items that are only available to app users.

Selectively post about your secret menu on social media, put a subtle call out to it on your website and whisper about it to your best customers. This gives everyone a reason to not only download your app, but to talk about it, too! We all know word of mouth is the some of the most effective marketing.

#6: Cross-promote with a local event

Making the most of big events happening in your area is a great opportunity to connect with your community–and score some business while you're at it. Let’s say the local high school football team is on a winning streak and everyone in town is excited. You could coordinate with the school to cheer on the team in a way that encourages app downloads. Everyone wins!

Here are some ideas on how to use the app to promote and leverage big events:

  • “Bring in your ticket stub from the game and get double punches on your punch card”
  • “Show the app at the door on game day and we’ll waive your cover charge”
  • “Get into our viewing party an hour early with the secret code on your app"

Not only does this increase app downloads, but it also provides a VIP experience for your customer and shows your commitment to your community. It’s a great way to build regulars and raving fans.

With these ideas, you can get the word out about your app and show customers just how much they'll benefit from downloading it. And once they have your app, you have a direct path to remind them of all the great reasons that they should pay your establishment another visit.

If all of this sounds great, but you don't have a mobile app yet, we're happy to help! With an app powered by Boelter Blue, you can update content quickly and easily. There's plenty of automation built in, so you can focus on food and service while the technology markets your business.

See more about what an app from Boelter Blue can do for your restaurant, bar or brewery.