Top 3 Mobile Restaurant Brands of Q3 2015

The “m” word has become a favorite amongst technologists and restaurant operators. The mainstream shift to mobile is evidence that the future is here, and the actual future is filled with technological opportunity that we might not yet be able to even imagine. As it currently stands, brands must have some type of mobile presence to engage with consumers in their comfort zone — in their phone world.

Below, pulled from the Restaurant Social Media Index (RSMI), Foodable Labs brings you the Top 3 Mobile Brands of Q3 2015.

1. Dunkin’ Donuts | Q3 Mobile Score: 90.12

In the lead, with a Mobile Score of 90.12, is Dunkin’ Donuts. Dunkin’ moved up one spot from Q2. At the core of the app is DD’s rewards program. Users can receive a free beverage of any size just for enrolling in the program. From there, guests must add a DD card to their account, which will then provide incentives to receive more free beverages, points on every Dunkin’ run, and members-only point offers. But whether you enroll or not and/or sync up a DD card or not, those who use the app are privy to an upcoming LTO. When we tested this, the coupon was for a 99-cent muffin of any kind. Coupons expire, according to the fine print, 10 minutes after you click “Redeem” on your mobile or before the expiration date listed. Like most other restaurant apps, the DD application also has a “Find” feature, showing all surrounding Dunkin’ locations. What’s convenient is that users can filter these by amenities, like those with a drive-thru, 24-hour service, locations where mobile payment is accepted, and those with wireless Internet access. Through the app, users can also pay for orders through their phone, purchase DD gift cards, and view the menu and full nutrition information.

Credit: Apple iTunes store/Panera Bread

Credit: Apple iTunes store/Panera Bread

2. Panera Bread | Q3 Mobile Score: 89.65

Panera Bread takes No. 2 with a Mobile Score of 89.65. Released in Q4 2013, the app has certainly gotten a lot smoother than it was in its earlier days. According to App Annie, Panera Bread ranked at No. 15 in the App Store in terms of most downloads for food and drink apps in the U.S. when Q3 first kicked off, and climbed its way up to the No. 8 rank by end of Q3. Panera automatically sets up a free MyPanera card for those who don’t already have one when signing up with the app. This also triggers an offer of a free pastry, available to redeem with your MyPanera card number. The bottom of the homepage displays a user’s nearest Panera location, which can be clicked on to get cafe details, like hours, address, phone number, and the option to place a Rapid Pick-Up order, meaning an order will be available for pickup 10 minutes after check out. Guests can also place an order for a later time. Additionally, the app includes a menu with nutrition information, a store locator, a “My Favorites” section where users can store their favorite items, orders, and cafes, and “Past Orders,” which automatically pulls up your last placed pick-up order for easy reordering. 

3. Noodles & Company | Q3 Mobile Score: 89.64

Noodles & Company ranks No. 3 in the RSMI’s Top Mobile Brands with a Mobile Score of 89.64, just shy of tying with Panera Bread. What’s great about this application is its to-the-point simplicity. Overall options are few — users can find locations, place orders for pickup, give the company feedback (on the app, food, service, or other), and a “Social” option allows guests to easily follow the brand on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and also includes its native video content platform, Noodles TV. The latter allows app users to watch Noodles Cinema content inside the app. But here is the real kicker: As one of the most challenging aspects of allowing orders to be placed via mobile, customization takes a front-row seat in the Noodles app. This is a system the brand seems to excel at, with options to add, remove, or substitute ingredients from a menu item being available in a simple, easy-to-understand format. 

As you can see in the breakdowns above, successful restaurant brands utilizing mobile provide features that seamlessly integrate with its overall guest experience. All three of the apps above provide convenience and incentives to the guest, driving traffic in-store to redeem said incentives. And with intuitive app features, like automatically showing a restaurant’s nearest location, the in-app experience is smooth to the guest.