By Brie Abramowicz, Foodable Contributor
There is no denying that keeping up with the latest trends in mobile tech as they relate to your food business is a job in and of itself. To save you time and energy as the busy holiday season approaches, we’ve compiled a list of seven mobile apps for your consideration.
Build More Brand Buzz
Are you focused on generating more “buzz” around your business? Take note of the following:
Calling all chefs! Chefs Feed wants you to share your positive dining experience with the dining public, all while building your chef celebrity. Patrons can learn about you and your restaurant(s) by way of a consolidated page which lists your hospitality accolades and past recommendations all in one place.
It would be surprising if you’re not already using OpenTable; this one has been out there for a while now. However, if you aren’t utilizing the tool yet, you will want to give this one more consideration. OpenTable eliminates the hassle of your patrons’ reservation booking by allowing them to choose the date, time, and party size to see if there are tables available at your restaurant. Furthermore, drive traffic to your location by way of OpenTable’s curated reviews and ratings.
Using Shoutem’s Loyalty App Builder, your foodservice operation can build a customizable restaurant app (for both iOS and Android devices). Specify points levels for rewards, the actual rewards users will receive, and more. The platform will assist you in targeting your best (and most desired) customers with real-time promotions, which includes support for iBeacon technology and push notifications. Your restaurant app can also include social media features so that your patrons can spread the word about their meals and experience and increase word-of-mouth for your restaurant. The platform’s analytics also allow companies to track user engagement, store visits and walk-ins, and the purchase history of users, among other data.
Make Back-End Ops More Efficient
Perhaps you are more interested in mobile tech platforms that will improve your back and front office business operations. Here are a few apps worth a closer look:
The days of ordering via phone or email with your key vendors are long gone. Improvonia is a supply ordering tool for restaurants. Via a simple and intuitive smartphone app (available for both Android and iOS), foodservice professionals can manage their supply ordering online. It is powered by features like real-time messaging for sales reps and restaurants, customizable price sheets and order guides, and an ordering interface focused on promoting relationships between buyers and suppliers. Improvonia focuses on established relationships and known standards, like those provided by partners such as the Organic Trade Association.
Full Disclosure: The author has a close relationship to Improvonia.
FoodKeeper is a new mobile application created by the USDA in advance of World Health Day this past April; its intent is to help industry professionals reduce food waste. A joint project between the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, Cornell University, and the Food Marketing Institute, the app aims to inform foodservice professionals how to properly store and cook food and drinks to prevent waste.
If your current point-of-sale system needs a makeover, consider Toast. The Boston-based startup’s suite of products includes online ordering and delivery, tableside ordering and delivery, online menu management, and online loyalty program management, to name a few. For an additional fee, consider bundling the service with full terminals and training programs for you and your staff. No matter what sort of foodservice operation you run — be it full service, quick service, fast food, fast casual, a bakery/coffee shop, or bar/nightclub — Toast can customize your POS system.
Better understand your customers by enlisting the help of Swipely. Once you have established an account, the company’s cloud servers utilize the power of big data to generate value-add CRM dashboards. The app also syncs with your social media accounts to gauge effectiveness of various social campaigns and customer reviews left online.
These are just a handful of the many mobile tech options available out there in the marketplace. When considering the adoption of mobile tech, just like any other tech in your restaurant, it is important to be selective and integrate only applications that make sense to your operations and bottom line.