Top 5 Apps by Restaurant Brands on the ITunes Marketplace

Developing a mobile app that your customers will actually use is easier said than done. The majority of apps that get downloaded are used maybe once and then quickly deleted. 

The data real estate is limited for most smart-phone users, so the app better make their lives easier and/or provide entertainment – or it’s not going to last on their home screen.

There are 1.5 million iOS apps available on The Apple app store and 1.6 million available in the Google Playstore. So it’s safe to say, there's a lot of competition on both app marketplaces.

When restaurant brands started to developed mobile apps, they usually were focused on offering customers information about store locations and their menu. But, now these apps have transformed into ordering, payment and delivery platforms. Some brands, even offer games through these apps, like Moe’s Southwest Grill's recent launch of the augmented reality game through the brand’s mobile app.

Even though restaurant apps have come a long way, most struggle to remain used regularly. With that in mind, we decided to take a look at the restaurant brands with the top five food & drink apps on the ITunes marketplace and see why these apps are so successful and how they continue to be the most downloaded.

No. 1: Starbucks Has the Most Downloads With a 4-Star Rating Averaged From 979 Reviews 

It’s not surprising that the coffee giant is at the top of this list. This app allows users to order and pay. At a glance, this doesn’t seem wildly interesting, but customers earn rewards every time they order and/or pay. 

For users looking to avoid the line or a wait, they can order ahead through the app, which automatically finds the closest store to their location. In 4-9 minutes, their vanilla latte is waiting at the pickup area.

The $1 million spent by the brand to accept payment via QR code, ultimately paid off. The app is used by 17 million people and 4% of Starbucks transactions are made in advance. In January 2016, the chain announced that they process more than 6 million mobile transactions through the app a month.

Starbucks also boosts sales through the app, by saving user’s favorite orders and by offering recommended items that would pair well with it.

This month (October 2016,) the coffee mogul is testing a pilot program in Snoqualmie, W.A, where users can receive curbside service from 6 am to 6 pm daily. A user can drive up and receive their beverage without leaving their vehicles as a carside-barista brings them their order.

The reason users love the Starbucks App: It’s convenient and offers high-value rewards.

No. 2: McDonald’s May Have the Second Highest Download Numbers, But Lacks App Loyalty 

This fast food chain’s app doesn’t offer an order and pay function. The features for users include redeeming exclusive offers/coupons, being able to use the McDonald’s Keyboard, browse menu and nutrition information, and find the nearest McDonald’s store.

However, it’s likely the chain’s app received a massive amount of downloads due to its global reach. 

The restaurant serves 68 million customers a day and has over 3,500 stores. With such a recognizable brand, the chain doesn’t have difficulty getting downloads. 

But, the general consensus from the 188 reviews (which averages to 1.5 stars) is that there is some major room for improvement. Specifically, many of the users complained that an error message appears on the app when pulling up the daily offers and that It often freezes.

The reason users love McDonald's app: For the users who haven’t had glitchy issues, they love the coupon rewards.

No. 3: Dunkin’ Donuts, Will This App Be Able to Compete with Starbucks?

It makes sense that the top three most downloaded apps from restaurant brands are chains that are popular for breakfast because they appeal to consumers that are usually on-the-go and looking for anything that will make their morning trip more convenience and quick.

Although this app is relatively new to the marketplace (it launched mid-year in 2016,) it is the third most downloaded app on the Apple market place by a restaurant brand. With that being said, the brand still has some kinks to work out.

This app offers users the option pay, order, earn rewards, see deals and find Dunkin stores.

Unfortunately, the average of the 439 customer ratings of the app is 1.5 stars. The biggest criticism in the reviews is that it’s not user-friendly. Also, when the brand revamped the app, they created an entirely different app. So users often had two different DD apps on their smart phones, which caused more confusion.

The reason users love the DD app: The freebies and the being able to order ahead and skip the line.

No. 4 Domino’s, Another Example of Executing an App Right

Pizza is often a great option for the on-to-go consumer. It’s relatively inexpensive, easy to serve, and feeds a larger group.

Domino’s may land at no. 4 in terms of downloads, but the brand’s app is the highest ranked on the Apple Market place with a five-star average from over 2,000 reviews. The app allows the user to order, pay, redeem coupons, and track their order.

The brand offers specific coupons for those who order from the app and once they earn a certain amount of points, they get a free pizza.

The chain even adds an extra personal touch with a thank you text after the delivery or pick up.

The reason users love Domino's app: How user-friendly it is, the re-order option, and how they can track their pizza every step of the way.

No. 5 Chick-fil-A- A Massive Amount of Downloads, but So Little Reviews

Treat yourself to something sweet. Download the Chick-fil-A One App.

A photo posted by Chick-fil-A, Inc. (@chickfila) on

This chicken-focused quick serve has the no. 5 most downloaded app from a restaurant brand. User use to app to order, pay, get surprise treats, view the menu, and find information about the nearest stores.

The “Chick-fil-A One” app was re-launched to replace the chain’s former app in June of this year.

“We know time is valuable, and we’re excited to offer this new convenience that will empower guests to order what they want, when they want it and exactly how they want it, all from their mobile device,” said Michael Lage, senior manager of digital experience for Chick-fil-A in a recent press release. “This app was developed based on customer feedback, so it was specifically designed to give our guests an even more convenient and personalized experience in our restaurant.”

To celebrate the relaunch, any customer who downloaded or updated the app between June 1-11 got a free Chick-fil-A® Chicken Sandwich, Spicy Chicken Sandwich or Grilled Chicken Sandwich that they had until June 30th to claim.

The restaurant also partnered with Twitter, where user could tweet “#CFAOne with the horizontal cow emoji to receive a prompt to download the app from Twitter directly to their mobile device.”

So far there are not many reviews since the revamp, but the average rating is 3.5 stars.

The reason users love the Chick-fil-A One app: How it is user-friendly and the surprise treats.

The five apps above are the most downloaded apps, however some of the most highly rated apps include– Panera Bread, BurgerKing and Sonic Drive-thru. What are some of the qualities all of these apps share? They are seamless and easy to use and offer high-value rewards.