Restaurant Apps with the Best LTOs

To entice a customer to download an app, it’s not uncommon for a restaurant brand to present a limited time offer.

There are a few scenarios that could play out after a brand gets a guest to download the app.

1.     They initially downloaded the app for the offer, but they realize that they like using it.

2.     They redeem the offer, never open the app again and may even delete it.

Brands are clearly hoping that a majority of app downloaders experience the first scenario. But, the data real estate on a user’s smart phone is often limited, so apps are quick to be deleted.

Nonetheless, LTO encourage users to download the app and get it on their home screen in the first place.

So we decided to take a look at the restaurant brands with the best LTOs in exchange for app downloads.

Burger King- Not Just One LTO, But Many

The quick-serve mogul has one of the most highly reviewed and downloaded apps in the food & drink category on both the Apple and Android marketplaces.

The app allows users to look at the restaurant’s menu and nutrition, access an array of coupons, find the closest BK store, and pay via mobile.

Immediately after a user downloads the app, they have access to “coupons on demand” and can “save up to $30 in the BK app.”

Some of the current limited-time high value offers include a free whopper with a whopper purchase and a free Croissan'wich with a purchase of a Croissan'wich.

Unlike other highly rated restaurant brand apps, like Starbucks and Panera Bread, the BK App doesn’t have online ordering yet.

However, with so many immediate rewards available for users, it hasn’t been difficult for the brand to get massive downloads and for them to retain mobile users.

Steak ‘n Shake, Free Shakes Bring New App Users to the Yard

Another restaurant app offering a LTO when the user downloads their app, is Steak ‘n Shake. This app allows guests to pay in-store with their mobile devices, see the menu and store locations, and redeem reward dollars. Users earn $5 in rewards for every $50 they spend by using the app to pay.

To encourage app downloads, the brand will give the user a “FREE milkshake with their first App purchase.”

In January of this year, the restaurant chain announced they would be freezing their menu prices for 2016 and to celebrate the brand announced the free shake promo through their app. \

“Throughout all of 2016, we have no intention of raising menu prices. To celebrate the menu price freeze, we will happily give away free milkshakes. We operate Steak n Shake on a simple principle: If we take care of our customers, our customers will take care of us,” said Sardar Biglari, chairman and CEO of Steak 'n Shake in a press release.

The offer has remained available for first-time app users.

Baskin Robbins’, the Restaurant Celebrates New App with LTO

This ice cream chain launched its mobile app in August of this year. Like most app launches, the brand is celebrating with a LTO.

Users who download the app will get a free regular 4 oz. scoop of their favorite ice cream.

App users can access coupons, buy and send Baskin-Robbins cards, find the nearest store, browse the menu, and pay for their order.

"At Baskin-Robbins, we take pride in delighting guests with our wide variety of ice creams and frozen treats and we're always looking for new and innovative ways to enhance the guest experience and to further connect with our customers," said Weldon Spangler, senior vice president, Baskin-Robbins U.S. and Canada in a press release. "We are excited to introduce our new mobile app to guests nationwide, which includes a range of features including special mobile offers, mobile payment and information about our products. We hope guests will celebrate our launch by downloading the app and enjoying a free regular scoop of their favorite Baskin-Robbins ice cream flavor on us."

The app is available on the Android and Apple marketplace and has been relatively well-received from users. One of the most common complaints is that stores sometimes don’t honor the coupons from the app or that the coupon didn’t scan at the store. This just demonstrates that the brand needs to do a better job educating their staff members in both corporate and franchise stores.

Sonic Drive-in, Leverages Beverage Program with LTO on App

Another highly rated app is the quick-serve, Sonic’s app.

This app allows the user to pay via mobile for their order, find the closest store, browse the menu, and check out the latest offers by the chain.

The current version of the app has 4.5 stars out of 5 out of 437 ratings on the Apple Marketplace and 4 stars on the Android marketplace out of almost 7,000 ratings.

The chain gives new App users a LTO of a free medium slush that they have 30 days to redeem.

The restaurant has an array of different frozen drinks with more than “1.3 million drink combinations.” This summer they expanded their already extensive beverage program with Island Breeze Frozen drinks.

“Our customers come to SONIC for new, unique and flavorful drink combinations they can’t get anywhere else," said Scott Uehlein, vice president of product innovation and development for SONIC in a press release. "With the addition of Island Breeze Frozen Drinks, we’re giving guests a refreshing, new taste of paradise and making SONIC their Frozen Drink Headquarters.”