The foodservice industry is no longer just about bites — there are bytes involved, too. As technology advances, restaurants and brands have delved deeper and deeper into digital. And with millennials becoming the dominating buying group, the need for restaurants to digitize is no longer tomorrow's future fancy. It's necessary today in order to successfully charm the social-media- and mobile-savvy consumer. (Fun fact, a survey shows that 90 percent of millennials believe technology creates more opportunities.)
And the foodservice sector, infamous for being glacially slow to pick up on tech, especially as it is founded on priding traditional, painstaking, handcrafted, artisan techniques, is now heating up and picking up speed on integrating interactive technologies into its operations.
Self-ordering kiosks that allow guests to customize their meals before they reach the till. Double-purpose beepers that give guests games to play with their party while they wait for a table. Pretty much ubiquitous WiFi access with a simple login. Technology is transforming the restaurant and hospitality industry every day. But those aren't the only ways.
Stuck on choosing a wine list or pairing? There's an app for that. Need to have something ready at curbside in a jiffy? There's an app for that, too. The 2016 U.S. Mobile App Report even revealed that food-based apps ranked high, particularly among affluent users. Foodable decided to find out which food apps were on top and here's what the data dished out.
Top Food Apps Based on Influence Scores
How the Data Works
Foodable Labs, through the Restaurant Social Media Index (RSMI), analyzes more than 167K restaurant and hospitality brands and over 220MM global restaurant consumers across 500K foodservice locations. Influence is an analysis on the brand's general and hyper-user. Foodable Labs determines who the influencers are — consumers with major social media power – and how they engage with the brand and the brand's audience. These apps received the highest influence ratings based on a 100-point scoring system.
No. 1: UberEATS | Influence Score: 98.73
This isn't the first time we've covered this app, and it's no surprise, considering that Uber Technologies Inc. itself is an über force across multiple sectors. Not only has it transformed the transportation industry (to the dismay of taxi companies) with access to drivers at the tap of the button, but it has taken that concept to foodservice with UberEATS.
This food delivery app allows consumers to order from a roster of local restaurants — and fast. The total food and delivery price, without the need to tip, is shown right when they place the order and users can track the delivery as it zips toward them.
This service spans across more than 50 cities, coast to coast from New York to San Francisco, and internationally in Canada, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.
"...[We] launched the UberEATS app in just one city: Toronto. If you had told us on that chilly Canada morning that a year later, UberEATS would be available around the world, we’d have said you were blowing brisket smoke," UberEATS said in a release. "Yet today, people in 58 cities and 16 countries are getting the food they love delivered through UberEATS–and we’re blown away. The partnership and support we’ve received from our new culinary community has made it all possible. And we want to take this time to say thank you–to our Restaurant Partners, Delivery Partners, and our customers."
No. 2: OpenTable | Influence Score: 97.31
You won't find many consumers who will be close-minded when it comes to OpenTable. No standing in line and deflating when the hostess says a 45-minute wait here! This online restaurant-reservation service allows users to book their dinner dates, read restaurant reviews, and earn points toward free meals. Whether it's a solo-adventure, a table for two, or a table for 20, OpenTable works with thousands of restaurants in the United States, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and other countries. In New York alone, OpenTable has partnered with almost 10,000 restaurants.
This app seats more than 19 million diners per month, no doubt making it an industry torchbearer in the reservation space, but OpenTable doesn't just offer a place at the table. Its recent redesign makes OpenTable's home screen a discovery tool. Need a restaurant recommendation? Choose from themes, such as romantic or kid-friendly, or by location, availability, popularity, and other personal preferences. The "Editorial Picks" section also gives users insights from industry experts and OpenTable Insiders.
No. 3: Urbanspoon | Influence Score: 95.35
Users get the inside scoop on the best restaurant recommendations with Urbanspoon by Zomato. This free app is dedicated to providing customers "the best food and dining experiences at over a million restaurants." How? The Zomato team regularly gathers information from every restaurant to keep their data as fresh as the food their partnering restaurants serve. Other users and food lovers also share their reviews, photos, and personal accounts to help fellow app-goers make informed decisions.
At more than 80 million new foodies a month, 30 million photos, and 10 million reviews across 23 countries — including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Philippines, India, Ireland, Italy, and Lebanon — this community of sharing is not unlike the communal feeling of gathering at the dinner table, which makes it all the more fitting for the restaurant industry.
No. 4: EAT24 | Influence Score: 93.77
Do you like to eat 24/7? Then Yelp's EAT24 app may have you shouting for joy. This food delivery and takeout app boasts that with it, users have "35,000 reasons not to cook," as it has 35,000 restaurants in more than 1,500 U.S. cities within its database. Millions of dishes are available in a matter of a few swipes.
And because Yelp is a review powerhouse, the app features the insights from other foodies who traversed with their tastebuds, with the comments and photos to back up their escapades. Curious as to what the locals' favorites are? The "What's Good" feature locates the best dishes near you. And don't feel like fumbling with dividing the check total? According to EAT24's website, its "Split the Check" feature makes it simple for everyone who chows down to pay up. Dining out shouldn't be a math problem, and with this app, influencers and consumers can tap, taste, and enjoy crunching on food, not crunching numbers.
No. 5 DoorDash | Influence Score: 92.19
DoorDash is on-demand delivery in a flash for any appetite or occasion. Not only does the app offer meals for those swamped-in-the-office days, users can also find catering and large-order services. And not only has DoorDash found its way through local restaurants, household name brands such as Jack in the Box, Taco Bell, The Cheesecake Factory, Whole Foods Market, P.F. Chang's, and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews have partnered with this app in select markets.
"...We are excited to announce a partnership from Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews, our largest ever partnership with a national causal dining burger chain," DoorDash Mid-Market Executive Brian Sommers said, adding that delivery is available at more than 70 locations in major cities including Phoenix, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Washington, D.C., Columbus, Minneapolis, and with hopes to expand into additional cities.
Through DoorDash, restaurants have uncovered new customers, regulars, and demand that they otherwise wouldn't have had access to. Whether you're a hungry consumer or a brand hungry for business, you'd better dash to download this app!