Why You Should Be Using Push Notifications for Your Restaurant App
Push notifications are a powerful tool for your restaurant brand. They allow you to notify your customers about upcoming promotions, deals, events, or even just notify them about the status of their order.
What Are Push Notifications?
A push notification is a message that pops up on your smartphone or tablet. It’s sent from one of the apps downloaded and installed on the device. If you’re a smartphone user, you’re probably familiar with them, since they are commonly used by apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Uber.
Push notifications are a direct way of communicating with your customers through your app. Each time a message is sent, it appears on their phone’s lock screen, or as a banner at the top of their phone. If they aren’t using their phone when it sends, then they’ll see it the next time they open their phone.
Why Are They Important for Your Restaurant App?
By downloading your app, and enabling push notifications in their settings, your customers are telling you that they want to hear from you. If used correctly, push notifications will drive your customers to order more often and become loyal customers.
Let’s say it’s lunchtime. Your customer is thinking about what to have for lunch but hasn’t made a decision yet. You have scheduled a push notification with your daily lunch specials to be sent out half an hour before lunch. Your timely message reminds that customer of your restaurant, and they place an order for pick-up.
Then, your customer receives another push notification, this time saying their meal is ready for pick-up. This saves your customer from guessing and keeps them informed.
Push notifications are a fantastic, targeted advertising tool, but at the same time, they can improve the customer experience. They are vital to any restaurant app.
How to Use Push Notifications
Above we covered a couple of use-cases, but let’s look at them in-depth:
Discounts & Promotions
You can turn an undecided or inactive app user into a customer by sending them a push notification with a coupon. Systematically and consistently proving discounts and promo codes will keep the customer engaged, and encourage them to order through your app.
Loyalty Program Reminders
If you have a rewards system in place, you can use push notifications to let customers know when they’ve accumulated enough points to redeem for their next reward. These messages will encourage them to order more often to reach the next goal.
When they download your app, your customers should be prompted to grant the app the ability to see their location. This is useful for your customer when placing an order for delivery, or to ensure their pick-up order goes to your nearest location.
That information can also be used to send more relevant push notifications. For example, you can choose to send a push notification with a coupon whenever a customer is within a specific distance of your restaurant. You can also use this information to exclude customers that are out-of-town, to avoid annoying them.
The main reason your customers want to receive push notifications from your app is so that they can track the status of their order.
If you offer delivery, letting your customer know when the food has been dispatched, and when it nearby improves their experience. Then, the customer knows when to go and meet your delivery person--without your driver having to contact them.
Have something new on the menu? Inform your customers about it, or make personalized recommendations based on their order history. If you know a customer is vegan, you can send recommendations of other vegan dishes instead of menu items that they can’t order. Send these recommendations around mealtimes to increase the chance they will order from you.
A great example is Rook Coffee, an 11-location coffee shop in New Jersey. They have limited edition coffee beans that they release on a regular basis. When they release a new bag of limited edition coffee beans, they send out a push notification to their customers letting them know. With this strategy, they're able to sell out in a matter of days.
Reminders of Events & Sales
Are you opening a new location, having an anniversary, or introducing a new seasonal menu? Let your customers know with a push notification. Keep in touch with your customers, and share exciting news. It keeps them coming back for more, and they may even recommend you to others.
Insider Tips for Sending Push Notifications
- If you have invested in building an app, use push notifications to use your app to its full potential.
- Try to limit push notifications to a maximum of three times a week if the user is not active. Sending too many notifications can be annoying and might lead to the customer turning them off or uninstalling the app entirely.
- Make sure the push notifications have some value for the users and it's worth their time.
- Gather and analyze data from the customers' engagement with the notifications. This is a great tool that helps you figure out what works and what doesn't in your marketing strategy.
If you use push notifications right, they can increase your customer loyalty, and lead to an increase in sales at your restaurant. If you want to learn more about restaurant app features, and how they can help your restaurant increase sales, schedule an appointment to talk with our team.
Shabnam Ahmadi is the CPO and Co-Founder of Craver, a fast-growing mobile platform for Restaurants, helping them gain and retain their loyal customer base.