8 Restaurant Apps Your Customers are Using

Apps have become the quickest and easiest way to answer just about any question, including “where should we eat tonight?” Restaurant apps combine crowdsourcing with advertising to create a mutual benefit for consumers and restaurant owners. Staying in the know about which apps customers are using to find their next meal is an essential part of a tech savvy advertising plan. Below we’ve highlighted seasoned veterans and newcomers on the restaurant app market.

Restaurants make the most of popular social media apps to promote menu and drinks.

The right in-app photo can whet your appetite

Zagat

As a respected aggregator of restaurant, hotel, and nightlife reviews since 1979, Zagat’s mobile app shows the wisdom of experience. Consumers can rate restaurants on food, decor, and service from a scale of 1 to 30. The app also includes an estimated cost for each restaurant so diners are not caught unaware. Though Zagat traditionally focuses on larger metropolitan areas, their list of rated cities has grown since Google acquired the company in 2011.

Pros: Industry respected and curated reviews.
Cons: Restaurant owners must request to be considered for a Zagat review.

Great Food Nearby: Ness

This app takes target advertising into the restaurant game. The Netflix of restaurant apps, Ness tailors suggestions based on previous ratings, mood, and current location. Ness also allows users to search for recommendations with others to find a meal that will satisfy everyone. Selected as an Apple Editor’s Choice App in 2013, Ness provides sample menus, Instagram photos, and hours of operation in addition to trusted reviews.

Pros: Flexible, personalized reviews and a beautiful display
Cons: Ness is currently only available in the US.

Cover

Fresh out of beta-testing in NYC, Cover is a mobile payment app that takes the inconvenience out of waiting to pay for your meal. The app allows participating restaurants to process payments from app users without lifting a finger. Diners create or join a “Table” at the front of the house and tell their server they are using Cover to pay. The app can split a check evenly among diners. If Cover catches on, the end of meal check hassle could disappear and restaurants may see savings on payment processing.

Pros: Integrated and simple bill pay, all done wirelessly
Cons: App is still very new and will take time to be available outside NYC

LocalEats

A New York Times recommended travel app, LocalEats connects customers with independently owned, local restaurants in a given area. Users can search based on price, neighborhood, type of food, and can locate restaurants near tourist attractions. Reviews are conducted by LocalEats rather than relying on crowdsourcing, however users can submit comment cards and top comments are included on the restaurant page.
Pros: Connects local fare-seeking consumers to non-chain restaurants
Cons: None we can think of!

Local Eats

Many apps partner with Instagram to include photos tagged in a restaurant’s feed

Urbanspoon

A must for travelers and homebodies alike, Urbanspoon is queen of the aggregated restaurant review. This app compiles user submitted, newspaper sourced, and food blogger reviews into one searchable and easily customized interface. A “slot-machine” feature allows users to shake their iPhone for a new and exciting dining experience.

Pros: Best small city coverage on the list, without ignoring the big metros
Cons: None we can think of!

Savored

An extension of the Groupon brand, Savored allows a customer to book reservations and take advantage of dining discounts all at once. The app offers sample menus, consumer reviews, and the ability to search by neighborhood. Savored partners with OpenTable, an app that allows users to find last minute reservations in bustling metro areas, to fill tables by offering discounts.

Pros: An easy way to enjoy fine dining without paying top dollar
Cons: Lacks some diversity in type and price of restaurants

Find Me Gluten Free

Gluten free options can be hard to find, particularly for travelers. This app provides a search function for restaurants that offer gluten free options to diners. Available in mid-sized cities on up to large metro areas, advertising on this app can bring a niche market diner and their friends to new restaurant experiences.

Pros: Quick connection to gluten-free menu options
Cons: None we can think of!

Yelp

Yelp offers much more than just restaurant reviews, so it’s crowdsourcing capabilities are well-tested. Yelp makes use of existing social media networks by working cross-platform with Facebook and Twitter to allow users to share statuses and check-in at restaurants. Yelp also works seamlessly with OpenTable to find reservations and deals. Users can post photos, write reviews, and find location and contact information.

Pros: More than just traditional restaurants, also includes coffee shops, bars, and cafes.
Cons: None we can think of!
Food apps for restaurants

Apps, like desserts, come by the dozen.

Ready to grab a bite?

Social networks and consumer behavior are tightly connected. Maintaining a listing on one or more restaurant apps is part of a targeted online marketing plan that can help an establishment retain regular customers as well as find new ones. Picobarn understands the restaurant industry and provides mobile optimized websites specially tailored to your establishment.

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