The Essential Guide to Restaurant App Development Key Features and Trends

The Essential Guide to Restaurant App Development Key Features and Trends

In recent years, the restaurant value chain has experienced rapid growth. Restaurants have adapted quickly to digitalization, which is sweeping across all industries. Restaurants tried to maintain service throughout the pandemic. Food Delivery App Development Companies played a critical role during the shutdown by ensuring restaurants continued providing essential meals to those without access to a kitchen - particularly students and young individuals without kitchen access who relied heavily on online food deliveries for sustenance. Responding to such demand, industry rose and met this new challenge head on. It is clear how important a mobile app would be in order to meet market demand. It is not necessary to limit the ordering of food to mobile devices. Instead, it can be extended to other portable gadgets. This blog will guide you through the process of developing a restaurant app.

The Growing Use of Apps for Restaurant Guides

There are now thriving restaurants in every American town with more than 5,000 people. Restaurant and food delivery app guides are increasingly used by foodies traveling across the United States to locate great restaurants, no matter where they may be. The growing popularity of restaurant guide apps for finding great takeout, dine-in, and delivery options is revealed by interesting metrics. Statista published bullish statistics for online food deliveries worldwide. Revenues of $343.8 Billion in 2022 are projected to reach $407 Billion by 2026. The annual rate of growth is 8.3%. The Online Food Delivery Sector is also expected to increase, with the number of users reaching 2.7 billion over the same period.

This industry has seen a decline due to COVID-19. However, the sector has recovered positively. The National Restaurant Association reported a 19.7% rise in sales for 2021 compared with the year before. The pandemic has made customers feel more confident about using apps on their mobile devices to order food, whether it is for takeout, delivery, or dine-in. Expect the digital transformation to continue even as customers return to eating in restaurants.

Restaurant App Categories

Although the restaurant app development for restaurants can be done in many ways, there are a few distinct categories that dominate the industry. The options listed below represent mobile restaurant apps that are popular and safe. The top apps for restaurants are divided into five categories.

Restaurant-Locator App

After building location-based apps, clients will be able to easily navigate a particular area and locate all nearby dining options. How can you create an app like Zomato? You may be asking the same question. If so, remember that this type of app is designed to give users detailed directions to help them locate your restaurant and to track their orders. Geofencing is a great way to retain customers as well as attract new ones. Custom app development is the best option to make an app like Zomato.

Table-Reservation App

Phone calls have long been a thing of the past. Customers expect that businesses will provide multiple communication methods. It is, therefore, important to develop a restaurant application that allows customers to book tables online. OpenTable is a good example of a restaurant app development that offers the most features.

App for On-Table Payment and Ordering

Most likely, you know one or more restaurants that allow customers to place orders using their smartphones. You can automate processes by digitizing menus and letting customers place orders using mobile devices once they have scanned a QR Code. This will also reduce wait staff costs. This type of app will reduce the number of errors in the order process. FlipDish shows how you can create a similar restaurant ordering app.

App for Online Delivery and Ordering

Takeouts and online orders are becoming more popular due to the hectic pace of life in modern times. It is, therefore, a rational choice to develop a restaurant application that fits into this subcategory. Domino's Pizza is a great example of how popular restaurant ordering apps have become, with more and more customers wanting their favorite dishes to be delivered right to their door.

Loyalty Program Application

For any business to succeed, customer retention is crucial. This is especially true in the competitive restaurant sector. Users choose restaurants based on the best deals and discounts. You could see your restaurant sales soar if you created an app with exclusive offers for customers. Starbucks is the leader in this field.

Apps for Review

Word-of-mouth can be a very powerful way to attract new customers using the restaurant app. Positive comments can boost your business. Textual reviews and videos are important in the restaurant business, particularly when experts do them. Restaurants must allow customers to leave testimonials easily. Most review applications include areas where users can leave comments or give ratings. It would make sense to create an app similar to TripAdvisor, where you can publish all the information on restaurants as well as reviews from visitors. There are also price comparisons. Some apps help users find places they like based on their design. Others combine multiple places into one app and facilitate online order processes. If you want to build a restaurant application, review similar and competitive services first to ensure that your choice is the best. Then, decide what features will benefit your business the most.

How to Create a Restaurant App

This is a detailed, step-by-step guide.

Conduct Market Research

Market analysis should be the first step in creating a restaurant application. You should know...

  • Your app's demographic target
  • How can you help them?
  • What you need to do in order to build an app for restaurants that will address all of these problems. How to build a restaurant app that addresses all these issues.
  • Your primary and secondary goals for your business

You can then determine your main collaborators and develop a basic strategy, as well as a value proposition, for the restaurant. With your team, you can discuss what's needed to create a customized app for food deliveries.

Define business goals

It is necessary to create a mobile application from the ground up that meets the requirements of your target market. Start by defining the requirements. At the very least, you should keep an eye on the demographics, such as age, race, gender, and income. You should also be familiar with the consequences of developing a smartphone application for a restaurant. Consider the most relevant KPIs, establish business goals, search for different platforms, and develop the best strategies to achieve the performance you desire.

Mobile  App Development Company

Locating an efficient and trustworthy Mobile App Development Companies to develop restaurant apps can be quite a difficult endeavor, so it is wise to work with an IT consultancy services provider with experience developing restaurant applications. Also, ensure that they offer UI/UX facilities as a restaurant application is the most popular among app users.

Features List

It would be best if you now decided how to create a restaurant application and what features it will have. With the help of an experienced software firm, you can create a product roadmap and include all the features that are going to be added during the development of restaurant apps for better growth.

Design UI/UX

The main goal of a successful restaurant app is to resolve real problems. Therefore, when users order food from your apps or websites, they should be able to do so with a simple user interface. This means a client-focused and interactive UI/UX. Here are the phases that you should focus on when developing software:

  • Researchers
  • User experience design
  • Visual design
  • Branding
  • Animations and illustrations

Don't forget to edit your color scheme and add your logo to your restaurant locator application.

Launch & Test

The most crucial part of developing an app is to test it extensively. You should be able to fully integrate all the features into your app before you release it.

Collect feedback

What can you do to make an app for restaurants that users will want to use? By collecting reviews for your products, you can discover which features your users find useful and those that your app needs. It's important to keep the process going and to listen to customer feedback as soon as a new feature has been released. You should also launch a campaign that will help educate people about your app, regardless of whether it's for ordering from a restaurant or ordering in-app.

Features that must be included in a restaurant application

Below are the features you can use to create a restaurant-specific app.

In-App Messages

Would you be interested in having someone available on your app to answer questions from customers? Rasa chatbots eliminate the need to hire a full-time staff member. The restaurant industry is relatively new to artificial intelligence, which has enabled solutions to become more intelligent. They are still relatively new in the restaurant business. Still, they add a level of personalization to make your establishment stand out.


The use of gamification in restaurant order applications is becoming more common. The psychological aspect of the application is an important factor. In essence, gamification is the use of game mechanics in a restaurant application to reward users for tasks completed. It would be best if you created challenges in your app to encourage user interaction.

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing has reached a new high. You can use it to grow your restaurant delivery service. But what is influencer marketing? This is a continuation of word-of-mouth marketing. It's a concept that the influencer's fans will translate to revenue. Micro-influencers are another trend that is gaining popularity in the influencer marketing world. The micro-influencers have only a few thousand fans. People assume micro-influencers have more power because their fans trust them.

Feedback Customer Portal

The easiest way to gather information is by asking your customers for feedback. This will help you make improvements in the app. You must update your app regularly to stay on top of the competition. Who else but the users themselves can review and make suggestions for changes? It is possible to create a mechanism for feedback that allows users to share their opinions and learn more about your customers' needs. You can address these later to provide an improved user experience.

Restaurant Staff Management

It is important to track restaurant employees and increase productivity. This would prevent the restaurant from being over or under-worked. You can keep track of your employees' success. It is possible to make changes based on what the employees observe. This increases flexibility and efficiency, as it ensures that you have the correct number of workers to complete the task on time.

Advocacy Reward

Apps have only recently added referral programs and rewards. These are also called advocacy. They are more common in B2B businesses, as sales tend to be lower than in B2C. Due to technological advances, we can automate activism promotion with our mobile app solutions. Customer advocacy becomes more important as customer trust is declining in newspapers, brands, and journalists. Word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective.

Geotargeting Tech

Restaurant app development services now provide businesses with another invaluable feature: geotargeting. This technology enables companies to interact in real time with customers by capitalizing on their location. Advertisers can now offer discounts or coupons exclusively for individuals subscribed to location services.

Menu Screens

This functionality is a must for any online ordering application. The method must show the appearance of dishes, list ingredients, and, if applicable, list customization options. A clean, interactive menu will encourage users to place orders online. If you are developing an app for a restaurant, consider creating and optimizing a menu that is both enticing and entertaining. This critical component of the interface should include high-quality pictures and a button to allow users to order directly from the menu.

Orders Online

Most people are short of time and, therefore, use apps to order food or pre-order. This function was introduced successfully by the Starbucks app. Pre-ordering electronically allows customers to avoid waiting in long queues. Today, online ordering is essential.

Reservations for Tables

Your small restaurant may be very popular, and walk-ins may have trouble finding a table. The restaurant is a luxury establishment and does not allow walk-ins. Instead, it allows reservations. Customers should have the option to book a table using the mobile app of their restaurant, regardless of whether they are in a physical location or not. It reduces the frustration of customers, who are often frustrated by waiting for tables.

Nearby restaurants

This feature is extremely useful for restaurants with multiple locations. If you want to create a restaurant-specific app, this is a great feature. Geolocation can be used to invite tourists or direct them to your restaurant if you are nearby.

Social Media Interaction

Our lives are inextricably linked to social networking. It should, therefore, be part of any restaurant's plan. It is possible to create a restaurant application that integrates social media, allowing for easier registration within the app. Allow customers to post photos of their food on social networks and leave reviews. This will allow you to capitalize on word of mouth and social media to grow your business.

Push Notifications

You can use these alerts for many different purposes. For example, you can notify your customers about promotional offers, upcoming events, or discounts. They will be reminded of your restaurant and encouraged to visit more frequently.

Loyalty Program

Customers who are loyal and have been with you for some time should be treated special. To make loyal customers feel appreciated, loyalty programs can provide them with exclusive discounts, vouchers, and bonuses. They will still use their smartphone to access the rewards as part of your loyalty program if they come into your business.

What is the future of restaurant app development?

In the past few years, the use of digital technology in the restaurant sector has increased significantly. Yahoo Finance's recent report that shows that online food delivery will surpass $505 billion in 2030 is yet another reason to develop a restaurant application. Other arguments support the development of restaurant apps.

  • 77% of US adults own smartphones and frequent local restaurants. Many people use mobile phones to make reservations or order dishes in advance.
  • Most users prefer to make their dining decisions while on the move. This is proven by 72% of mobile searches.
  • According to research, 61% of consumers believe that the restaurant application is easy to use. They want to see their favorite cafe have one.
  • Fortune's latest data shows that 6.6% of all restaurant orders are made via smartphones.
  • Around 50% of restaurants reduced their staff by 20 % after COVID-19. Apps for restaurants can help reduce your staff's workload and improve their productivity.

These facts are strong evidence of the need to build a native app for restaurants. Although the process can be a bit challenging, it's worth it in the end.


Understanding the target audience and the people who are going to directly benefit from an app is essential for the development of a restaurant app. The application interface is crucial to making ordering food online a pleasant experience. The application can be made more appealing and convenient by a thoughtful understanding of requirements. For a development project to succeed, you need a team that is experienced in developing custom apps for mobile devices. They should have delivered applications with the features desired for an effective and functional restaurant app. The app should be attractive and worth downloading. It must offer satisfaction, just as the restaurant it promotes.


1. Why is the development of restaurant apps important?

The process of developing mobile apps and websites for restaurants is called restaurant app development. This is important as it increases customer engagement and streamlines operations. It also boosts revenue by allowing online reservations and ordering.

2 What are the main features of an app for restaurants?

Apps for restaurants should include features such as online ordering, reservations at tables, display of menus, ratings and reviews, loyalty programs, and integration with payment systems.

3. What can an app for a restaurant do to improve the customer's experience?

Apps for restaurants can enhance the experience of customers by offering convenient menu access, live reservations, and recommendations tailored to the individual, as well as the ability to pay with contactless technology.

4. What are the trends that will shape restaurant apps in 2023?

In 2023, trends in restaurant app development include AI-powered chatbots for customer support, augmented reality (AR) menus, sustainability-focused features, and integration with third-party delivery services.

5. What can I do to ensure that my app is secure?

For a secure app, use encryption and update the security protocols regularly. It is important to partner with reliable hosting providers.

6. How much does it cost to develop a restaurant application?

Costs vary depending on the features, level of complexity, and rates charged by development teams. Basic apps cost from $10,000 to $50,000, while advanced ones can reach over $100,000.

7. What is the best way to market my app?

Marketing strategies that work include:

  • Using social media to promote your app.
  • Working with influencers in the food industry.
  • Optimizing app listings by adding relevant keywords.

8. Why is real-time tracking of orders important in mobile apps for restaurants?

The real-time tracking of orders keeps the customer informed and increases trust. This reduces the number of customer complaints and inquiries. .

9. Which technology stack is most used for restaurant app development?

For restaurant apps, the most common technology stacks include Flutter, React Native, or Node.js as backend frameworks.

10. How can I add third-party services to my app for restaurant delivery?

Integration of third-party services such as Uber Eats and Grubhub will expand the reach of your app. These services provide APIs that can make integration seamless.