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Promoting Your Restaurant App: 5 Free Strategies That Work

Promoting Your Restaurant App: 5 Free Strategies That Work

TLDR

No matter if you manage a large restaurant or a small coffee shop, you've got a lot to handle. All your success ties to two things: drawing in customers and ensuring they keep coming back. With customers now reaching for their phones whenever hunger strikes, promoting your restaurant mobile app should be your topmost priority. So, let's explore the key areas to focus on for a successful app launch and the potential to achieve groundbreaking results.

Optimize Your Website to Be an App Magnet

To drive more visitors to download your restaurant app, optimize your website. Add prominent app banners, badges, and a dedicated app landing page.

Focus Your Website on Your App

Design your website to heavily promote your app. Place eye-catching app banners or badges on your home page and all major site sections. Include links to your app landing page and the app stores. App badges should be visible on all pages.

Create an App Landing Page

Develop a separate page on your site focused solely on your app. This acts as the central hub for all app-related information and downloads links. Explain your app's key features and benefits. Embed high-resolution images for better demonstration. Include prominent links to download your app from the Apple App Store and Google Play. Check out some amazing app landing pages here.

Improve Your App's Ranking

Use relevant keywords in your page titles, content, image filenames, and anchor text. Mention your app name multiple times, especially in headings. Discuss features like mobile ordering, payments, loyalty programs, and discounts. Optimize your page speed and mobile-friendliness. Higher rankings mean more visibility and traffic.

With a website laser-focused on promoting your mobile app and optimized for search, you'll transform more visitors into loyal app users. An engaging app landing page and improved rankings are key to maximizing downloads at no cost.

Promote Your App In-Store

To promote your restaurant app in-store, using QR codes is an effective free strategy. QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes that can be scanned using the camera on a smartphone. When scanned, they take the user directly to the page where your app can be downloaded.

Place QR Codes in High-Traffic Areas

Position QR codes in conspicuous locations where customers will see them, such as:

  • Near the entrance or exit
  • On table tents or signage
  • On product packaging or menus
  • At the checkout counter

This makes it easy and convenient for customers to scan the code and download your app on the spot.

Offer an Incentive for Downloading

Give customers an added incentive to scan your QR code and download the app. For example, you might offer:

  • A free appetizer or drink
  • A discount on their first purchase through the app
  • Loyalty points or rewards

Incentives motivate new users to not only download but also engage with your app.

Promote Your QR Code

Don't just place QR codes in your business and expect customers to notice them. Actively promote your QR codes to raise awareness and increase scans:

  • Mention the QR code campaign on your social media profiles
  • Include a message about scanning the QR code in your email newsletters
  • Have staff notify customers in person about the QR code and offer to help them scan it if needed
  • Consider using eye-catching signage, displays, or digital ads to prominently feature the QR code

With the right strategy, QR codes can be an invaluable tool for promoting your restaurant app to new and existing customers. 

Offer Exclusive App Incentives to Drive Downloads

To drive downloads, offering exclusive incentives is an effective strategy. Providing discounts, coupons, and rewards upon download or first purchase gives users a compelling reason to install your app.

Free Trial or Discounts on First Purchase

Offering users a free trial period or discount on their first in-app purchase incentivizes them to download your app to take advantage of the promotion. For example, you could offer a free 7-day trial of a premium subscription or 20% off a customer's first order. Be sure to communicate the details of the incentive within your app listing and on your website to spread awareness.

Coupons and Discounts

Sending exclusive coupons and discounts to users who have downloaded your app keeps them engaged and prompts them to make in-app purchases. You could offer $1 off coffee on Mondays or 50% off appetizers during off-peak hours. Promoting time-sensitive deals creates a sense of urgency and gives customers a reason to frequently check the app.

Reward Program

Developing a reward program where users earn points for each dollar spent in the app which can then be redeemed for free menu items or discounts incentivizes frequent app usage and purchases. For example, Per Diem enables owners to offer 1 point with each $1 spent which can be redeemed for a free drink or side. Reward programs give customers an ongoing motivation to place orders through your app.

Create Social Media Buzz Around Your App Launch

To generate buzz around your app launch on social media, focus on creating informative and engaging content to post on your social platforms. It allows you to spread the word about your new app to existing customers and reach new potential users.

Build excitement leading up to the launch

In the weeks before your app release, post updates on your social media profiles announcing the upcoming launch. Share teaser images of your app design or screenshots to give followers a sneak peek. Build anticipation by posting countdowns to the launch day. These types of posts create buzz and encourage people to download the app as soon as it’s available.

Promote special launch offers and incentives

Offer exclusive discounts or promotions only available to those who download the app in the first few days after launch. For example, you might offer 15% off all orders placed through the app for the first week. Promote these launch specials heavily on all your social media channels. This gives people motivation to be among the first to try out your new app.

Share stories and testimonials

Post stories, photos, and testimonials from early app users sharing their experiences. This social proof shows followers how the app benefits other customers and encourages them to download it to enjoy the same advantages. Ask loyal customers if they would be willing to post about their experience with the app on their social media profiles as well. Their genuine recommendations from a third-party source can be very influential.

Engage with your followers

Be active in responding to any comments, questions, or reviews on your social media posts about the app launch. Quickly reply to address any issues or concerns. Thank people who provide positive feedback or share about downloading and using the app. Engaging with your followers in this way helps to build buzz and excitement. It also allows you to provide good customer service to anyone experiencing problems with the new app.

Send Targeted Email Campaigns to Customers

Targeted email marketing campaigns are an effective way to reach your existing customers and promote your restaurant’s mobile app. According to studies, 68% of guests expect tailored email campaigns that match their interests. As an app developer for restaurants, consider implementing the following strategies:

Create a Welcome Series for New App Users

Once a customer downloads your app, send a series of 3 to 5 onboarding emails to welcome them and highlight key features. Explain how to earn rewards or redeem offers, order food for pickup or delivery, and share feedback. Welcome emails make new users feel appreciated and set the foundation for an ongoing relationship.

Use Compelling Subject Lines and Call-to-Action Buttons

Well-crafted subject lines and CTAs entice readers to open your emails and take action. Mentions of limited-time offers, seasonal specials or subscriber-only perks capture attention. CTAs like “Order Now,” “Sign Up” or “Learn More” make it easy for readers to do what you want. Place CTAs prominently, with a clear explanation of the associated benefit or reward.

Send Timely Holiday Campaigns

Holiday emails sent 3 to 5 days before major holidays, wish customers well and promote special menus, deals, or gift cards. A “Happy Holidays” message with an option to order full holiday meals to-go or last-minute party platters will drive sales during your busiest season.

Keep Content Relevant and Concise

Focus emails on information that matters to your readers. Share weekly specials, highlight popular new menu items, or announce upcoming events. Keep content concise, around 200 to 300 words. Use an easy-to-read font, bullet points, and images to break up text. Your readers’ time is valuable, so avoid sending generic or overly promotional content.

Final Thoughts

In today's digital age, an app has become an essential marketing tool for any business. Now, you have free and effective ways to spread the word about your new app. Reach your customers on the devices they can't put down—their smartphones. With the right app and the right marketing, you'll be well on your way to boosting brand loyalty, increasing foot traffic, and improving your bottom line. The future of restaurant marketing is in the palm of your customer's hands.

TLDR

No matter if you manage a large restaurant or a small coffee shop, you've got a lot to handle. All your success ties to two things: drawing in customers and ensuring they keep coming back. With customers now reaching for their phones whenever hunger strikes, promoting your restaurant mobile app should be your topmost priority. So, let's explore the key areas to focus on for a successful app launch and the potential to achieve groundbreaking results.

Optimize Your Website to Be an App Magnet

To drive more visitors to download your restaurant app, optimize your website. Add prominent app banners, badges, and a dedicated app landing page.

Focus Your Website on Your App

Design your website to heavily promote your app. Place eye-catching app banners or badges on your home page and all major site sections. Include links to your app landing page and the app stores. App badges should be visible on all pages.

Create an App Landing Page

Develop a separate page on your site focused solely on your app. This acts as the central hub for all app-related information and downloads links. Explain your app's key features and benefits. Embed high-resolution images for better demonstration. Include prominent links to download your app from the Apple App Store and Google Play. Check out some amazing app landing pages here.

Improve Your App's Ranking

Use relevant keywords in your page titles, content, image filenames, and anchor text. Mention your app name multiple times, especially in headings. Discuss features like mobile ordering, payments, loyalty programs, and discounts. Optimize your page speed and mobile-friendliness. Higher rankings mean more visibility and traffic.

With a website laser-focused on promoting your mobile app and optimized for search, you'll transform more visitors into loyal app users. An engaging app landing page and improved rankings are key to maximizing downloads at no cost.

Promote Your App In-Store

To promote your restaurant app in-store, using QR codes is an effective free strategy. QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes that can be scanned using the camera on a smartphone. When scanned, they take the user directly to the page where your app can be downloaded.

Place QR Codes in High-Traffic Areas

Position QR codes in conspicuous locations where customers will see them, such as:

  • Near the entrance or exit
  • On table tents or signage
  • On product packaging or menus
  • At the checkout counter

This makes it easy and convenient for customers to scan the code and download your app on the spot.

Offer an Incentive for Downloading

Give customers an added incentive to scan your QR code and download the app. For example, you might offer:

  • A free appetizer or drink
  • A discount on their first purchase through the app
  • Loyalty points or rewards

Incentives motivate new users to not only download but also engage with your app.

Promote Your QR Code

Don't just place QR codes in your business and expect customers to notice them. Actively promote your QR codes to raise awareness and increase scans:

  • Mention the QR code campaign on your social media profiles
  • Include a message about scanning the QR code in your email newsletters
  • Have staff notify customers in person about the QR code and offer to help them scan it if needed
  • Consider using eye-catching signage, displays, or digital ads to prominently feature the QR code

With the right strategy, QR codes can be an invaluable tool for promoting your restaurant app to new and existing customers. 

Offer Exclusive App Incentives to Drive Downloads

To drive downloads, offering exclusive incentives is an effective strategy. Providing discounts, coupons, and rewards upon download or first purchase gives users a compelling reason to install your app.

Free Trial or Discounts on First Purchase

Offering users a free trial period or discount on their first in-app purchase incentivizes them to download your app to take advantage of the promotion. For example, you could offer a free 7-day trial of a premium subscription or 20% off a customer's first order. Be sure to communicate the details of the incentive within your app listing and on your website to spread awareness.

Coupons and Discounts

Sending exclusive coupons and discounts to users who have downloaded your app keeps them engaged and prompts them to make in-app purchases. You could offer $1 off coffee on Mondays or 50% off appetizers during off-peak hours. Promoting time-sensitive deals creates a sense of urgency and gives customers a reason to frequently check the app.

Reward Program

Developing a reward program where users earn points for each dollar spent in the app which can then be redeemed for free menu items or discounts incentivizes frequent app usage and purchases. For example, Per Diem enables owners to offer 1 point with each $1 spent which can be redeemed for a free drink or side. Reward programs give customers an ongoing motivation to place orders through your app.

Create Social Media Buzz Around Your App Launch

To generate buzz around your app launch on social media, focus on creating informative and engaging content to post on your social platforms. It allows you to spread the word about your new app to existing customers and reach new potential users.

Build excitement leading up to the launch

In the weeks before your app release, post updates on your social media profiles announcing the upcoming launch. Share teaser images of your app design or screenshots to give followers a sneak peek. Build anticipation by posting countdowns to the launch day. These types of posts create buzz and encourage people to download the app as soon as it’s available.

Promote special launch offers and incentives

Offer exclusive discounts or promotions only available to those who download the app in the first few days after launch. For example, you might offer 15% off all orders placed through the app for the first week. Promote these launch specials heavily on all your social media channels. This gives people motivation to be among the first to try out your new app.

Share stories and testimonials

Post stories, photos, and testimonials from early app users sharing their experiences. This social proof shows followers how the app benefits other customers and encourages them to download it to enjoy the same advantages. Ask loyal customers if they would be willing to post about their experience with the app on their social media profiles as well. Their genuine recommendations from a third-party source can be very influential.

Engage with your followers

Be active in responding to any comments, questions, or reviews on your social media posts about the app launch. Quickly reply to address any issues or concerns. Thank people who provide positive feedback or share about downloading and using the app. Engaging with your followers in this way helps to build buzz and excitement. It also allows you to provide good customer service to anyone experiencing problems with the new app.

Send Targeted Email Campaigns to Customers

Targeted email marketing campaigns are an effective way to reach your existing customers and promote your restaurant’s mobile app. According to studies, 68% of guests expect tailored email campaigns that match their interests. As an app developer for restaurants, consider implementing the following strategies:

Create a Welcome Series for New App Users

Once a customer downloads your app, send a series of 3 to 5 onboarding emails to welcome them and highlight key features. Explain how to earn rewards or redeem offers, order food for pickup or delivery, and share feedback. Welcome emails make new users feel appreciated and set the foundation for an ongoing relationship.

Use Compelling Subject Lines and Call-to-Action Buttons

Well-crafted subject lines and CTAs entice readers to open your emails and take action. Mentions of limited-time offers, seasonal specials or subscriber-only perks capture attention. CTAs like “Order Now,” “Sign Up” or “Learn More” make it easy for readers to do what you want. Place CTAs prominently, with a clear explanation of the associated benefit or reward.

Send Timely Holiday Campaigns

Holiday emails sent 3 to 5 days before major holidays, wish customers well and promote special menus, deals, or gift cards. A “Happy Holidays” message with an option to order full holiday meals to-go or last-minute party platters will drive sales during your busiest season.

Keep Content Relevant and Concise

Focus emails on information that matters to your readers. Share weekly specials, highlight popular new menu items, or announce upcoming events. Keep content concise, around 200 to 300 words. Use an easy-to-read font, bullet points, and images to break up text. Your readers’ time is valuable, so avoid sending generic or overly promotional content.

Final Thoughts

In today's digital age, an app has become an essential marketing tool for any business. Now, you have free and effective ways to spread the word about your new app. Reach your customers on the devices they can't put down—their smartphones. With the right app and the right marketing, you'll be well on your way to boosting brand loyalty, increasing foot traffic, and improving your bottom line. The future of restaurant marketing is in the palm of your customer's hands.

Doron Segal
Doron Segal

Hey I'm Doron, the co-founder & CTO of Per Diem — a mobile app platform for restaurants. I'm also a dad and a husband. I love to travel and meet new people.I love creating things, and see people using the stuff I built.Prior to Per Diem I worked at Saildrone, OpenTable, Apple, Beats Music, Siemens.

Tomer Molovinsky
Tomer Molovinsky

A second time founder with a passion for building products at the intersection of hospitality and technology. I've had the pleasure of launching reservation systems, mobile payment solutions, and loyalty programs at OpenTable and Resy, and witnessed how operators were losing a direct connection with their customers online. We built Per Diem to strengthen the relationships that businesses have with those customers, and to ensure that local businesses can thrive in today's economy.

Ashley Rodriguez
Ashley Rodriguez

Ashley is a freelance writer and podcast producer based in Madison, Wisconsin. She hosts a podcast called Boss Barista and writes an accompanying newsletter with full transcripts of each episode and articles about coffee and restaurant work. You can check out her work here (ashleyrodriguez.work/).

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