Without us even realising, apps have become an integral part of our daily lives. From banking to music, the phrase “there’s an app for that” could not be more true than it is today. But what effect has this had on the way that we eat at restaurants?

Loyalty Equals Rewards

Gone are the days of those stamped paper loyalty cards that you always accidentally leave at home. With the rise of restaurant apps, loyalty can now be tracked on any of your mobile devices. Easily accessible, easier to track through location services and catered to what you, as a customer, like. This points system, compared to the traditional stamping, is easier for both the diner and the restaurant.

It is equally, if not more, important for restaurants to focus on bringing back existing customers over and over again rather than constantly attracting new people. The loyalty features in apps allow restaurants to gather information about their consumers while also providing an attractive, customised experience. This is definitely a win-win and it is clearly effective, as 50% of smartphone users have said that they regularly use these loyalty apps for restaurants. 

Your Order, Ready and Waiting for You

Have you ever got to your favourite fast food restaurant to realise that, actually, your food didn’t get to you fast enough? As the popularity of fast food has grown, so have the queues. To overcome this issue, restaurants are now including a feature in their apps where you can order ahead. Upon arrival to the restaurant, you skip the ordering process and the queue to get to the most important part: the eating.

While other restaurants are now catching onto this, McDonald’s were one of the first to integrate it into their app. The MyMcDonalds App allows diners to explore the menu, customise their order and pick up whatever they are craving at a time and a place that suits them. All you need to do is press a few buttons, head to your preferred location and your order will be ready and waiting for you. It’s never been easier!

Booking Made Easy

Fast food restaurants have the ability to order and prepare your food in advance, but what about when you want to sit down for a civilised meal? Previously, you would have had to call ahead and ask to book a table on the phone. There are many struggles which come with this traditional method. The restaurant may be busy, so unable to answer the phone when you call. You may have communication issues, so find it nearly impossible to speak to someone over the phone. These problems used to create a barrier between the restaurant and the diners… But not any longer!

With apps, it is now possible to book where and when you want to eat within a couple of minutes. You can customise your choice and even add notes for the restaurant, such as the fact that you are celebrating somebody’s birthday or that you may need wheelchair access or a highchair for your baby. You can choose from a specific restaurant’s app, such as Pizza Express, or a general app, such as OpenTable which has a wide variety of different restaurants. Either way, picking up the phone to book a table at a restaurant is now a thing of the past.

Starbucks App: Ahead of the Game

So, we’ve looked at the three ways restaurants generally use apps in order to track their customers and provide the best experience. However, Starbucks is a restaurant app which has managed to remain ahead of the competition in terms of their features.

According to a survey by The Manifest, the Starbucks app is the most popular restaurant app with nearly 50% of people who use restaurant apps opting to have it on their phone. They have used their innovative nature in combination with the uprise of apps in order to increase their company’s success.

Here are the 3 key ways that Starbucks have come to be ahead of the game in terms of their use of apps:

Integration with other platforms and services

Spotify logo

Spotify [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

One way that Starbucks have integrated their services is through Spotify. The app now gives users to opportunity to see what is being played in stores. They can then download or save these songs or playlists as they wish.


Photograph of Starbucks cups and phone

Image from Pexels.com (No attribution required)

The app recalls your favourite order, suggests the food items that would go well with your drink and where you should pick it up. Any user’s experience on the Starbucks App is unique, ultimately making it a user-friendly mobile experience.


As well as their usual loyalty programmes, the app provides users with challenges so that they can earn additional stars, which are reward points, and earn free food or drinks.


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