iPhone apps are all the rage right now, and already there is an app for just about anything you can think of under the sun. This includes the restaurant industry, and these 10 apps are affecting how consumers make their decisions on where and when to go out to eat, which directly affects your business.
Here’s the top 10 ways people are getting info about your restaurant on their iPhone:
1. OpenTable – You’ve probably already heard of OpenTable.com, an online reservation service. Well, now potential customers can use their iPhone to search for restaurants near a given location based on price, number in the party, and type of cuisine. If your restaurant is registered with OpenTable they can even make a reservation right then and there. Wow.
2. Yelp – I’ve already covered all the hot water Yelp has been in lately on this blog. Now customers can write those sometimes scathing, sometimes retarded, sometimes good reviews of their restaurant right from their iPhone. They can also find you and read other reviews about you before they walk in the door.
3. UrbanSpoon – this app brings a fun element to the locating a restaurant genre with a slot machine interface that randomly selects three factors – neighborhood, food type, and price. You can lock any of the three and spin for the others to focus on a specific category. For a restaurant owner, it can be a little frustrating leaving the fate of your potential customer’s decision to a random spin, but that’s how it goes. This app also has reviews and maps for restaurants.
4. VegOut – This app searches vegetarian restaurants only. All the same features are available: search by location, reviews, and maps. If you run a vegetarian restaurant, this app is your very best new friend.
5. LocalEats – This app focuses on producing the 100 best independent restaurants in the 50 largest cities in the U.S. If you run a chain or don’t get picked by the editors of LocalEats, you’re kinda out of luck. But if your restaurant is on the list, potential customers can find you easily by searching by location.
6. Pocket Cocktails Drinks & Wine – Customers can use this app to search for hundreds of cocktails, get drink recipes in case they stump your bartender, and even get wine recommendations based on what they have ordered.
7. Tipulator – This app allows your patrons to calculate any tip from 0 to 50% among as many people as are in the party. It could be a double edged sword for your servers, but this cool little app will probably help customers calculate a good tip rather than a bad one.
8. Calorie Tracker – an app developed by Livestrong.com, it calculates the calories of over 525,000 different ingredients so your customers can select the most healthful items on your menu.
9. Fast Food Calorie Counter – this app does exactly what it says it does – calculates the calories and fat of 6,000 menu items from 55 fast food chains.
10. 160,000 Recipes from BigOven – if you’re ever hurting for a new recipe, you might want to check this app out. Get ingredients and preparation instructions, plus save your favorites and randomly select new recipes.