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Order Ahead Apps: Enterprise Features with a Personal Touch

Large QSR leaders are using mobile order ahead apps in ways that are completely changing the foodservice industry. In the age of instant gratification, customers are turning away from the traditional, wait-in-line method of ordering food and moving toward more efficient, mobile-driven operations.

Since 2014, digital ordering through mobile order-ahead apps has grown more than 300% faster than dining in, and by 2020, it’s estimated that 11% of all QSR sales will be initiated by a mobile app. As the trends increase toward a mobile future, businesses of all sizes should be working to keep up with the changing times.

Necessary Features

The entire purpose of mobile order-ahead apps is to increase efficiency and cut down on customer wait times. But as the old saying goes, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat.” Industry leaders are always coming up with innovative new ways to promote efficiency. Here are some of the features that have become standard in the QSR world:

  • Mobile ordering: Of course, this one is a no brainer. The whole point of the app is to allow customers to submit their order before they come to the restaurant. Customers can place their order on their mobile device, and once they get to the restaurant, all they have to do is pick it up. There are no lines or waiting required.


  • Re-order favorites: Many industry leaders have built in an option to allow customers to re-order favorites from their order history. Not only does it help customers get through the checkout process faster, but the fewer steps that a person has to take, the more likely she is to do it frequently, improving customer retention.


  • Loyalty programs: Along with re-orders, loyalty programs are another effective feature for customer retention. Building a loyalty program right into your mobile order-ahead app creates a seamless process between ordering and earning reward points. Many QSR leaders are showing incredible success using loyalty programs.


  • Saving payment details: The most important rule for mobile order-ahead app development is: If it can be made more efficient, it should be. By saving payment details, apps can save customers from taking the time to put in their information whenever they want to place an order. If given the choice between placing an order with the touch of a button and having to type out payment information, customers would pick the former, regardless of product quality. People tend to choose the path of least resistance.


  • Digital menus: Over 90% of people research a restaurant before eating there. Even if they’ve been to the restaurant before, it’s always helpful to go back to the menu to find new things to try. It has become mandatory for mobile order-ahead apps to have a digital menu available for guests to look at while they’re planning their order. This is also a great way to promote new dishes and deals.

App Expectations

Major QSR leaders like Starbucks and Taco Bell can afford to develop, launch, and market fully-customized branded mobile order-ahead apps. These apps are developed specifically for the company, down to every last button and swipe stroke. Unfortunately for smaller businesses, these highly-customized apps from industry leaders are exactly what customers have come to expect from mobile order-ahead apps.

SMBs and smaller QSRs don’t have the time, money, or resources to put into developing a customized app like the major players do but need one just the same. If an app is poorly developed, it could end up hurting a business more than it could potentially help. Luckily, there are cost-effective options for small to mid-sized QSRs that don’t require the money and tech know-how that the industry leaders have. Professional order-ahead apps like PoppinPay provide enterprise-level features and functionality without the enterprise-level price tag.

Small Business Solutions

Square is one of the most popular payment processing methods for smaller QSRs. Some apps, like PoppinPay, can integrate directly with your Square system to provide a professional-level mobile order-ahead app for your business at a fraction of the price.

Forget the major development costs that many of the QSR leaders pay. A Square integrated mobile order ahead app can get your business mobile for a one-time setup fee and a low, no-contract monthly subscription, while still offering the important features that have become industry standard.

To start, just send over your brand colors and logo, and a creative team will design an app branded for your business. You’ll be able to manage digital menus, take orders, implement loyalty programs, and even accept payments all through your new, professional mobile order-ahead app.

QSR leaders have teams of experts to maintain their software and provide updates. Small businesses don’t have the resources to devote that much energy to keeping up with technology; they have better things to do! By using a Square integrated mobile order ahead app like PoppinPay, once the app is made, just sit back and reap the benefits. There’s little to no maintenance required. Let the dedicated team of experts handle the technology, so you can just focus on making your customers happy.

Enterprise Features without the Enterprise Price Tag

There’s no doubt that mobile-based ordering is the future of foodservice. For small to mid-sized QSRs trying to keep up with an ever-changing industry, implementing a fully-branded mobile order ahead app is one of the best ways to stay competitive. Square integrated apps can easily work with your current setup and provide you with top-of-the-line features for a fraction of what the industry leaders pay.