In the digital age, there are many reasons restaurants might need an app.
But historically, there have been pretty major barriers for most restaurants — namely, building an app can be an expensive and time-consuming process, out of reach for the vast majority of independent restaurants.
Not anymore. App builders now allow anyone to build an app with no coding knowledge or experience, and that includes restaurateurs. And the types of apps that restaurants can build to support their delivery services, marketing, customer outreach, and internal processes are virtually limitless.
Wondering how (and why) you should build a no-code app for your restaurant? Read on.
Why Do You Need a Restaurant App?
In 2021, there are 3.8 billion smartphone users in the world. That's about half of the entire global population.
In the U.S., 77 percent of people own a smartphone, and 47 percent of those say they couldn't live without their device.
More and more, mobile devices are how people are going online. Smartphones are how they shop, order food delivery, search for local businesses, and stay up-to-date with their favorite businesses, including restaurants.
At the same time, there's a technology revolution happening in the restaurant industry. A wide variety of technologies — from point-of-sale platforms to inventory management systems to online ordering and delivery technology and even automation and artificial intelligence — is making restaurants faster, more efficient, safer, more adaptable, and more profitable. The restaurant industry is reaching a flash point — in an industry that's long been resistant to new technology, restaurants that don't embrace digital tools are now in danger of being left behind by their competition.
While there's plenty of existing restaurant technology to choose from, sometimes the best choice for a restaurant is to create a custom mobile app that can address its specific need or pain point. For that, mobile app builders are the perfect choice.
Why is an App Builder Perfect for Restaurants?
App builders are platforms that allow anyone to create a custom app — usually without writing a single line of code. They can often create both web and mobile applications, and some can even create native apps for Android and iOS.
They use templates, drag-and-drop elements, and intuitive interfaces to make app design simple and accessible — even for restaurant owners who have a love-hate relationship with technology.
But there are many other reasons that app makers are the perfect solution for restaurants in particular.
Custom coding an app from scratch is expensive. Even a simple app is likely to costs tens of thousands of dollars — and more complex apps can reach hundreds of thousands of even millions. And that's just for developing the app — it doesn't account for the ongoing costs of hosting and maintaining your app once it's built.
On the other hand, app builders are made to be affordable. Many offer tiered plans that allow restaurant businesses to build, host, and maintain their app all for less than $100 a month.
Custom app development takes a lot of time — weeks to months at a minimum, but development can drag on for years for a complex app. But with a no-code app builder, you can upload a spreadsheet and have your app up and running in just minutes. Using an existing app template can make the process even faster.
They Have Great Support
When you custom-code your own app from scratch, it's up to you to maintain it — and troubleshoot it if anything goes wrong, which typically requires having a team of developers and IT professionals at the ready. Restaurants don't typically employ developers or IT teams, which means the built-in customer support they get with app builders is a perfect fit.
You Likely Already Have Everything You Need to Build Your App
If you keep any of your restaurant's data — like your latest inventory reconciliation or your staffing schedule, for example — in a spreadsheet, you can turn that into an app right now. That's how fast and easy app builders make it to create the app you need for your business.
How to Build Your Own Restaurant App in Just 3 Steps
With that in mind, here's how to create your first restaurant app in just three steps.
Step 1: Choose a Template or Upload a Spreadsheet
If you're working with an existing spreadsheet that already includes the data you want to turn into an app, all you need to do is sign into Glide and upload that spreadsheet.
If you don't have a spreadsheet at the ready, or you just aren't sure what kind of data could make a great restaurant mobile app, you can choose a template instead — the Glide library has dozens of restaurant-specific templates to choose from.
Step 2: Customize Your App
What's great about Glide is that it makes it easy to create a polished, professional-looking app with no design experience required. Once you've uploaded your spreadsheet or chosen your template, you can use our simple design interface to add features and customize your app's look and feel. Add your restaurant's branding, change the fonts and color scheme, drag-and-drop new components, and more — Glide makes it easy to make your app both functional, and beautiful.
Step 3: Publish Your App (and Keep Iterating If You Want To)
Once your app has the features and look you want, publish it and it's ready for others to view and use. If you decide to make updates or changes to your app later, you can do that — and they'll be reflected in real time for all your app's users.
8 Ways Restaurants Can Build Apps with Glide
When you think of restaurant apps, you probably think of the ones you might already have on your phone for major restaurant chains — aimed at their customer base and filled with restaurant information, menus, and mobile ordering. Those are popular and useful restaurant apps, but restaurants need to also think outside the box when it comes to how apps can help them with their internal operations, too.
With Glide templates, you can have your restaurant app up and running in just a few minutes. Let's take a look at some of the templates available for both internal and customer-facing apps — and how restaurants can use them.
Staff Directory and Staffing App
Staffing is one of the hardest parts of running a restaurant. You need to make sure you have enough staff on the floor to provide great service to your guests. But it's also necessary to avoid overstaffing, since the average restaurant spends up to 30 percent of its gross revenue on staffing. Then there's all the juggling staff members who work different shifts and need flexibility in their schedules.
This Staff availability & scheduling directory app eases many of those pain points. It serves as a directory of all staff, where each member can update their availability to avoid scheduling conflicts. Then, you can create and send out your staff schedules (with a push notification to let employees know the new schedule is posted) — right there in the app.
Staff availability & scheduling directory is available for $99.99.
Inventory and Delivery App
Tracking and reconciling inventory is one of the most labor-intensive jobs restaurateurs need to perform. Why not streamline the process with an app?
This Delivery app includes inventory and order management features that allow you to directly contact vendors, assign orders to your staff who will be on when they arrive, and other features that help track deliveries of ingredients and supplies.
Delivery is available for free.
Digital Menu App
These days, restaurant customers expect to be able to see your menu online. In fact, 77 percent of diners check a restaurant's website before they place an order, and the majority of them are there looking for an online menu.
This Restaurant Digital Menu app allows you to put all your menu items in a digital space, which can be viewed on a mobile device as a native app, or online as a web app. With room for item descriptions, prices, and mouthwatering photos, it's sure to catch potential guests' eyes.
Restaurant Digital Menu is available for $14.99.
Multilingual Menu App
If your restaurant is in a location where you serve populations that speak a variety of languages, you guessed it — there's an app for that.
Restaurant Menu Multilingual not only creates an attractive and easy-to-navigate digital menu, but adds functionality for displaying it in multiple different languages, so you can offer the same great hospitality to all guests no matter where they're from — and what language they speak.
Restaurant Menu Multilingual is available for free.
Gone are the days when making a restaurant reservation required picking up the phone and making a call. Today, guests can make table reservations online — or by using a custom app created for your restaurant to take and manage reservations.
Reservations App (Client) was built for a barbershop, but the template would be easy to customize for restaurants to use instead. The app allows guests to book times, and allows businesses to manage all their reservations from one tool.
Reservations App (Client) is available for $49.99.
Order Ahead App
The COVID-19 pandemic made online food ordering soar in popularity. Give your guests an alternative to food ordering apps like Doordash and Uber Eats — and save on the fees charged by those platforms — by creating your own app.
The Order Ahead app allows guests to place their orders before they arrive, whether they plan to dine in or pick up a takeaway order. The app also offers different payment options, allowing guests to choose whether they want to pay in advance, or when they arrive.
Order Ahead is available for free.
Mobile Restaurant App
When you need an online menu, food delivery app, restaurant ordering, and more, all in one platform, you need a general mobile restaurant app. Glide has templates for those, too.
This Restaurant app includes all the information guests might need, including information, hours, social media links, menus, and promotion information (perfect for promoting loyalty programs and other marketing tools).
Restaurant is available for $4.99.
Start Building Your Own Restaurant App Today with Glide
With a wide variety of templates, it's clear that Glide is the only restaurant app builder you need. Glide empowers restaurateurs to create powerful apps that can better their customer experience, increase sales, streamline internal processes, and more. Whether you use one of the templates from this list, or create a custom app that brings your unique vision to life, Glide makes it easy and fast for anyone to build a powerful, professional-looking app.
Ready to build your own restaurant app? Get started for free on Glide. We can't wait to see what you build.