As the restaurant industry continues to battle inflation, more and more fast-food chains are looking to increase customer engagement, gain specific insights, and boost profits. While these goals are certainly not a new concept, studies show that fast-food chain app usage is growing in leaps and bounds.
The top 10 quick-service apps in the U.S. were downloaded 12.1 million times in July, a 16.3 per cent increase over June’s numbers. Year over year, downloads are up over 42 per cent for the top 36 quick-service restaurant apps.
McDonald’s topped July’s list, with the highest app downloads, attributing the high numbers to National Fry Day and its summer camp campaign. Starbucks (ranked number two) offered its cold drinks at a 50 per cent discount to rewards members on Tuesdays and saw increased sales after four months of declining usage. Pizza Hut is using a dollar and point system to reward its users, increase visitor frequency, and grow loyalty, earning the eighth spot on July’s top 10.
These numbers suggest that apps are continuing to provide value for the consumer and for the restauranteur. Buildfire reports that 49 per cent of Americans open an app over 11 times per day, and studies confirm that 37 per cent of the top-earning restaurants see 50 per cent of their business coming from digital channels.
Given these numbers, it was only a matter of time before the fast-food industry recognized the potential in this space. Competition is fierce as chains fight for loyalty and dollars amid all-time inflation. Not only are more chains adding apps to their offering, but some companies like McDonald’s and Burger King are doubling down on their digital efforts, recently launching their apps in the UK.
Fast-food chains are doing everything they can to get to know their customers, attract new clientele and stay top of mind for customer spending. As Victoria Hendrick, strategy partner at consultancy Strat House says, “Loyalty can be used as another incentive for customers to switch from in-store ordering digital or at-the-counter ordering to pre-ordering via digital – with obvious operation benefits. Of course, for customers, it’s a slick way for them to gain rewards.”
With fast-food app usage on the rise, benefitting both restauranteurs and consumers, it looks like this trend is here to stay.