user expect in restaurant app

What Users Expect in a Restaurant Mobile App

In today’s digital age, a mobile app for your restaurant isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s a necessity. With so many people relying on their smartphones for everyday tasks, having a well-designed, functional mobile app can significantly enhance customer experience, drive engagement, and boost your restaurant’s bottom line.

Here’s a look at what users typically expect from a restaurant mobile app, and some considerations for restaurant app development and its associated costs.

1. User-Friendly Interface

First and foremost, users want an app that’s easy to use. If your app has a confusing layout or is difficult to navigate, users will likely get frustrated and leave. A clean, intuitive design with straightforward menus and clear icons can make all the difference.

Your goal should be to make it easy for users to find what they’re looking for and complete their desired actions quickly.

2. Seamless Ordering and Payment System

A key feature of any restaurant app is the ability to order food easily and securely. Users expect a smooth process that allows them to customize their orders, add special instructions, and review their order summary before finalizing it.

The payment process should be just as easy, with multiple payment options including credit/debit cards, digital wallets, and even newer options like cryptocurrency. Security is crucial—users need to trust that their personal and payment information is safe.

3. Real-Time Order Tracking

Including real-time order tracking can greatly enhance the user experience. Customers appreciate knowing the status of their order from preparation to delivery.

This feature helps manage expectations and reduces anxiety over delivery times. It’s especially useful for delivery services, where users can track the driver’s location and get an estimated time of arrival.

4. Loyalty Programs and Rewards

Loyalty programs are a great way to encourage repeat business. Users expect your app to offer loyalty points, rewards, or discounts for frequent orders. These programs should be easy to understand and participate in, with clear instructions on how to earn and redeem points.

Personalized offers based on past orders can make customers feel valued and more inclined to keep coming back.

5. Reservation and Waitlist Management

For dine-in restaurants, the ability to make reservations or join a waitlist directly from the app is highly valued. Users want to view available time slots, book tables, and receive instant confirmation.

Real-time updates on wait times and notifications when a table is ready can significantly improve customer satisfaction and streamline the dining experience.

6. Comprehensive Menu Information

Detailed menu information is crucial. Users want to see high-quality images, detailed descriptions, prices, and nutritional information. For those with dietary restrictions or allergies, the ability to filter menu items based on their needs is essential.

Highlighting popular dishes or chef’s specials can also help guide users in their choices and enhance their dining experience.

7. Customization and Personalization

Personalization is a powerful tool for enhancing user experience. Users expect the app to remember their past orders, favorite dishes, and any special instructions they typically include.

This not only speeds up the ordering process but also makes users feel understood and valued. Personalized recommendations based on previous orders can further enrich the experience.

8. Customer Reviews and Ratings

In-app customer reviews and ratings help build trust and guide new users in their choices. Users expect the ability to read and leave reviews, rate their experience, and share feedback. This feature also provides valuable insights for restaurant management to improve services and address any issues promptly.

9. Push Notifications and Updates

Push notifications are a great way to keep users engaged and informed about promotions, new menu items, and special events. However, these should be used sparingly to avoid annoying users with too many alerts.

Personalized notifications, such as reminders about a favorite dish being back in stock or a special discount on their birthday, can significantly enhance user engagement.

10. Social Media Integration

Integration with social media platforms allows users to share their dining experiences, check-in at the restaurant, and invite friends. It also provides an avenue for users to follow the restaurant’s updates and promotions on their favorite social networks. This can enhance user engagement and attract new customers through social proof.

11. Customer Support and Feedback

Access to customer support directly from the app is vital. Users should be able to contact the restaurant easily for any issues, inquiries, or feedback. Providing a live chat option, a dedicated support line, or a comprehensive FAQ section can greatly enhance the user experience.

Considerations for Restaurant App Development

When planning for restaurant app development, consider the following:

  • Development Cost: The cost of developing a restaurant app can vary widely based on the complexity of features, design requirements, and the development team’s expertise. A basic app with essential features might cost between $10,000 to $50,000, while a more advanced app with sophisticated functionalities could range from $50,000 to $150,000 or more.
  • Development Time: Depending on the complexity, developing a restaurant app can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. An app with advanced features such as real-time tracking, loyalty programs, and comprehensive reservation systems will take longer to develop.
  • Maintenance and Updates: After launch, regular updates and maintenance are crucial to keep the app running smoothly and securely. This includes fixing bugs, updating security protocols, and adding new features to meet evolving user expectations.
  • User Feedback: Continuously collecting and analyzing user feedback is vital for improving the app. This can help identify pain points, enhance existing features, and introduce new functionalities that align with user needs.


Incorporating these features into a restaurant mobile app can meet and exceed user expectations, leading to higher satisfaction, increased loyalty, and more robust engagement.

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, staying attuned to user needs and preferences through continuous feedback and updates will ensure that your restaurant remains competitive and successful.

A well-designed, functional app is more than just a tool; it’s a gateway to building lasting relationships with your customers.

When considering app development for restaurant business, it’s crucial to account for development costs and time to ensure a high-quality, user-friendly product that enhances the overall dining experience.