Restaurants Use Tasty Offers and Cloud Tech to Tempt More App Downloads

Shake Shack

“The takeaway close” is a familiar tactic to marketers, leveraging fear of missing out (FOMO), along with perceptions of scarcity, to impel consumer behavior. It goes like this: brands tempt with items or services, giving exclusivity or special access to those who “act now” in some way.

That appears to be the thinking behind a new Shake Shack campaign, where consumers who download the Shake Shack app get early access to the chain’s upmarket menu items, in this case the returning Black Truffle Burger and Parmesan Garlic Fries with Black Truffle Sauce.

Putting aside the sales bumps these items will (or will not) create, app downloads are the real point.

“With the Shake Shack app, fans can get early access to the truffle burger and fries starting Tuesday from restaurants nationwide. But without the app, customers will have to wait until Friday, Oct. 15 for access to the new menu,” a company blog post said.

America’s renowned appetite for burgers, coupled with the foodie appeal of all things truffle, with a hint of scarcity thrown in for good measure — the truffle burger and fries come off the menu again in January 2022 — combine for a tasty incentive to download the Shake Shack app.

This comes as quick-service restaurants (QSRs) and others vie for coveted spots in consumers’ collections of mobile apps, in a quest to keep mobile ordering healthy post-pandemic.

See also: Shake Shack Uses Data To Provide Omnichannel Convenience, Create Playful Experiences

Changes Coming to Restaurant Apps 

With PYMNTS research finding that 92 percent of top performing restaurants offer the ability to order using a mobile app — compared to only 31 percent of the lowest performing restaurants — the incentives to drive deeper into app-based ordering capabilities couldn’t be clearer.

According to the PYMNTS Delivering On Restaurant Rewards study done in collaboration with Paytronix, “Many are quickly learning that the key to success in the increasingly omnichannel restaurant ecosystem is not focusing on a single set of ordering options to the exclusion of all others but rather trying to strike a balance by offering a mix of ordering options that suits their customers’ unique needs and expectations.”

That others are getting in on reenergizing the mobile app space is no surprise.

Just as the Shake Shack truffle burger and fries news hit the wires on Tuesday (Oct. 12), so did a joint announcement from Wendy’s and Google Cloud also promising new digital experiences.

Per a Google Cloud press release, “Wendy’s intends to leverage Google Cloud’s data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and hybrid cloud tools to create new ways customers can order food in the drive thru, on their mobile devices and through other touchpoints.”

The release added, “By expanding the ways customers can engage with the brand in the future, using technology like speech-to-text and Google Search and Maps, Wendy’s is planning to make it faster, easier, and more convenient for customers to access the brand.”

See also: Wendy’s-Google Cloud Combo Aims to Level up Digital Offerings at QSRs

Beefing Up QSR Apps for the Connected Economy 

The Shake Shack and Wendy’s announcements are among the first in a “digital shift phase 2” that’s coming as the pandemic becomes endemic and consumers tire of 2020-era experiences.

For example, ordering via connected devices from in-home smart speakers and voice-equipped vehicles is trending. Restaurants will need to solve for voice to stay competitive.

As PYMNTS reported, “In today’s connected economy, mobile ordering is not just limited to specific apps that consumers need to go out of their way to seek out. Contextual integrations such as voice ordering can be key to winning the loyalty of convenience-craving consumers.”

Additionally, over 53 percent of commuters “use voice assistants on their smartphones while they drive. Ordering food and finding restaurants are vital parts of these commuters’ routines, and 14 percent used voice assistants to order meals for delivery while they were driving.”

Loyalty is a core component of restaurant app strategies going into 2022 and beyond.

As PYMNTS recently reported, “The restaurant industry still faces uncertain times, and both table-service operators and QSRs continue to rely on loyalty programs to grow brand awareness and reward customers for continued patronage. The rewards work both ways: Restaurant operators that offer such programs have higher sales and more satisfied customers than brands without them. A PYMNTS study found that more than 57% of users would spend more with a loyalty program, and other data showed that increasing loyalty by 5% could boost a restaurant’s profits by 25% to 95%.”

Read: Restaurants Race To Top Of Mobile Ordering Experience