How To Create A Restaurant App: Trends, Features, And Pro Tips To Adopt

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May 4, 2023
How To create A restaurant app

In recent years, restaurant mobile apps have become popular around the world. Globally, a behavioral shift to online ordering was noticed during the Covid 19 pandemic; and that brought a canvas for mobile apps to play around without any limits. With the boom of online ordering and food delivery platforms, having a mobile app for your restaurant can bring a huge impact on the restaurant’s success.

How do these restaurant apps really help? Glad you asked!

For starters, you can have a glance at a compilation of some fun and interesting stats that help shed some light on why there has been a recent upshift in restaurant app use.

These apps are beneficial for your business and for your customer as well. You can efficiently manage inventory, streamline operations, make a seamless ordering process, and much more! Similarly, you can provide an end-to-end food ordering service for your customers by providing an accessible menu that allows them to customize their orders, make payments, and get food delivered to their doorstep.

According to Statista, in 2020, the restaurant industry generated $1.2 trillion in revenue globally. Seeing this trajectory, this is the right time to know more about restaurant mobile apps.

What Types of Restaurant Apps can you Develop?

In this digitalized world, mobile apps have become an integral part of businesses, be it startups, SMEs, or MEs; across various industries, and the restaurant industry is no exception. When everything around us is moving at such a fast pace, efficient ease of access will always be paramount to a business’s success. We at CitrusBits have always paid attention to developing restaurant apps because, FOOD!, need anyone say more? We are upping our game in restaurant mobile apps, creating top-notch apps for various clients including Burger King, Rubios, and Ansa, to name a few.

We are going to show you some really cool things as we walk you through this article, about the different types of restaurant apps, how they fit into what you are looking for, and highlighting some of the key features that make them successful.

Types of Restaurant Apps

Local Restaurant Finder

We can start off with Restaurant Finding Apps. These apps help you discover restaurants near you. They use your location to give you a rundown of all the hotspots nearby, along with details on the restaurants. Such as their dine-in facilities, cuisine, services, accessibility, reviews, and many more. These apps have a wide user base, from people looking to discover new places in their cities, to tourists looking to find the go-to places when they visit.

Some famous restaurant finder apps are Restaurant Locator, OpenTable, Dine, The Fork, and HappyCow.

CitrusBits combines high functionality and appealing aesthetics with current trends and user demand to develop restaurant finder apps that help attract the target user base.

Restaurant Menu App

Here we are, everyone’s favorite kind of mobile app. Menu Apps are the kind of restaurant apps that allow you to access a restaurant’s menu virtually and place an order through the app. Tired of waiting in long lines or going through the hassle of calling and waiting and making a reservation? These apps provide you with available open slots throughout the day.

Some examples of such apps include ReastApp, eMenu, and OkMenu.

At CitrusBits, our team works tirelessly to create appealing and intuitive apps that allow customers to experience the atmosphere of the restaurant translated onto their screens.

Restaurant Booking App

Restaurant booking apps allow users to reserve a table at their favorite restaurant. The restaurant provides you with available slots, and you can book your dinner reservation without any hassle. Some advanced features include placing an order in advance, often used on business dinners, engagements, etc. Some restaurants even offer customizable surprise arrangements for birthdays, proposals, and other special occasions.

With CitrusBits, the mobile apps are all about delivering a seamless and hassle-free experience, with all the bells and whistles you need to run your restaurant on all fronts, catering to as many needs as possible, as efficiently as possible.

Aggregator Apps and On-Demand Delivery Apps

These are the apps that have gained the most popularity in recent times. Aggregator and On-Demand delivery apps are two categories of food delivery apps that combine food ordering with an exploration gameplay element. Combining all restaurants that operate within a radius, allows the user to explore through menus. Use is often encouraged by restaurants providing deals and discounts to app users.

CitrusBits specializes in developing apps that ensure your restaurant business operates ahead of the competition and through our extremely talented design team, we provide an interface that does justice to the hardworking folks in the kitchen, all the while capturing a wide customer base.

Features of Restaurant Apps

Now that we’ve discussed the various types of restaurant apps, let’s delve deeper into the key features of successful restaurant apps for admins, restaurant owners, and end-users.

For Admins/Owners

Every app is built differently for a different purpose. Anyone managing a restaurant, be it the kitchen or the front end, or both – has a lot of responsibilities. An app can help streamline the entire day-to-day operations, making management a very smooth process.

Here are some key features of admin apps:

  • Reports and Analytics: The app can help admins access a database of the entire restaurant’s business, including sales, payments with methods, commissions, taxes, wastage, cost, etc.
  • Website Control: You can access data pertaining to your website (visits, abandoned carts, etc.) and customize the site name, and logo, and add or remove art using the editing tools available.
  • Delivery System Management: You can have visibility on deliveries taking place in real time, monitoring the time being taken and proactively identifying delaying factors and managing them. You can manage your delivery network by assigning X number of delivery persons per zone, and editing those settings as the volume of orders changes.
  • Customer Management: Oversee customer experience, have access to customer feedback, provide easy sign-up options to deal offers, email blasts, etc., and manage member profiles. Have visibility on reviews.
  • Staff/Kitchen Management: You can use the app to manage inventory efficiently, sending out orders to vendors based on the accurate data at hand that changes in real time as orders go out. Provide an effective architecture for communication between the chefs and wait staff to avoid errors and miscommunications. You can manage shifts, team rotation, holidays, salaries, and bonuses.

For Customers/End-Users

  • Push Notifications: Make use of push notifications to notify customers of discounts or offers and special items without being intrusive and simultaneously increasing your sales.
  • Online Ordering: Providing customers with access to an in-app menu and payment portal to allow a hassle-free online ordering experience.
  • Location-Based Services: Replace traditional flyer promotions by engaging with potential customers in your vicinity using beacons and geofencing.
  • Customer Support: Offer a calendar that makes automatic reservations that increases customer satisfaction by making their experience smoother. Use AI-powered chatbots to reply to customer inquiries regarding FAQs, and take over manually when customers have non-standard questions. Provide a feedback portal that gathers relevant data from the customer that may help improve the app, services, food, etc.

Develop with CitrusBits

Needs and requirements vary from business to business. An entrepreneur can be looking to start off a new business by utilizing the tools at their disposal in the online food ordering and delivery services category, or after making a mark physically, you could be looking to expand your business digitally to reach out to a different audience, or you simply feel you want to boost your sales – these are just some of the requirements for which CitrusBits provides the ideal solution. Incorporating the features mentioned above and more, our team analyses your specific needs and creates a custom and successful app that suits your needs.
Contact our consultants today and they will guide you through the entire journey toward building your app.

Creating Successful Restaurant App: A Comprehensive and Collaborative Development Process

For over a decade, we’ve collaborated with teams and individuals to design and develop meaningful digital products that users love. Our collaborative app development process is designed to bring your vision to life while remaining within your timeline and budget constraints. This process includes three primary steps. To get a jump start on the process, you can download our guide to building an effective app for your restaurant.

Share Your Vision

You’ve likely already brainstormed your app idea, outlining its appearance, features, and functionality according to your restaurant’s needs. In this initial stage, we’ll explore your idea together, assess the viability of your product, and provide ballpark figures for the cost and time required to complete the project. We’ll take a deep dive into your concept, all the while making sure that it resonates with the feel and look of your restaurant.

During this stage, it’s essential to be open and transparent about your goals and expectations. This will help us gain a clear understanding of what you want to achieve with your app, ensuring that our team can effectively align with your objectives. We’ll also discuss any potential challenges or roadblocks that may arise during development and strategize how to overcome them.

Collaborative Workshop Solutions

Creating a successful app involves solving real-world problems with a product that feels great to use. To gain a deep understanding of what we will be building and who we will be building it for, we’ll set up a series of collaborative workshops with your restaurant team members. These workshops will enable us to explore the problems your app aims to solve and identify the target audience, and also brainstorm possible or efficient workarounds to day-to-day issues.

The workshops we conduct during this phase of the process include:

  1. Defining User Personas and Empathy Mapping: To create an app that users want, it’s essential to understand their needs and how your app will help solve their problems. User personas help us tailor the user experience accordingly. By clearly defining your target audience i.e., your restaurant customers, we can focus on creating an app that truly resonates with its users and addresses their unique challenges.
  2. User Journey Mapping: Documenting the actions users take when using your restaurant app, from introduction to usage, helps us understand their experience and ensure your app meets expectations. This process involves detailing each step customers will take when interacting with your app, enabling us to identify potential pain points and opportunities for improvement. By mapping the user journey, we can craft a more engaging app experience.

During these workshops, our team will work closely with you to gain insights into your users and their needs. We’ll engage in brainstorming sessions, sketching, and discussions to generate potential solutions for the identified pain points. By fostering a collaborative environment, we can effectively explore and refine ideas, ultimately leading to a more successful app.

Define the Scope and Establish the MVP

Once we’ve explored potential solutions through our collaborative workshops, it’s crucial to define the scope of the project. Every mobile app project requires a clear roadmap, whether it’s built from scratch or based on a pre-existing app. We’ll work together to define feature sets, decide on platforms, and ensure the app can be delivered within the necessary timeframe.

During this stage, we’ll also prioritize the most impactful aspects of the product and determine the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). The MVP is a scaled-down version of your app with only the most essential features needed to attract early adopters and validate your product idea. Establishing an MVP allows you to efficiently test and refine your app concept before committing to full-scale development.

UI/UX Design

With a solid plan, our UI/UX designers will begin crafting the visual elements and user experience of your QSR app. This process starts with creating wireframes and mapping user experiences (UX). Our user interface (UI) designers will then develop the graphical elements, branding assets, and style guide, ensuring your app’s aesthetics align with your vision, with the theme of your restaurant, and appeal to your target audience.


At this stage, our team of skilled app developers will start building your app. They’ll set up databases, core logic, and dynamic screen behaviors to ensure a fast, seamless, and immersive experience for users. Throughout the development process, we’ll meticulously test each aspect of the app to guarantee a smooth and bug-free experience.

Our developers will work in two-week cycles called sprints, which consist of designing, developing, and testing specific deliverables. During bi-weekly sprint wrap-up meetings, you’ll have the opportunity to review and evaluate our work before we proceed to the next deliverable. Consistent feedback allows us to make adjustments promptly, minimizing the time and cost associated with potential changes.


Launching your app on the App Store or Google Play is an art form in itself. Our team will work closely with you to ensure all marketing materials, graphics, and app assets are prepared for public release. We’ll guide you through the submission process, which can take up to 10 business days for the iTunes App Store or just a few hours for Google Play.

Maintenance and Growth

Getting your app into the store is just the beginning. Once it’s live, we’ll switch gears to offer long-term product management and growth hacking guidance. The initial wave of users will generate invaluable data that can help us fine-tune your app’s features and adapt to the fast-paced mobile marketplace. Our goal is to turn an initial surge of downloads into long-term growth by leveraging our years of experience launching scalable, profitable startups.

We pride ourselves on building more than just beautiful apps. Our focus is on creating full-fledged businesses equipped for consistent growth. Through our entire development process, we’ll help transform your vision into a successful mobile app that meets the needs of your users and thrives in the competitive mobile market.

Our Experience With The QSR Restaurant Industry

CitrusBits and Burger King:

CitrusBits, a leading restaurant app developer, collaborated with Burger King to provide custom restaurant app development services and developed a sophisticated app with features like image handling, data synchronization, and GPS, along with a robust admin portal for easy management. As a result of the successful restaurant mobile app development, the app garnered a 4.5-star rating, 400,000 monthly user acquisitions, 1.3 million monthly engagements, and a 1000% ROI. Impressed with the work of CitrusBits, Burger King migrated all franchise-related apps to the ones created by their experienced restaurant software developers.

CitrusBits and Urban Plates:

Leveraging their deep understanding of the Urban Plates brand, CitrusBits focused on creating an engaging and visually appealing app showcasing menu items and ingredients. They integrated the app with existing backend systems like Novadine, POS, and payment solutions, enabling seamless functionality. The app supports various ordering options, customization, and other user-friendly features. When COVID-19 hit, CitrusBits quickly pivoted to add curbside pickup, demonstrating their adaptability and commitment to enhancing the user experience.

Why CitrusBits?

  • Proven Track Record: CitrusBits has successfully developed mobile apps for renowned restaurants, some of which are mentioned above – showcasing their expertise and understanding of the industry.
  • Customized Solutions: CitrusBits works closely with clients to deliver tailor-made solutions, ensuring that the app aligns with the unique brand identity, target audience, and business requirements of each restaurant.
  • Seamless Integration: CitrusBits has experience integrating apps with existing backend systems, POS, and payment solutions, facilitating smooth app functionality and management.
  • User-friendly Design: CitrusBits puts emphasis on creating an aesthetic across their apps that accurately highlight menu items, and ingredients and provide an engaging user experience.
  • Responsiveness and Adaptability: CitrusBits demonstrate agility and adaptability, as seen when they quickly added curbside pickup features in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Comprehensive Features: CitrusBits develops restaurant apps with a wide range of features, including ordering options, location-based services, table reservations, chatbots, and more, ensuring a robust and versatile solution.
  • Strong Support and Collaboration: The CitrusBits team provides ongoing support and collaborates closely with restaurant owners to ensure the app’s success, incorporating feedback and constantly improving the product.

By choosing CitrusBits, not only do you get a name that you can trust, but you also get a team that possesses the skills required to make every step of the way as efficient as possible with the same end goal – delivering a high-quality product that not only meets the requirements of the business owner but drastically improves business by providing a platform for sustainable growth.

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