Your restaurant doesn’t need an app.

Seriously. It’s not worth it. And I’ll tell you why.

Before you ask: No, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t try to digitally engage your customers via mobile. Quite the opposite. What I’m telling you is that an app is 100% not the solution you’re looking for.

Erik Shellenberger, author of Restaurant & Bar Marketing: The No Bulls#it Guide To Improving Guest Counts sums it up perfectly. Here’s his take on why apps aren’t worth your time.

“I spent a ridiculous amount of time and money building an app that basically gave people free food in their geographic location, based on criteria they designated in the app. It turns out, people will not give up their home screen real estate even for a free meal. Getting someone to download an app in the first place remains the biggest barrier to the success of apps. Human nature tells people that apps slow down their phone and drain their battery. Whether it’s true or not, this is the belief. Phone apps in the restaurant or bar field are just screwed.”

Indeed, to echo Erik’s statements, no one wants to download an app for every single restaurant they’ve ever been to. That’s why even big restaurant names have to push amazing offers just to get downloads. Just to throw out a personal example, I love Chick-Fil-A. I go there all the time. A couple months ago, they were giving away a free eight-count Chick-fil-A Nuggets order – just for signing up with the app (and creating/signing into a Chick-fil-A One account).

I never downloaded the app. Just didn’t have the inclination. I’ve been inundated with so many offers from so many restaurants and businesses, that I couldn’t even bring myself to download an app for free food, from a restaurant that I go to frequently. Now I have no doubt that many people have downloaded Chick-Fil-A’s app, and I’m sure it’s quite successful. But Chick-Fil-A has the benefit of both a massive audience and a large marketing budget. Not exactly your average restaurant.

Oh, and I haven’t even gotten into how much it costs to develop an app. And to keep it updated. And to make sure it works across iOS and Android devices. Sounds like a pain, doesn’t it?

So, what’s the alternative? Allow me to present you with SMS Marketing. That’s right, marketing with text messages. It’s been proven to work for many restaurants, and it can work for yours as well. Setting your restaurant up with SMS marketing makes infinitely more sense than building an app. To start with, it’s more affordable. No download required.

With the right SMS marketing promotion, you can accomplish so much. Want to push Happy Hour sales? Send a promotional text before it’s about to start. Want to promote an event your holding this weekend? Remind your customers a few days in advance! The best part of marketing your promotions this way is that you can be almost certain your messages have been received.

Go Mobile With CoGoBuzz

Think mobile marketing needs to be restricted to apps? Think again! With CoGoBuzz, our state-of-the-art marketing service, we make mobile marketing easy and affordable. Our service engages your customers without any of the hassle. Leveraging powerful WiFi, SMS, and Email solutions, we’ll transform your restaurant’s mobile presence – more efficiently and effectively than an app could in the first place.

With a quick, one-time login to your in-restaurant HotSpot, customers are given access to the Internet. They’re taken to a custom landing page, directly designed for your restaurant. There, you can incentivize them to join your text-based loyalty program. You can then run contests, polls, automated messages, and more. You’ll engage your customers whenever, wherever, and you’ll do it just as (if not more) effectively than an app could. All with a simple text message.

Want to learn more about CoGoBuzz? Check out the rest of our website!

Interested in Erik’s book? Click here to purchase at Amazon.

Has your restaurant experimented with mobile marketing? How’d it go? Sound off in the comments!