It wasn’t long ago that the word “app” meant something entirely different in the restaurant world.
“Let’s order some apps before our entrees,” one might say, or “Could you bring us some app plates, please?”
Now, millions of people turn to “apps,” or application software, on their smartphones to help inform their decisions about dining out.
According to the online industry magazine FastCasual.com, an April study of smartphone users found that 81 percent had searched for a restaurant on their smartphone in the past six months and 80 percent believe it is important to look at a restaurant menu before dining there.
In a far less scientific poll on my blog at roanoke.com, 60 percent of 40 responders said they have used restaurant apps on their phones.
Clearly, it would be prudent for restaurant owners to consider the effect of smartphone apps on their businesses.
One man, Bill Trifiro of Roanoke, is hoping he can capitalize on this trend and make a living selling customized smartphone apps to local restaurants. He is so excited about apps that he built one for his upcoming wedding.
“Every major chain has an app,” Trifiro said. “But there’s no reason smaller restaurants shouldn’t be able to afford to do this.”
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