The world has transformed over the last two years.. Covid has indelibly changed the way we shop, travel, interact and work with one another; even dining hasn't been spared. In this new world, brands must adapt to the behavioral shifts brought on by the pandemic or be left at the mercy of more innovative adversaries. 

In 2021, people spent 4.8 hours per day in mobile apps on average (up 30% from 2019) according to App Annie. The food and beverage industry was also impacted by this step-change increase, disrupted much the same way taxis were upended by Uber a decade ago. For example, while in-person dining has declined for quick-service restaurants (QSRs) in past (and pre-pandemic) years, to-go, delivery and off-premises surged as restaurants adjusted their strategies to flourish as diners went digital.

Yet app awareness and adoption for QSRs is shockingly low given the ubiquity of the DoorDashes and GrubHubs of the world. Fundera found that 31% of American consumers are using third-party delivery services at least twice per week.

Per research by InMobil, 43% of consumers reported they have never ordered through a QSR's mobile app, even when these restaurants command some of the greatest brand affinity of all consumer-facing companies. (I, for one, will never forget my post soccer game Saturday Dairy Queen runs as a kid with my dad.)

This is a missed opportunity as data shows app owners are clearly more valuable to QSRs. The one-to-one connections established by having their brands present on people's phones - the remote controls of our lives - boasts a myriad of benefits. Here's why:


  • Growth opportunities - Mobile has passed drive-thru as the channel where customers are likely to spend the most, per Bluedot. Mobile app users also yield the highest lifetime value and larger AOVs.
  • Margins! - Third-party delivery apps severely eat away at QSR profits, charging commission rates as high as 20 to 30 percent. 
  • Omnichannel benefits - Surprisingly, QSR app owners even visit physical locations more frequently, as much as 39%, compared to non-app owners, per InMobil. Further, app usage enables QSRs to cut down on labor costs in-store and logistics bottlenecks, allowing employees to focus on in-store customer service, rather than taking orders by phone!
  • Brand loyalty - Mobile app owners are more loyal, which is key in an era where getting things delivered has never been easier. It's also worth noting here that many QSRs have their own in-house loyalty program. Incorporating this into your app can have outsized benefits in terms of retention and order volume. 
  • Customer Satisfaction - At the end of the day, the customer is still king. And 60% of this royalty prefer using apps to calling in their order, according to Bluedot. 


It's clear that mobile apps are a worthy investment. Their growth and prevalence will continue well after the pandemic subsides. That said, the journey doesn't end once the app is created. That's just the appetizer. QSRs must promote their apps, across the customer acquisition funnel, effectively driving the most qualified traffic. This will not only provide all of the aforementioned revenue and customer benefits, but will also help inform the menu strategy, marketing and help with identifying key trends. With time spent on mobile devices skyrocketing, even QSRs must become tech companies. Quality apps will empower QSRs to  directly connect with their patrons, better serving them across all aspects of their business. Those that invest in driving traffic to app will be best positioned to succeed in 2022 and beyond.

Button has been at the forefront of mobile commerce since our inception. Leading QSR brands are leveraging our PostTap product suite to drive higher mobile app adoption and engagement across all paid marketing channels. The impact of PostTap App is clear across our partners - increased app acquisition, higher customer lifetime values, and more loyal customers.

Reach out to learn more about how Button can help you drive up mobile adoption today!