NRA Show Trends 2012: 15 Must-See Restaurant Apps

May 2012


Tomorrow the NRA Show (National Restaurant Association) kicks off in Chicago, unveiling a host of new and exciting restaurant tech trends. We recently predicted some of the NRA Show Trends, but also wanted to preview 15 of our favorite restaurant apps.

In addition to mainstream tech trends like digital signage for restaurants, one of the easiest and most relevant ways to engage your customers is via mobile. See below for 15 apps that are popular, useful, and likely to bring you more revenue.

NRA Show Trends - Stamped

SOCIAL DISCOVERY - NRA Show Trends

As millions of people turn to their phones every day for restaurant recommendations, it’s more important than ever that your business is not only visible, but recommended by others.

  • Stampedlets users put their stamp of approval on the things they love (like restaurants & bars). Make sure your venue is being Stamped, because it’s a customer’s 5-star rating for all their friends to see.
  • Foodspotting lets users search for specific dishes instead of restaurants. If you’ve got that special that everybody in town seems to love, make sure it’s visible here!
  • Bite Hunter is a location-based app that gathers all the dining deals in your area and presents them in real-time. A mobile way to promote all your discounts & special offers.
  • Foursquare, as you know, allows users to discover local businesses, check-in at their locations, synchronize with friends, save money, and find great deals. Every check-in means more visibility and loyalty for you.
  • Yelpis still a reliable source to find businesses, read reviews, locate events, and even chat with other Yelpers about your restaurant. How are your ratings and comments?
NRA Show Trends - POS apps 2

SIMPLIFYING POINT OF SALE - NRA Show Trends

Efficiency is everything, and several new POS apps for restaurants are making it faster, smoother, and easier to complete transactions with mobile devices.

  • Squareoffers an incredibly convenient system for accepting credit cards from any location. The app includes a free card reader and functions with any mobile device.
  • Intuit GoPayment is a great app for larger scale needs, allowing you to add up to 50 people on the same account and sync to QuickBooks is needed.
  • Cashiernot only lets you accept payments via mobile phone or iPod Touch, but you can also scan barcodes and manage inventory from a single mobile platform.
NRA Show Trends - Restaurant Music

ENGAGING CUSTOMERS - NRA Show Trends

Once they’re in the door, are your customers engaged with an on-site experience so they stay longer and buy more? Here are some easy ways to increase customer dwell time & sales.

  • Roqbot replaces the background music at restaurants & bars with licensed, social music that lets customers engage from their phones -- like a 21st century jukebox app. Fortunately, restaurants keep full control over what music can be played.
  • Spot On Trivia enables users to check in at select venues and compete against other guests in trivia challenges right from their smartphones.

NRA Show Trends - Mobile Reservations

MANAGING RESERVATIONS & LINES - NRA Show Trends

To increase traffic, simplify the reservation process by letting your customers reserve tables or spots in line right from their smartphones.

  • OpenTable, if you don’t already know, is a popular way for your customers to make reservations via mobile or web, and for you to manage easily on the business end.
  • QLesstransforms physical lines at restaurants into “virtual, mobile lines”, meaning users can reserve their spot, walk away & receive a text or call when their table’s ready. Less multitasking and more free time created for your staff.
  • UrVenueis a complete management system, which controls your reservations, handles your customer database, records spending info, and much more.
NRA Show Trends - Mobile Apps

YOUR OWN MOBILE SITE OR APP

Don’t just let your customers experience your restaurant through third-party apps. Enable them to navigate your own website or app and purchase on the spot. This will likely be among NRA show trends for years to come.

  • ChowNow creates custom-built apps (iPhone, Android, iPad and Facebook) for your restaurant, giving customers the convenience and freedom to engage anytime.
  • Snapit Mobile helps restaurants with the easy first step in mobile – optimizing your website so it’s presentable and functional on the smartphone interface.

We hope you get a chance to see a wide range of NRA Show trends and new restaurant technologies in the coming week. There are always more great restaurant apps, so let us know what you would add to the list!

Topics: bars, events, restaurants

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