The Ultimate Guide to Restaurant App Design – The Process, Features & Results

With a background in hospitality, we have many contacts within the restaurant industry and have created several outstanding loyalty apps for restaurants. We are often asked how we start to build a loyalty app for a business. This guide will outline how we create a loyalty app for your business and how to promote a loyalty app. Plus different features such as Customer Order at Table and Track and Trace that will enhance the dining experience for your guests in the current COVID-19 climate.

How to create a loyalty app

We like to discuss our client’s needs when it comes to their customers. We need to understand what data they would like to collect and how they would like to use it to attract and retain their customers through customer loyalty and rewards. Our first client, Individual Restaurants, set out with the goal to drive sales and their customer visits. Over the years this has evolved into focusing on customer engagement and guest recognition. Individual Restaurants is a national restaurant company based in the UK with over 40 outlets. Their recognisable brands are Piccolino, Restaurant Bar & Grill and Gino D’Acampo My Restaurant.

Once we have understood the needs of the client, we can then advise on how to set up the loyalty service, the possibilities are endless, but there are a few loyalty program styles that we find work well:

Points Based Loyalty

This is where a point value is awarded for every £ spent. The points build up to be then used again within the restaurant/store as a monetary value. Famous loyalty schemes like the Boots Advantage Card and Club Individual use this simple and effective style.

Visit Based Loyalty

Guests can be rewarded based on the number of times they visit a venue, usually being offered a future discount or complimentary item after a certain number of repeat visits.

Stamp Based Loyalty

We would usually refer to this as a ‘coffee shop model’, where guests receive a virtual stamp for every purchase to get to a final reward, often a complimentary hot drink.

Credit/Debit Card Spend

We have partnered with Mastercard to offer a new innovation, Loyalty Connected. Loyalty Connected enables your customers to link their participation in your loyalty program to their preferred payment card. This aids in making your customer loyalty program safer, faster & more effective. Customers can easily enrol into Loyalty Connected either through your app, website or their mobile banking apps. Loyalty Connected ensures your customers will not miss out on their rewards and your business collects essential data and deeper customer insight.

Time Based Loyalty

Do you need to encourage spending on certain days of the week? Perhaps Tuesday lunchtime or January are particularly slow times for your business? Offer guests extra rewards or double points based on the days and times they spend as a way to encourage revisits and spending during otherwise quieter time periods.


Offering a simple membership program to your guests is an effective way to gain access to customer data and spending habits without directly offering monetary rewards. Often offering exclusive or early access to promotions and events is a great incentive for guests to become a member.

Loyalty app for Restaurants

Once we have settled on a loyalty style, we then begin work on the framework of the app. Generally for restaurants, we like to include an integration into the online booking platform and a loyalty card area with details of the guest’s membership and their own rewards or points available. We often build virtual menu areas for our hospitality clients, which have become increasingly important in current times to avoid contact with paper menus.

As with any marketing tool, your app needs to be an immersive experience for your brand. We have clients that have included music playlists of songs currently playing in their restaurants and even augmented reality to incorporate their strong brand identity.

Customer Order at Table and Track & Trace

Some of the more practical features for restaurant app design are Customer Order at Table and a Track & Trace facility. These have been a real focus for us in recent feature development due to the coronavirus outbreak. We have been keen to support the hospitality industry in getting back on its feet and opening the doors with a focus on increasing safety precautions for guests.

Our Customer Order at Table again has had huge significance as a standalone product due to recent times. Not only can this provide a contact free and seamless ordering solution for guests, but it can also improve operational standards by being integrated with your restaurant EPOS system. This means orders are sent straight to the kitchen and sales and stock are accounted for automatically. The solution can be standalone or also delivered as an in-app feature to encourage guests to experience the other areas your app has to offer, such as loyalty or e-commerce. Our Customer Order at Table solution ensures contactless interaction, is bespoke to your brand and we are able to integrate with your POS provider. This also allow contactless payment for your customers too.

The Track & Trace feature can again be delivered either in-app or as a standalone website. The feature aids the NHS Track & Trace by safely and securely collecting your customer’s contact details when they are visiting your outlets. Capture, securely store and manage contactless check-ins at your venue for rapid contact tracing. Your guests can easily check-in at your restaurant by scanning a QR code on entry, at the bar or once they have been seated at a table.

Virtual menus have also been a very effective feature in decreasing contact for your customers by offering virtual menus hosted in-app, as a website or through a QR code link. It’s important to think about the way your guests would like to view and shop your menu as this can be very different in app than on a physical menu. It’s also a great way to upsell products, by adding prompts to different items, such as luxurious toppings on burgers or fries.

Delivery & Collection app

Another fantastic addition for restaurant menu app design, is to offer your customers an easy online ordering service with either collection, delivery or both available. We can integrate with providers such as Deliveroo or UberEats, however we have our own solution that is bespoke to your brand. Incorporate your logos, design style and brand colours along with menu imagery to capture your brand. There is an advanced option for loyalty integration to encourage spending with you rather than expensive delivery partners. We offer our clients this service at a flat rate with no fees taken per transaction.

Membership tiers for loyalty apps

As well as offering membership and loyalty rewards for your guests, why not introduce different membership tiers for your restaurant loyalty app. Encourage your customers to increase their spend with you by offering different membership tiers. Introduce better benefits for more loyal customers to ensure they dine with you every time and increase your current market share. Individual Restaurants offer 5% back on your spend

Advantages of a restaurant loyalty app

Using data captured by our app or loyalty service, together with business intelligence (if you choose), we can easily monitor how successful our loyalty program is for your business. Whether it be, promotion uptake, visits, discounts or points earned we can see how your users are interacting with your business.

Providing loyalty, you will retain existing customers and attract new ones by rewarding them. It gives you an advantage against competitors and an insight into your customer’s trends. Using the data you have on each customer, you can also communicate with them more selectively in a way that interests them. With so many people moving away from spray and pray emails, having an app is an easy way to contact them without annoying them with emails on a daily basis. From all of our apps a push notification is so easy to send and can have instant results, as it’s quick and will almost certainly be seen on a mobile phone.

Since the introduction of Club Individual at Individual Restaurants, Club Individual now boasts over 1.7 million members and 60% of all revenue is swiped on a loyalty card as either an award or redemption. Up to 80% of all customer transactions are by a member.


Automatic location Notifications We can use geofencing technology to send automatic notifications to your customers if they are in range of one or more of your locations.

Targeted notifications

We can use customer data to send notifications that are applicable to them directly or part of a larger group. For example, sending out a notification of an event in their area, if we know their postcode or favourite outlet location.


Reward your customers in ways that help your business. If you need to attract customers earlier to an event (perhaps to a football match), send them a reward to entice them, for example 20% off all beer if you arrive early for a match!

Membership tiers

We can also offer membership tiers. This can encourage your customers to increase

their spend with you by offering different benefits over membership tier levels. Introduce better benefits for more loyal customers to make sure they purchase with you every time and increase your market share. A VIP tier can also create value by making your guests feel appreciated and rewarded for their loyalty. Happy and appreciative customers will associate your brand positively and be more engaged with your communication strategy.

How do I promote my restaurant loyalty app?

One of the best ways to encourage people to download your restaurant app is to provide useful content that you can only access via the app. Loyalty and rewards in itself will of course draw people in, but features such as collection, delivery, customer order at table and pay a table make it a necessity for your guests to engage with it on a practical level. Guests are then kept within the app and are exposed to the app-only rewards and features within it.

The practical part

With any restaurant loyalty app, there are some practical areas to consider. Who will content manage your product? How will you analyse all the important data you will capture? Are you getting the best app that is available to you on the market? We’ve covered these areas below, feel free to contact us at if you have any questions at all.

Managing your content for your restaurant loyalty app

Our content management system, is simple and easy to use. This is provided with our bespoke app and loyalty service to house your database and for configuration of your customer facing app (if needed). Here you can create your notifications and send to targeted groups, create new rewards for your members and update imagery and seasonal content, for example, new dishes and menus.


We have the ability to export all of your app/membership data (very safely!) to any business intelligence platform or CRM system. We work with a number of different BI and CRM businesses (detailed in our partners section) and can also offer our advice on choosing one that works for you and your budget.

Loyalty app development in the marketplace

There are a number of larger organisations offering loyalty, secondary to their platform. These can be add-ons and often cost a staggering monthly fee, with very little support. They require an in-house team to manage and implementation can often run into millions.

At TheLoyaltyCo. every quote is bespoke but we believe for the service we provide, we can offer the best value service available on the market for bespoke apps and loyalty platforms.

As a business we believe in scalability. Our initial install cost and monthly hosting fees are scalable depending on the size of your business, which mean they will

always be affordable and fair depending on your budget for your loyalty app.

Our USP for loyalty apps is that any updated development features across our apps that we feel are valuable to all clients will be available to you automatically. You can ask us to enable these features in your app and we will keep you informed of our updates in our bi-monthly client newsletters.

Our Partners

At TheLoyaltyCo. we partner with a number of different specialist companies. We trust them and we love how they work. This includes a number of different payment partners, EPOS, reservation systems, business intelligence and CRM platforms. We are always keen to integrate with any systems our clients need, so don’t be afraid to ask us. We like to create a seamless product, that makes things easier for your guests and your teams.

MASTERCARD links loyalty programmes to any payment card, once linked, this can be used by a customer to both pay and earn their loyalty points or offers securely in real time. TheLoyaltyCo will be the first world partner to integrate with Loyalty Connect and this will be offered to all prospective and future clients.

HSBC Innovation Partner Partnering with HSBC on new innovation. First pilot will be “Pay By Bank,” their new platform for taking payments directly from a bank account.

VERTEDA deliver IT solutions that enable businesses to streamline operations, enhance customer satisfaction, increase workforce productivity and maximise revenue and profitability. Their clients include the majority of UK concert venues and 70% of UK football clubs, we will be the new partner and provider of the loyalty platform offered within their packages.

QUADRANET is a successful, independent business focused on developing leading guest management solutions. TheLoyaltyCo. will be partnering with Quadranet through integration with their EPOS software, offering an extensive loyalty platform for businesses in the hospitality sector.

SPROUT SEND is a dedicated CRM marketing automation platform built specifically for the hospitality, leisure and events industry – built by operators for operators. The platform allows your brand to aggregate your data, manage and structure that data and then leverage that data by a number of communications tools including email, SMS and automations.

GLOBAL PAYMENTS deliver enterprise-wide applications, services and cloud solutions that enable businesses to simplify their operations and provide a customer friendly payment experience anytime, anywhere and in any form they choose.

RES DIARY offer a reservation and online order system. Designed to help hospitality venues recover, increase revenue, and avoid hefty commissions on covers.

TEVALIS offer a great EPOS system which is an intuitive, powerful platform, developed in house through consultation with clients and industry professionals. This ensures that the features and functionalities available on the EPOS, always meet the demands and evolving requirements of the hospitality, leisure and gaming industries.

Our clients

We are currently working with leading brands in hospitality and across the lifestyle sector. Individual Restaurants, Victors Restaurants, Paragon Pubs, The Victorian Chophouse Company, and Gino D’Acampo to name just a few.

We’re a passionate team with a background in tech and hospitality, we pride ourselves in understanding the marketing and operational needs of our clients in the restaurant industry and strive to deliver a restaurant loyalty app that will cater to all of their requirements.

If you’d like to get in touch and see what we can do for your business, contact us and let’s create something together!