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By Matt Brooks, Product Delivery Manager and senior mobile lead

Whether you’re launching a pay-at-table service, loyalty app or any other mobile service which requires a change in customer behaviour or operational processes, it’s essential that as much time and effort goes into the launch as did the development – to ensure your new tech investment is a success.

Zonal’s Matt Brooks shares his top suggestions for a successful app launch, based on some of the best we’ve seen over the past few years:

1. Ensure staff are 100% behind it

The most important people to get on board in any new app roll-out are your front-of-house team. But this also extends to senior management and the board (if you have one). Why have you invested in this technology in the first place – is it to increase revenue? To encourage repeat business? To reward loyal customers? Whatever your reasons, explain what the benefits will be to your customers, to your staff and to the rest of the business. Encourage them to give their feedback and ideas on how to make it a success and of course get them to try out the new app for themselves to see how easy it really is to use. Finally, make sure any concerns are acknowledged and addressed.

If you don’t focus on achieving this one, you may as well ignore the rest of this list… it really is that important!

2. Support tipping

Make sure any new mobile ordering technology supports staff tipping – especially when the new service is replacing a task that the front of house team may have undertaken as part of their role, such as order and pay at table. Any negative impact on tipping will inevitably have a knock-on effect to how much staff are willing to promote the new service. Make sure this is also communicated to staff, including how and when they will get their tips.

3. Full and comprehensive training

Organise a series of dedicated training sessions for staff before launch, where you can provide a safe, non-live environment to help them get comfortable with the solution and practice real-life scenarios before they happen. This can also provide a great opportunity to gather feedback from the team and win their buy-in.

4. Emphasise the benefits in all of your customer comms

When considering the communications channels and touchpoints you plan to use to launch the new app, remember to lead with the key customer benefits. Think: ‘what’s in it for them?’ Why should they download it? Can they pay the bill quicker? Can they get a round of drinks at the touch of a button? Can they avoid the queue at the bar? Is there a special offer or discount? If they understand the benefits, they’re more likely to adopt the new app.

5. Make a splash about it

Think about where and how you will promote your new app and make sure you promote your new service everywhere you can – the more visible reminders the better. Consider table point of sale materials such as menus and flyers, as well as till receipts and staff clothing to help spread the word. Use all areas in-venue to advertise the new service: reception, bar, lounge or smoking area and even the back of toilet doors (yes really!).

6. Launch with an offer or incentive to download/register

Whether it’s a free drink, dessert or starter, if you’re asking customers to hand over their details, register for a service, download an app or even use the ‘guest checkout’ facility, launch offers or incentives are a great way to generate engagement in your new service.

7. Constant feedback

Your app is an important part of the customer experience. It is vital to actively solicit and respond to stakeholder feedback throughout all stages of the roll-out. Listening and responding to feedback and suggestions, adapting the technology itself or your communications will help to ensure its success in the long term.

8. Share numbers and reward success

Be transparent with the results – share the key numbers and metrics with the team: downloads/usage, spend per head, number and increase in orders, contribution by channel, dwell time, customer satisfaction. Something as simple as a small reward or team prize could help galvanise staff to hit and exceed any targets you’ve set for the new service.

9. Encourage competition

If yours is a multi-site business, leader boards can be a great way to drive behaviour and new app adoption. Encourage competition between staff and sites by offering a prize for the most revenue/registrations/downloads/new members via the new service.

Zonal is trusted to power mobile ordering technology for thousands of customer sites around the country. To find out more about our EPoS-integrated mobile ordering solutions, visit our dedicated web page >

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