Five Star Ratings: Improving Your Restaurant App

Restaurant apps have the potential to make the restaurant experience better. Uncover strategies to improve app ratings in this post.

Your restaurant app has the potential to make everything from ordering to the overall restaurant experience easier and better. However, you always have to keep your users at the forefront. Keep their priorities in mind and stay in step with technology as it changes to ensure that you live up to expectations. After all, you never want to find yourself on a “worst apps” list.

Come with us as we uncover strategies that can improve your app ratings and up your game before and after your customers raise issues.

Customer research

Customer research is vital in the restaurant industry. You need to know who your restaurant and its app are targeting and what they like. This requires doing a little homework so you can meet their needs and preferences.

As a restaurant, you want to know about your target audience, competition, and revenue opportunities. However, figuring out the right app approach means shining a light on two areas: primary and secondary research.

Primary and secondary research

What better way to determine your next move than to look at the insights your customers bring? Primary and secondary research pass the mic to your users to inform the best approaches to take with your app and improve app ratings.

Primary research comes in several forms, and you can use any or all methods depending on your needs:

  • Competitive assessments: Uncover how your competitors perform and identify gaps your restaurant app can fill in the market.
  • Focus groups: Invite members of your target audience to test the app so you can gather direct feedback on what they like and dislike and discover what works and what doesn’t.
  • Online surveys: Ask for direct feedback from the app’s target audience. Tap into tools such as SurveyMonkey to conduct surveys about purchasing practices and app use.

You can also engage in secondary research. Although there are a few methods to choose from, your best bet to inform your app approach is probably the case study: 

  • Case studies: Similar to competitive assessments, get in-depth insights into how similar apps have solved the specific needs and challenges of diners and app users.


Look, feel, and functionality all matter for your app. If you don’t pay attention to these factors, they could hurt your app ratings. Your restaurant app needs to be usable for the long haul, and a few measures can ensure that.

Be user-friendly

As a tool to drive business, your restaurant app should take one thing into account: your users. As your biggest fans, they expect a certain experience.

Your app should elevate your brand and extend the restaurant experience. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the branding in line with your restaurant’s look and feel?
  • Are menus easy to navigate? Can you update them in real time? Better yet, do they automatically update with your POS?
  • Is the app bug-free?
  • Is ordering as easy as possible?
Make payments easy

Rather than fumbling with cash, many customers turn to apps because they make payments simple. Fifty-two percent of users want restaurants to make ordering and payments easier, with options ranging from credit and debit cards to Apple Pay. When you think about your restaurant app’s payment portal, ask yourself if you’re providing the best experience possible:

  • Do customers have a variety of safe and secure payment options?
  • Is checkout fast and simple? Does auto-complete functionality work to streamline the checkout process?
Accept and act on feedback

If your app is falling short for users, take advantage of opportunities to improve it by allowing users to report issues inside the app. And when you hear from them, respond to their concerns in a friendly and timely manner to foster goodwill and reduce negative reviews.

Ask users for reviews

Don’t be afraid to be a little vulnerable and ask users for their feedback. However, make sure you ask for reviews at the right time:

  • Don’t interrupt their app activities. Customers who are interrupted are 50 percent more likely to close the app.
  • Wait until customers have ordered and had a positive experience.

The experience you create has the power to improve app ratings. Take the steps to enhance your app’s UI/UX, and users will start talking.


Accessibility in development has been a hot topic in recent years for a reason. Sixty-one million people in the U.S. have some form of disability. That’s why your restaurant’s online presence needs to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

Steps to Accessibility - POUR

For an app to be fully accessible per WCAG, it needs to be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust (POUR). In this vein, take a few steps to improve app ratings and accessibility:

  • Add underlines to each link for colorblind people who may not see blue hyperlinks.
  • Keep layouts consistent and certain elements in the same places for better navigability.
  • Optimize color contrast and allow for 200 percent zoom for visually impaired users.
  • Use specific and descriptive labels for screen readers.
  • Highlight selected content with focus states for users that have mobility impairment and need to use keyboard navigation instead of a mouse.

These are just a few examples of how to make your restaurant app accessible. Follow industry-wide accessibility guidelines to improve your app.

Incremental improvements

Want to improve app ratings? Always aim for more. When you make incremental improvements to your restaurant app, users will take notice.

Keep in step with iOS, Android, and browser updates

Your app lives in these environments, and any changes to operating systems or browsers can impact how your app looks and functions. Don’t be surprised by a change that impacts how your app loads, renders, and behaves.

Add new features and functionalities

Maybe there are possibilities for your app that you didn’t initially consider. Or, just as likely, you had to forgo some features during your initial release due to time or budget constraints. Whatever the case, once your app has enough momentum behind it, improve its utility and experience by adding new elements.

Tell users about issues you’ve fixed

As you make changes to not only expand your app’s functionality but also make a better product, shout it from the rooftops. OK, don’t shout, but keep your users in the loop. With each app update, add release notes so users know exactly what you’ve done. With this small action, some users may even update their previous reviews, helping you improve app ratings.

App incentives to foster satisfaction

Customers are happier when you give them what they want. Although you should never use incentives to solicit positive reviews (Apple and Google don’t approve), you can make it more likely that your customers will act on their own because of the little extras you deliver.

In-app promotions

Admit it: You’ve signed up for something just for a freebie or bought something just because it was on sale. We all do it. So it’s no wonder your customers go gaga for free or discounted items in your app. Try adding a buy-one, get-one (BOGO) deal or a free item with minimum purchase.

Delivery alternatives

Just because customers use your app doesn’t mean every one of them wants the same delivery experience. In fact, some people may use it just to avoid calling your restaurant. (Technology has made us so shy.) So when you provide various options, more customers are happy. Add a few choices to your app for how customers can get their orders, such as:

  • Curbside pickup
  • Delivery
These alternatives provide options for your customers based on their ETA and order cost. They can choose what works for them.

Do the work to improve app ratings

Your food isn’t the only thing that impresses customers. You need to deliver a five-star app experience too. This means approaching both development and app updates from the perspective of the customer. Do your research, enhance your user experience, and make improvements as both technology and user needs change. In doing so, you will improve app ratings almost effortlessly.

Want more insights? Download The Complete Guide to Building a Restaurant App: From Deliver to Delight for in-depth tips on how to build a winning restaurant app.

If you’re ready to get started, speak with the Octocart team today.

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