Why You Need a Branded App for Your Restaurants

Your most important asset is your brand. Learn how branded apps elevate your restaurant’s experience.

Your most important asset is your brand. It’s your name, look, and reputation all in one. Customers order from you because of the experience you provide, whether they love the food, the service, or fall somewhere in between. But if you use one of the big-box platforms, it might not always feel like your brand’s experience.

Hold the phone. Your brand can get lost in translation? Yep, and it’s probably not a complete surprise. But to clarify, let’s look at how branded apps do or don’t support your restaurant and what you can do to control the experience.

Varying degrees of branding for restaurant apps

There’s a list of pros and cons for using third-party food delivery services. But branding is one aspect you can’t ignore. With big-name third-party apps, your restaurant has to share space with local competitors, making it hard to stand out. And with limited options for branding your restaurant listing, it’s almost impossible to create a full-on brand experience.

Different branded apps offer unique options. But a restaurant app needs to elevate the brand experience and act as a revenue generator. Customers can easily order from your menu and get a taste—pun intended—of your onsite restaurant experience.

Brand app success stories

Not every restaurant has the budget (or even the need) for custom web or mobile app development. But there are ways to provide enhanced experiences without app development. Several brands have done more with less, including:

  • Modern Market: This restaurant uses an ordering platform that turns what looks like its website into an extension of its brand. With this branded app, Modern Market’s sales increased 48 percent.
  • Wing Stop: The chicken chain expanded its brand experience with an emphasis on scalability for both its website and mobile app. As a result, online orders jumped 75 percent.

Why a branded app tramples a shared experience

A branded app gives you one thing no third party ever will: full ownership. You get to play puppeteer to your app’s marionette, using and customizing it in ways that work for you.

Appearance and functionality

A branded app allows you to incorporate your restaurant’s logos, colors, layout, and functions based on needs and goals.


As your app changes, you can expand the functionality. With a partner team to maintain your app, enabling or changing functions and features is in your hands.


Third-party fees? Psh. With a branded app, you only share your restaurant’s profits with your company rather than sharing margins with third-party service providers.

Marketing opportunities

Third-party delivery might provide your restaurant visibility, but the marketing assist stops there. If you want to be featured more prominently, you will have to pay for it. But with your own branded app, you’re free to run as many ads and promotions you want—driven only by your goals.

Data management

What if you knew your customers’ habits and trends? Third-party apps obscure data, so you can’t learn from it or build valuable relationships. But with a unique branded app, you own your customer data and can use those insights to inform decisions.


Frequent automated texts and push notifications from an ordering app can be a bit much. If this approach works for your customers, take the reins and continue with that strategy. But if not, a brand app lets you choose how to reach your customers and tailor the experience along the way.

Market credibility

“Will they charge me hidden fees? What about the delivery rate?” Customers have plenty of concerns when using third-party providers. They trust branded solutions more. For example, 70 percent of consumers would rather order directly from a restaurant than a third-party app.

Why shared apps are about sacrifice

On the other hand, throwing money at Uber Eats, GrubHub, or the latest third-party solution quickly becomes limiting. Shared ownership comes with a few upfront perks, similar to having a roommate. The shared rent sounds great until you realize the control you’re giving up.

Low initial investment

It’s a no-brainer that third-party solutions are less expensive to get off the ground, given the limited control you get. With a third-party app, you only pay commission fees. But just like the rent you pay for an apartment, it adds up. Still, for restaurant startups, it’s a safer and more affordable solution to get up and running, and you can always transition to a branded solution later.

Support and maintenance

Don’t have to deal with maintenance? Woo hoo! But wait. That means the third-party service provider has to fix problems, and how far down is your restaurant in the service queue? Aim to find a solution that lifts the burden of maintenance off your shoulders and resolves your issues promptly.

It could be ideal to use a solution like Octocart, which takes care of maintenance but also provides a more custom service than a third-party app.

Quicker development

Fewer features come with the slightly positive tradeoff of faster time to market. Because third-party apps provide minimal options, it’s possible to deploy them faster than a custom solution.

Limited scalability

As you grow, your branded app should grow too. Unfortunately, vendor updates only go so far. This lack of scalability for third-party apps can put a dent in your plans.

Little to no customization and branding

When you can’t control brand elements, your brand just doesn’t look like itself. And when you can’t even add features and integrations, a third-party solution starts feeling boxed in.

Customer data on lockdown

Foregoing customer data is like giving away the keys to the kingdom—your kingdom. Like we said before, you should be able to use it to improve your services, offerings, and customer experience.

Octocart is your branded app solution

Your customer’s experience should be as unique as your business. Like it or not, the digital experience is a huge part of that. Octocart can be your fully customizable digital ordering solution.

Octocart benefits:
Direct relationships Use your brand name and customer data to foster brand loyalty.
Ordering options Provide pickup, curbside, delivery, or catering options.
Flexible payments Allow customers to choose from secure payments such as credit, debit, gift cards, and coupons.
Mobile-ready services Provide a high-quality, consistent experience across devices.
Branded storefront Showcase your brand with customization features.

Partner with Octocart to produce a high-quality digital representation of your brand.

Build a branded restaurant app

Branded or third party? To decide between restaurant app options, consider your priorities. If brand elevation is high on the list, no third-party solution will ever deliver options that put your restaurant on a pedestal.

Instead, turn to Octocart by Detroit Labs for your custom restaurant app solution. We put you in the driver’s seat to pursue your goals. 

If you're ready to get started, speak with the Octocart Team today.

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