young woman looking down at phone with QSR app mockup
Mobile Games , Monetization

3 Ways QSR Apps Can Drive Continuous User Engagement 

The quick-service restaurant (QSR) app landscape is booming; it’s becoming more saturated and competitive by the week. 

data.ai reveals that between 2020 and 2023, QSR app downloads grew by half – from 108 million to 169 million. Customers are now more eager than before to download their favorite chains’ apps for a more personalized experience and better prices

That said, the initial surge in downloads doesn’t promise prolonged engagement. Many within the QSR vertical struggle to convert downloads into a steadily high customer lifetime value (CLTV).

Competition to repeatedly score orders is on. Since the boom, QSR apps have had to develop strategies to maintain the engagement momentum from their launch and drive long-term value. They’ve been so effective that now they’re trends.

What Do QSRs Have to Gain from Mobile Adoption?

Considering people spend three to four hours on their phones daily, it’s natural for QSR brands to build apps to maintain constant visibility and engagement with their customers.

QSRs are looking at mobile apps to boost two key things:

  • customer retention
  • operational efficiency

The most successful QSR apps prioritize customer engagement and mechanisms to encourage repeat business through promotions and rewards. Being able to order on mobile also offers the convenience of instant accessibility and customization that not only enhances the customer experience but also streamlines business operations.

phone screen showing QSR app UI with text mentioning benefits of having an app around the screen

Apps also enhance customer interaction – they facilitate brands to gain insights into consumer preferences and in-app behavior. Apps serve as a goldmine of data that enables targeted marketing efforts and personalized offers, significantly elevating engagement, sales, and customer experience. 

At the same time, the mobile adoption of a service simply addresses the modern consumer’s demand for an efficient digital experience – QSRs are expected to have an app. That said, to stand out in the sea of similar apps, QSRs must innovate and offer experiences that meet and go beyond customers’ needs. 

The following initiatives address the main challenge of low CLTV by targeting users’ needs and facilitating repeated QSR engagement. 

1. Use Repeat Promotions

Repeat promotions are important for repeat engagement with QSR apps. This is clear when you look at frequent sharp declines in engagement levels shortly after users download an app. 

Successful QSR publishers address this challenge by continuously providing users with a reason to return to the app. 

two line charts showing the difference in qsr engagement with repeat promotions vs one-time offer

It’s not enough to just launch a big promo. Publishers need to keep customers engaged in the app during the off-promo times. QSR apps can only effectively combat the natural decline in app usage by regularly introducing new deals, rewards, and personalized offers.

This ensures that customers remain loyal to the brand over time.

2. Team Up with Other Brands

Fast-food apps that stand out from their competitors are leveraging partnerships with other brands to introduce rewards that are more exciting and relevant to their customers.

Brands are tailoring their retention strategy to offer customers unique value propositions that go beyond the standard offered by every other QSR app. 

diagram showing how apps should approach other brands for higher consumer engagement

Consider the partnership between McDonald’s and pop stars BTS, which produced four weeks of exclusive in-app content for the QSR app. Shake Shack’s collaboration with the popular YouTube show Hot Ones brought a special spicy menu exclusive to the Shake App days before its official launch and set the restaurant’s mobile adoption up for success.

By aligning with brands from different sectors, QSRs offer users more diverse rewards, from exclusive merchandise and experiences to digital content and services. This appeals to the full range of customer interests and lifestyles. 

These brand partnerships not only deepen QSR engagement but also attract new customers by offering them something unique and enticing. 

3. Leverage Games

It’s partnerships – but with gaming brands.

The sheer amount of successful collaborations between fast-food chains and gaming companies means we should recognize it as its own trend. 

The success of these partnerships is not surprising, considering that QSR and gaming industries share a lot of their audience. Think about McDonald’s Monopoly campaign – a testament to a strong combination of gaming and fast food. 

Now, McDonald’s has fully digitized the experience to drive mobile app adoption and increase brand loyalty with a unique offer. 

banner to loyalty solutions product page

You’ll recognize this trend all across the industry – it’s showing no signs of slowing down. Chipotle has become the official launch partner of Street Fighter 6 and KFC has joined forces with Diablo IV

Deliver Continuous Value to Your Users

The prevailing strategy in the market is clear: to maximize user value.

QSRs apps are keen on delivering value to users based on what they seek – everybody wins. Whether this is through strategic promotions, unique partnerships, or engaging gaming experiences. QSR teams must identify custom loyalty solutions that drive growth and retention, placing their brand at the forefront of the QSR app boom.

Bring long-term loyalty to your QSR app

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