Mobile Marketing for Restaurants: Chili’s and Buffalo Wild Wings Introduce Multi-Function Apps

As I’ve discussed recently, mobile apps are starting to make headway in the food service industry. They are by no means standard practice just yet – but adoption by major chains like Chili’s and Buffalo Wild Wings might just be what makes mobile apps for restaurants standard “gear” for the future.


  • What are these two chains doing with their mobile apps?


The Buffalo Wild Wings iPad App


Buffalo Wild Wings isn’t just offering an application. The chain is following the lead of some higher-end restaurants and putting iPads at its tables.


Guests don’t just get to order form the touchscreen device. They can also use the iPad for gaming, social media (such as Facebook), entertainment and even shopping!


Early tests indicate that the iPad facilitates more efficient ordering, cuts down on order times, and improves the interaction between guests and servers.


Right now, the iPads are only available at one of the Buffalo Wild Wings locations in Toronto. If the test does well there, it may soon spread to all 300 Buffalo Wild Wings locations.


Chili’s Mobile App for Smart Phones


Casual dining giant Chili’s also has its own mobile apps – in fact you can find a Chili’s mobile app for both the Android and the iPhone. These apps are free to download, and offer guests a wide range of actions.


The Chili’s mobile app allows customers to:


  • Order via phone app. Guests can order take-out, as well as schedule dine-in meals ahead of time.
  • View the Chili’s menu. Menus are fully updated and feature all relevant specials and feature items, including its Custom Combinations and the Chili’s $20 dinner for 2.
  • Functionality available for Blackberry, Windows Phone, and others. While the mobile apps are only available for Android and Apple i-products, users with other Web-capable mobile devices can use the same online ordering technology at


Mobile apps aren’t yet standard in the industry. But widespread usage by large chains might make them so. For now, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on how apps work out for these major food service name brands.

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