Fast food apps are growing at a prolific rate
The top 10 fast food apps in the US were downloaded 10 million times in September, down 3% from those the preceding month. Year-over-year in September, downloads of the top 36 fast food apps increased by 10%. A download represents a new user and the first conversion in the mobile app customer journey.
The two biggest movers in the rankings in September were Taco Bell, which climbed three places to No. 3, and Sonic, which fell five places to No. 10. This is the fifth month in a row that Sonic has been in the top of the leaderboard, something we haven’t seen before. Taco Bell didn’t do much here to improve their numbers, it looked more like a Mexican pizza cue due to the announcement that the menu item is back for good now.
This top chart shows which fast service is growing the number of monthly active app users the fastest so far, comparing last year’s numbers at this point in time to this year’s numbers. KFC launched its US app in early 2021, giving it a big caveat/asterisk here as the fastest growing. CAVA accelerated its growth in 2022 by opening many new locations, which were acquired in 2018 through its acquisition of Zoës Kitchen. Digital orders now account for almost half of its transactions. We also see Sonic here, showing it’s capitalizing on its user acquisition efforts that we’ve seen in its top newsworthy download numbers.
The biggest month-over-month gainer in September was Zaxby’s at 204%. The next closest was QDOBA at 42%. Zaxby’s announced that it would give away gravy-flavored popsicles, also known as sausages, for free. This promotion had nothing to do with the mobile app, but the promotion was unique and eye-catching. In all promotional news, Zaxby’s has announced that at a later date in September it will be offering a discounted boneless wing meal deal when ordered through the app.
Will this unique value for customers lead to returning users for the Zaxby app? Apptopia’s data says that’s unlikely. By reviewing download data and daily active user data, the app information provider found one-time free food offers drive higher downloads, but not high user retention. People know they can move app to app to get deals. Your repeat mobile app users are your best customers, and you can create more over time. Things like exclusivity, early access, and ongoing rewards tend to drive long-term usage more often.
We have divided fast food into some of its segments and determined that fast food applications are growing the fastest and with a substantial margin. This is likely due to a combination of more “food to download” promotions than industry peers and current economic conditions, where consumers expect lower prices with fast food providers compared to others. meal options.
Adam Blacker is the Vice President of Insights at Apptopia, the leader in real-time competitive intelligence. Brands use the platform to generate insights into mobile apps and connected devices. They rely on Apptopia to better understand consumer behavior and intent on app-based devices to gain competitive advantage.