Your app needs updating - Could the future be mobile websites?

by Alistair Coats

A recent article on QSR magazine’s website weighed up apps against mobile websites and found in favour of apps.

At Spoonfed we have put a lot of thought into the pros and cons of each option and found that, while some businesses will benefit from the creation of a native app, the majority of caterers supplying drop off food will find a mobile site to be the better option. Here are our thoughts...

Mobile phone

Corporate catering requirements

The choice between mobile site (a website optimized and scaled for mobile devices) and a native app comes down to the requirements of your business, and many of the benefits of apps simply don’t apply to most corporate caterers.

Yes, apps have push notifications and geolocation, but do your customers need last-minute messages sharing personalized rewards with them, or ‘hyper-local’ offers based on their location, or in-app loyalty programs providing one-click purchases? Probably not.

In corporate catering, there aren’t going to be the kind of impulse buys that an app is perfectly suited to. Mobile sites are likely to provide everything necessary for a good buyer journey.


A native app does provide the quickest route to buying, but with constant improvements being made in responsive web design, there’s not much in it.

Yes, if you are comparing a 10-year-old, WAP-enabled phone’s web ordering journey with the equivalent app experience, there’s no competition. But a modern, well-designed mobile website will be essentially the same as an app - no squinting to read tiny fonts required, or scrolling awkwardly to the next field you need to complete.

And the audience reach of a mobile website is greater than that of an app. Mobile sites are accessible across every device, without the need for expensive design specific to niche platforms. Customers can share a link to a mobile site quickly and easily. It’s much more convenient than telling a colleague that they can order food if they download an app - a process which normally seems to require the frantic deletion of other apps, and uploading of cat pics to the cloud in search of the required storage space.

Losing customers

One of the biggest dangers in offering a mobile site is losing customers in situations that an app would secure a sale. Shopping cart abandonment rates are far higher for mobile websites than any other platform - people give up when the experience is too much hassle and they have to struggle with awkward fields that would be automatically completed in an app. But login options can give customers access to the same account information that an app would provide, saving time and making ordering easy.

Websites optimized for mobile also rank higher in search engine results pages than non-responsive sites, and mobile sites are compatible with SEO, making it possible to track customer behavior easily and respond.

App or mobile site?

The choice between developing an app or a responsive mobile-optimized site comes down to the needs of the caterer. Apps can certainly be faster to access and order through, and can use the advanced capabilities of smartphones, but most corporate caterers are likely to find a well-designed mobile site to be more cost-effective, more shareable by customers, and as simple to order through as an app.

At Spoonfed we have put our efforts into developing the most convenient customer journey, and are committed to the mobile site route. Our customers can be up and running with an online ordering site in a matter of hours, depending on the size of their menus. We recently added Google Analytics integration and are working on eCommerce tracking, which will be added soon. If you like to know more about online ordering with Spoonfed, email us at:

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