Quick service restaurant apps rose suddenly into the mainstream just a couple of years ago, and one of the earliest players, McDonald's, still has the top app in the space. Data dredged up by market researcher Daniel Sevitt compared McDonald's app to that of Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, and Domino's Pizza, three other top players in the space, and found McDonald's to be superior in install numbers and engagement, with Starbucks stealing the retention crown and not quite having a total victory to show for it.
Sevitt put together some charts that measure the four big apps on three big metrics over time; total active installs, daily active users, and day-to-day usage patterns. His findings put McDonald's in the top because its app hooks users with a fair bit of consistency throughout the day, with more stamina than any other app by scale, it's kept up with Starbucks in current installs for some time and recently surpassed the competing app, and plays a close second to Starbucks in daily active users. Within the losers' bracket, Dunkin' Donuts app has far fewer current installs, but beats Domino's in daily active users and mostly ties in engagement, though usage numbers fluctuate at different times than with Domino's. All in all, this means that the two apps at the bottom are mostly equal. The fierce competition between the apps for Starbucks and McDonald's, meanwhile, could turn at any time. It's worth noting, of course, that these apps are not necessarily cannibalizing one another, which means that all of this data does not necessarily indicate a clear advantage for one player or another, but rather shows the impact a good app can have on a brand.
Quick service restaurant apps are all but a given for regulars at restaurant chains with good apps, and likewise, they're a given for top national restaurant brands that would benefit from offering these features to users. The data indicates massive app engagement, which translates to happier customers and quite possibly more business. These apps have a number of functions like cluing you into deals you may otherwise miss, ordering on the go for a quick payment and pickup, requesting food delivery, and simply checking the menu, but they all have one thing in common; the app's functionality, at its core, is geared toward getting you to spend money with the restaurant of choice.