Creating a Mobile App For Your Restaurant

*For Open Dining Online Ordering Subscribers Only

Creating a mobile application has never been easier. We provide all the necessary requirements and tools needed for you to get an app off the ground. Follow the steps below, and you'll have a mobile app for your restaurant in no time!

About Open Dining Mobile Apps

Open Dining mobile applications are made available on both the iOS App and Google Play stores. This allows you to reach the widest audience possible on all major mobile devices, including Smart Phones as well as Tablets.

These mobile applications work with your restaurant configurations within the Open Dining system. The only necessary steps to build a mobile app are to provide imagery, a chosen design from one of our templates, a few brief text entries & descriptions, and subscribing for the app.

Open Dining mobile apps work well regardless of the number of locations you have in our system. They provide you with a few key benefits:

  • Push Notifications
    • Send messages and promotional details to your customers on the fly. A push notification is a message that appears on a user's device regardless of whether or not the app is open. A common usage of push notifications in general are when you'd receive a new email or text message. An alert appears at the top draw of your device's screen.
    • "For a limited time only, get 10% off your order of $20 or more today with Pizzatown!"
    • "New menu! Come check it out!"
  • Wider Audience & Convenience
    • Not all customers want to have to open up their web browser and locate your menu every time they'd like to place an order. Online Ordering is just a tap away.
    • Apps can be downloaded by anybody, anywhere, at any time. You can also captivate your audience with mobile app-only benefits.
  • Increased Revenue & Lifetime Value
    • Your brand on your customers' devices serves as a constant reminder of your availability.
    • Encourage repeat business through your mobile application coupled with other Open Dining features - like Email Rules or special loyalty discounts.

Want to see some examples of our apps, or even try it in action? Read on!

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Open Dining Mobile App Examples

There are many great Open Dining mobile applications in use by restaurants everywhere. If you'd like to get a look and feel for what your customers can expect, here's just a few!

Note:

You may download, view, and start an order for any of the below, however, please do not submit any live orders through the restaurants' apps. You may test live orders through Checkout with Open Bistro. It's our demo location. You can also see a web menu demo of Open Bistro here!

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Getting Started

The steps outlined below will get your Open Dining Mobile Application off the ground. We recommend following through these steps from a computer. Once the steps below are completed, you'll be able to fine tune the details and overall appearance of your restaurant's mobile app.

Subscription Required

Please note, in order to create a Mobile App with Open Dining, you will need to have an active subscription to one of our plans. Mobile Apps utilize the Open Dining core Online Ordering system. Mobile Apps are an add-on to our normal subscriptions. You can learn more about our pricing and plans here. If you do not have a plan, you will be prompted to subscribe while creating the mobile app.

  1. Log into Open Dining, and access the backend of your restaurant. If you have multiple locations, you may access the backend of any. For multiple locations, there are a few small extra steps detailed below.
  2. From the top navigation, select Publish → Mobile App
  3. You'll be taken to the Create New App page.

    • If you only have one location: you may proceed with the below.
    • If you have multiple locations: You will need to let us know the name of each location as it appears in the system at help@opendining.net, and we will add each location to the list of "Restaurants" that fall under the app. You may still proceed with the below in the meantime.
  4. Choosing the name for your mobile app: Typically, leaving it as the name of your restaurant is fine. However, you can name it whatever you'd like.
  5. Choosing a theme: A theme sets the colors and tone for your mobile app. Don't worry, you'll be previewing this later and have the option to change it. You can even use custom colors.
  6. Choosing a category layout: The Category Layout is one of the most important aspects of your app. You have three options. Here are our suggestions:
    • If you don't plan to have food images: Use the "Simple Text" (first option) layout. It will have a more simplistic and plain presentation of your menu, but take advantage of readability and the fastest possible experience for your customers.
    • If you have food images: Use one of the "Images in Line" (second option) or "Images in Grid" (third option) category layouts. They will beautifully display any Category Images you may have available with a nice overlay, and the Category's name/description overtop. "Images in Line" is our most popular category layout.
  7. Select a Menu Items header. The Menu Items header is what appears after a category is selected. In other words, it is the top-most content of the list of menu items for categories.

  8. Select a Menu Items layout. You have the option to either choose a layout that includes images of the food items, or one that does not.
  9. Create the App! Just click the button at the bottom of the page, and you'll be taken to the following page:
  10. This page will detail what steps are still necessary to complete the application, as well as list the restaurants* apart of the mobile app.
    *don't worry if not all locations are listed. Just let us know at help@opendining.net the additional locations' names as they appear in the system, and we'll get them added for you.
  11. Click Edit App to proceed, and follow the next section below.
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Editing The App Part 1: General App Configurations

Under the app's General Configuration, you'll confirm a few details, add some keywords, and upload some images used in the app stores for the app icons and feature graphics.


  1. Title. The title of the app was created in a previous step. You can always come back here to change it, if you'd like.
  2. Description Texts. For the most part, you can keep any Description text as is. Its default is the same as your Restaurant Description from the location the app was started with. If you'd like to change it, however, you may do so.
  3. Keywords. Keywords help your app get found in the Apple and Google Play stores. Here are some recommendations:
    • Use your restaurant and/or company's name. Concatenate and break apart your business' name, and break it apart with separate words. For example, if your restaurant's name is "Joey's Italian Pizza Shop", you would want to use: "joey's", "joeys", "italian", "pizza", "shop", "joeysitalianpizzashop", "joey's italian", "joey's pizza", etc.
    • Cuisine & Food type and Location.Using our example above, if Joey's Italian Pizza Shop is in Chicago, you would want to use the following: "italian", "american", "subs", "pizza", "chicago", etc.
    • Unique Menu Items. If you take a special spin on every day food items, like a giant sub called the "Superhero Sub", you'd want to include these highlights as well.
    • Branding or Tag Lines. Say you have a motto, like "Joey's Pizza Knows Best!", you would want to add rememberable details that customers might recall.
  4. Website. This information is taken from your Restaurant's configurations as well. You can update this here at any time.
  5. Logo. The logo is an important piece. It's what will appear in the Apple and Google Play Stores, as well as on users' devices after being installed. There are a few recommendations and requirements:
    • Image Size. The image must be 1024px wide by 1024px high.
    • Image Filetype. The image must be in PNG form. This is a type of graphic file that is necessary for Apple and Google Play stores. Unfortunately, .jpg and .jpeg are unsupported for the logo.
    • Image Detail. We recommend using a high quality graphic that is not blurred or otherwise illegible. We also recommend using transparency on the background of the logo where there is otherwise whitespace. These are not requirements, but will increase the user experience of the mobile application and offer the best possible appearance to your customers.
  6. Android Feature Graphic. The feature graphic is required by Android's Google Play store. It provides an overlay appearance on the app's download page of mobile devices. This file must be 1024px wide by 500px high, and like the logo, also in PNG form.
  7. Saving App Settings. You're not required to "Save App Settings" until after the next section, but we strongly advise it so you don't lose any configurations. You'll be taken back to the App's landing page. Just click "Edit App" to be brought back into the configurations, and click the "Design" link to proceed to the final steps.
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Editing The App Part 2: App Design Overview

Within your Mobile App's Design page, you'll be able to fine-tune the overall appearance and feel of your mobile app. The details below will explain what each of the options are and what they do.

  • If you are on your Mobile App's overview page, click Edit App.
  • Click the tab that says, "Design". You'll be presented with something like the below:
  • App Theme. The app's theme is the variation of colors used within the application. Details are covered in the next section below.
  • Welcome Page. The Welcome Page is the first thing customers will see when they open up your mobile app. Details are covered in a section below.
  • Categories Layout. This option was previously detailed during the very first steps to create your app. You can change the Category Layout to one of three options:
    • Simple Text. No Category Images are used, categories are displayed as a list.
    • Images In Line. Category Images are used to expand the full width of the device, and are displayed in an ordered listing.
    • Images in Grid. Category Images are shown in halves next to the category's name, alternating from left to right in an ordered listing.
  • Menu Items Layout. When a Menu Item is chosen, how the item will appear to the customer.
    • Simple Text. No pictures are used for Menu Items.
    • Item with Image. If the Menu Item has a picture uploaded for it, display the menu item with the picture.
  • MenuItem Header. This option was also previously detailed during the first steps to create your app. You can change between one of the following three options:
    • Simple Text. No images are used, Category's name appears as text from within a category.
    • Item with Image. The first Menu Item within a category has it's image at the top from within a category.
    • Color. No image is used, but a block of color from the theme is utilized at the top of the menu item lists for each category.
  • Takeout Label. How "Takeout" type orders should be named within the app. Some locations may use a different term for pick-up orders.
  • Delivery Label. How "Delivery" type orders should be named within the app. Some locations may use a different term for delivery orders.
  • Zip Label. How the "Zip" or "Postal" code labels should be named within the app. Depending on your locale, different terms may be used.
  • Special Instructions Label. "Add Special Instructions" is the default, but you can change this to whatever you'd like.
  • Previewing Changes. If you've made changes to any of the above, you may at any time click "Preview", and the interactive pane on the right hand side of the page will refresh after several moments. You may preview your mobile app as many times as you'd like.
  • Saving App Settings. Once completed with any desired updates, you can click "Save App Settings". Note, this does not build your app or send to us the notification to publish the app. You can still change any settings or configurations as much as you'd like. After saving your app, you'll be taken back to the Mobile App Overview page.
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Designing The App Part 1: Color Selection

While on the Design page of your Mobile App's configuration, you have the option of choosing a pre-selected color theme, or creating your own. We'll provide an overview of the options available to you here.

  • Pre-Created Color Themes. Choosing the Select Theme button will present you with a few different color options for your mobile app. Choosing one of these will apply the designated theme's colors. You can choose to match one as close as possible to your brand, or select "Custom". Once you've made your selection, click "Save" in the lower right hand corner of the popup.
  • Your Own Selected Colors. If you choose to select your own custom colors, there's a few ways to get exactly the colors you want.
    • Color Suggestion. Color Suggestion allows you to drag and drop, or select a file from your computer, to automatically pull colors from the file. A great example would be to upload your logo or brand imagery. Our Color Suggestion model will then parse colors from the file and let you choose which option to utilize as the main color to set the theme.
    • Choosing Your Own (Advanced). If you are an experienced designer, or working with one, you can select colors based on their values. By selecting each option (Dark Primary, Primary, Light Primary, etc.) and then choosing "More", you can apply a color by its hex value (#e9bd36, #d13f02, etc.). This will allow you or your designer to get the exact colors used from your theme or website.
    • Saving and Previewing Your Changes. Once done with the Color Suggestion/Options popup, click "Apply" in the lower right hand side. The mobile app's preview pane should automatically update after a few moments. If it does not, click the "Preview" button at the bottom of the Design page.
  • Saving and Previewing Your Changes.You may preview your Color changes at any time by applying them, and clicking the "Preview" button at the bottom of the Design page. When completed, select "Save App Settings". You will be taken back to the Mobile App Overview page.
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Designing The App Part 2: Welcome Screen Configuration

The Mobile App's Welcome Screen is a critical part of your Mobile App. It's the first thing customers will see when they open your Mobile App on their device, and will also typically be one of the first screenshots published to the Apple and Google Play stores. Let's make it look great!

  1. From the Design page, click "Configure" next to the label "Welcome Page":
  2. You will see the following configuration screen:
  3. Title. The title of your Welcome Page will appear as text on the screen. The default value will typically suffice. If you have multiple locations and each are named something differently, you may want to use the business' shared name so customers aren't confused. For example, if you had "Joey's Italian Pizza Shop - The Village", and "Joey's Italian Pizza Shop - Downtown", you may want to just use "Joey's Italian Pizza Shop".
  4. Description. The default value should suffice here as well. This is the description text that will appear along with your Welcome Screen title. Examples could be, "Chicago's Favorite Pizza Shop!", "Voted Best Pizza in Chicago for 5 Years!". Typically, some customer-satisfaction or trust oriented text would work well here.
  5. Show Logo. Your logo on the Welcome Page. Check the box to show the logo, or uncheck it to not show the logo. A good reason why you might not want to include the logo is if it doesn't match the background image (below) you choose, or if your logo is already on the background image. Otherwise, in most cases, you'll want to show your logo.
  6. Background Color. This option is available to you if you do not want to include a background image to your mobile app's Welcome Page. However, we strongly recommending utilizing a Background Image.
  7. Background Image. We strongly recommend uploading a background image to your Welcome Page. It adds a lot of personality to the app, and sets for a great user experience for the customer. Background Images automatically have a slight filter applied to them so that any logo, text, and "Order Now" buttons appear nicely. Here are some tips and recommendations for a Background Image:
    • Recommended Image Size/Resolution. You can use any size image you'd like, and they can be perfectly square or not square. For the best possible appearance, our system will automatically take the centermost point of the image and crop out the rest. At minimum, we recommend 500px width by 500px height.
    • Image Quality and Brightness. The highest possible quality is recommended. Because we automatically apply a slight filter to the background image to darken it, you'll want to utilize a vibrant image. Storefronts, close-ups of food, or even memorabilia work well. Anything that is memorable and meaningful to your location will have your app shine!
  8. Saving the Welcome Page. Once all your selections have been completed, click "Save" in the lower right hand corner of the Welcome Page popup. To preview your changes, click "Preview".
  9. Saving Your General & Design App Settings. If you're finished, click "Save App Settings".
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Publishing The App

At this point, you're already to submit your mobile app for publishing! You've supplied all of the necessary values, chosen some layouts, and customized the appearance.

  • As you may have noticed, saving any app configurations will take you to your mobile app's Overview page:
  • The only necessary step at this point is to click "Publish App". Once you click "Publish App", you'll be taken to the Payment Page to add the Mobile App subscription to your Open Dining account. Please find the most up to date Pricing for a mobile app available here.
  • Once your mobile application has been submitted and subscribed for, the internal Open Dining Team will automatically receive your request to publish the app and get started right away!
  • Please note, processing and verification time can vary for both the Apple and Google Play stores. Typically, new Mobile App Publish requests will be completed and available on both stores within 10-14 business days (sometimes, significantly sooner).
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