Should my app be bilingual?

Mobile apps still seem to be that white whale many operators can’t bag. That was clear during an education session at the RLC when question after question was posed to a panel of operators whose chains were in three different places in terms of their app development.

One question stood out: What were the panelists’ thoughts on a bilingual app, seeing that the Hispanic population is growing exponentially?

Surprisingly, none felt the need for a Spanish-speaking app. Doug Reifschneider, VP of marketing at Firehouse Subs, said that Firehouse’s main audience is millennial and Gen X males, alluding to a mostly English-speaking base. Zoes Kitchen’s VP of Marketing Rachel Phillips-Luther expressed a similar sentiment, saying that Zoes’ key targets are women.

Both made a good argument against adding it. The point of an app is to be useful to your audience, said Phillips-Luther. If the main audience isn’t going to use a feature (such as Spanish-language translations), what’s the point of wasting time, energy and money to build it into the system?

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


At Papa Johns, delivery shifts from its own apps to aggregators

The Bottom Line: The pizza delivery chain’s business with companies like Uber Eats and DoorDash is thriving while its own delivery is slowing. But this isn’t the beginning of the end of self-delivery, CEO Rob Lynch says.


How the shift to counter service has changed Steak n Shake's profitability

The Bottom Line: Sardar Biglari, chairman of the chain’s owner Biglari Holdings, details how the addition of kiosks and counter service has transformed restaurants.


Grand Geneva Resort & Spa's 'Ouisconsin' croissants reflect the state's French legacy

Behind the Menu: Hyper-local Wisconsin ingredients and a three-day baking process turn out pastries that are in high demand by hotel guests.


More from our partners