The Foodie Fone: Android or iOS?


In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, mobile is the new battleground for restaurants and consumers. Information about the dominant platform, however, is less than clear. With the Android fan club touting the platform’s massive growth, and with wins - beating out iOS - in the past two years, you would think Android is, in fact, the one to bet on. Earlier this year, Google claimed over 1.5 million activations on Android daily - yes, I said daily. That being said, it’s believed that Apple is pumping out about 120 million phones per year, and of course we’re now unsure of what impact the new, less expensive 5C and fingerprint-reading 5S will have on the global mobile economy.

All that being said, you’d think that Android wins on sheer mass, right? Au contraire, my mobile masses, the real focus of any research is to look into the minds and actions of the actual customers that use your services or products, right? So, seek we shall. The recent Mobile Social Consumer Report by the RSMI revealed some pretty amazing data that has now reached critical mass of mobile social transactions. The battleground is like one of those sets from Lord of the Rings that morphs into something altogether different once you change the dynamic of simply asking a new question. Who is the most active user in regards to restaurant visits, engagement and influence? Boom!–you have a whole new battlefield.


The iPhone dwarfs Android devices as the “Foodie Fone.” In fact, 62% of restaurant guests use the iPhone (and 29% Android) when you place the threshold to just three times per month in digital actions with restaurants. If you bump this up to five times per month in digital actions, you get an even bigger spread of 71% vs 27% iOS vs Android.  Simply put, this data supports the recent article on how iOS yields a 1,790% higher performance on ad clicks for Facebook, The data continues to compel me though. 

We dig deeper into the RSMI data, and again, the iOS shows some impressive numbers in actual Location-Based Actions (LBAs), as well. iOS outperforms Android in actual restaurant visits by over 420% in just the past 12 months. This data continues to support the widening gap in the U.S. of consumers that are continuing their purchasing habits around restaurants, and they are doing it with the clear winner – the “Foodie Fone.”  

When you breakdown the segment in iOS vs Android, you also continue to see massive shifts in the numbers, with Fast Casual (The Chipotle Effect)  crowd leading the way at 71% in iOS, Fine Dining coming in at 59%, Casual Dining scoring 54% of iOS use, and Fast Food (QSR) trailing at 29% of iOS users. This data alone starts to create classes of consumers around the restaurant business categories, some of which we may have already suspected, but were not really aware of completely.

So where does this take the restaurant business with mobile? The takeaways are pretty obvious, but here are my 5 “Foodie Fone” tips:

1) You can abandon your Android app development unless you are in Fast Food.

2) You can start to reconsider your love affair with NFC – the iPhone does not have it and won’t with BLE incorporated as the communication protocol of choice.

3) Build iPhone friendly mobile apps, microsites and social apps with a focus on design.

4) Make sure your teams understand the iPhone and its ecosystem, this is huge!

5) Get your iPhone app or products polished up fast, as they will be your future of commerce.

I’d love to hear your insights on how the Foodie Fone will change the way the restaurant business will embrace this phenomenon - or is it just a short term affect as we wait for more Android love? My thoughts are that the iPhone has a stride that I don’t think gets broken anytime soon.