When do native apps make sense?

Published June 10, 2019 by Jason Ferrell

51 North Taproom is a craft beer restaurant located in The Nations neighborhood in Nashville. They feature 30 rotating taps and an eclectic menu. We recently designed and developed an iOS app for them and are sharing the rationale for building native.

A website provides reach and discoverability via search engines and the ease of sharing a URL. However, you are limited in what features and functionality you can provide due to the nature of the openness of the web. Websites are accessed via web browsers or in-app web browsers which are mostly governed by web standards organizations. Web browsers are more limited than native apps in the functionality that can be achieved.

The decision to build a native app makes sense if a native app can provide an experience or feature that is not achievable on the web. Push notifications are one such feature and are extremely valuable if used for the users benefit and in the right context.

In the case of 51 North Taproom, most repeat customers are craft beer lovers and are very interested in what's on tap at any given moment. So how can we leverage this knowledge to encourage repeat business from their customers?

Our answer was to build a native app thats key feature is to generate local push notifications when the tap list changes. This key feature keeps the craft beer lover engaged without having to manually pull up the website. Notifications push information that is of value to repeat customers of 51 North, thereby encouraging repeat business and strengthening brand loyalty.

In the app, we also included the food menu, the daily specials, hours of operation, quick links for calling the taproom and getting directions to provide an even more useful experience.

We invite you to download the 51 North On Tap app from the app store.