99 Apps Launches $99 iPhone App for Restauranteurs

When it comes to launching mobile marketing companies, some firms believe it’s best to go after one industry, offering easy and affordable ways for businesses in that industry to get into mobile marketing. 99 Apps, the latest of these industry plays, is targeting restaurant owners — with $99 customizable iPhone apps.

The company launched today with technology that helps restauranteurs get in on mobile marketing with an easy-to-make and relatively affordable customized iPhone app. So far, they’re doing a good job getting the word out about their service and building apps — in a two-month beta period, the 99 Apps has 50 live Apps on the iPhone that have generated thousands of downloads.

“We believe that all businesses, large and small, will benefit greatly from a mobile platform, and the high cost of custom development shouldn’t get in the way,” said Nick Ostroff, co-founder of 99 Apps, in the launch release.

The $99 fee is actually pretty cheap considering 99 Apps is doing customize design work for each restaurant based on the restaurant’s menu and location data. That fee alone isn’t going to keep 99 Apps in business, but the $9.99 plus monthly charge to update app information just might.

For the restaurant who signs up for 99 Apps, the challenge is to get the app downloaded to customer phones in the first place. Also, unless a customer loves your restaurant and is a frequent visitor already, chances of them using your app on a frequent enough basis to be worth the monthly service fee may not be high enough. Then again, just having an official iPhone (and Android and Blackberry) App will be a benefit to the brand’s overall image. But just as it’s difficult to get customers to sign up for an e-mail list and read e-mails, it’s difficult to get customers to download a mobile app and visit it once it’s on their phone.