In an effort to attract regular custom by being seen to be offering their customers the very best offers without having to alter their pricing structure, many motorway service stations have turned their attention to mobile phone apps.
In 2015 Moto redesigned their app, at the same time as their website. The new app includes several offers varying in scale, and a preview of the next day's deals.
System requirements: at least Android 2.3.3 or iOS 7.1 | Official Website
Moto launched their app in 2012 initially offering a "Daily Deal" to customers, which was later expanded to three deals a day. These deals are to be presented to staff at the point of sale and are always: 20% off at Costa, 20% off at EDC, 40% off at EDC, buy one get one free on hot meals at EDC, 20% off at Burger King, 40% off at Burger King, buy one get one free on Whoopers at Burger King, 20% off at WHSmith, 20% off at M&S Simply Food and 20% off at West Cornwall Pasty Company. The three are chosen randomly.
Moto will usually post on Facebook or Twitter what the day's best discount is.
Many of Moto's restaurants have a Costa franchise which will accept either the Costa discount (on Costa goods only) or the EDC discount, whichever the customer prefers. Some M&S and WHSmith stock overlaps too, and soft drinks can be bought from almost any franchise. The app requires a network connection to be live for it to be visible to staff, who are generally receptive to the discount.
Although not strictly Moto's work, in 2011 Domino's Pizza announced they would be opening sites at many Moto services. One of the main benefits of this was that passengers could use Domino's' own app to make their order while approaching the services, meaning it could be ready when you arrive. The agreement with Moto didn't prove successful and the pilot store at Leigh Delamere closed. This facility is still available at Domino's 2Go at Extra services, but not promoted as a benefit.
The second app to hit the virtual market, Roadchef quietly launched theirs in April 2014. Whereas Moto's works around three discounts, Roadchef's is built into the site information, offering a discount at up to four of the facilities available at each site. The discounts, depending on the facilities available and the date, vary between:
- selected meals for £5
- soup and a sandwich for £5
- 500ml of water or Coke and crisps for £3.59
- a large Costa drink for the price of a regular
- £1 off Costa muffins when purchased with a hot drink
- two Costa snack bags for £3.99
- a Days Inn room for £35 when not booked in advance
- a sandwich, Harrogate Water and an Oats bar for £2 at WHSmith
- two Wonka bars for the price of one at WHSmith
- 473ml of Red Bull for £2 at WHSmith
The most valuable discount (unless you are a particular fan of crisps) is the hot meals for £5, which broadly matches Moto's 40% off or two for the price of one at EDC. Notable exceptions to the offers are McDonald's and Chozen Noodle, due to the franchising agreement.
System requirements: at least Android 2.2 or iOS 6.0 | Official Website
To date Welcome Break have never had an app, but have embraced smartphone users in their own way. Before the apps took off they were already building a large Facebook and Twitter following, which they used to engage with people who were talking about their sites, usually having just visited them.
Welcome Break have then gone on to provide a series of special offers to anyone who presents what is usually a particular to tweet to staff on sale. Note that this doesn't actually require the customer to be a user of Twitter, as in theory anybody using their wifi could visit http://m.twitter.com/WelcomeBreak and present their tweets, but the offers are relatively rare so you'd need to know what you're looking for.
Past discounts have included a Full English Breakfast for £1.99 (by far the biggest and most-discussed discount on this page), free sandwiches and buy one get one free on hot drinks at Starbucks drive thrus. They also run competitions much more frequently.