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Home /Blog /Discover the Best Online Ordering Systems for Seamless Restaurant Operations

Discover the Best Online Ordering Systems for Seamless Restaurant Operations

Nairi Bodroumian
100 articles
7 min read

Did you know online food ordering has surged staggeringly, growing 300% faster than traditional dine-in services since 2014? 

Today, it constitutes approximately 40% of total restaurant sales, showcasing a transformative shift in consumer preferences.

In this digital age, consolidating your orders from various platforms is crucial for operational efficiency. 

Optimizing your incoming orders simplifies the management process and ensures a seamless experience for both restaurant staff and customers.

Order consolidation is one of the crucial features that popular online ordering systems provide.

The Benefits of Having an Online Ordering System

Online food delivery revenue is projected to exhibit an annual growth rate of 8.29%, culminating in a substantial market volume of $466,472 million in the U.S. by 2026. 

As the restaurant industry continues to evolve, adopting online ordering systems becomes increasingly pivotal, aligning with the ever-growing trends in consumer behavior.

Now, let’s explore how integrating an online ordering system can revolutionize your restaurant operations:

Improved Customer Convenience

24/7 Accessibility: Embrace the convenience of round-the-clock ordering, allowing customers to engage with your menu at their convenience.

User-Friendly Interfaces: Intuitive platforms simplify ordering, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable customer experience.

Increased Revenue and Sales

Wider Customer Reach: Extend your market reach beyond the physical confines of your restaurant, potentially leading to increased order frequency and attracting a diverse customer base.

Promotions and Upselling: Implement targeted promotions and strategic upselling features to boost sales and encourage customers to explore additional offerings.

Operational Efficiency

Streamlined Order Processing: Automate order processing to minimize errors and optimize staff efficiency, facilitating a smoother workflow.

POS Integrations: Seamlessly integrate online orders with your POS system, ensuring cohesive management of both online and in-house orders.

Payment Flexibility

Diverse Payment Options: Cater to diverse customer preferences by accepting various payment methods, including credit/debit cards, mobile wallets, and popular online payment platforms.

Secure Transactions: Prioritize security by implementing reliable payment gateways, instilling confidence in customers regarding the safety of their financial information.

Customer Insights and Analytics

Data-Driven Decision Making: Leverage analytics to gain valuable insights into customer preferences and order trends, enabling informed decisions for menu enhancements or targeted marketing strategies.

Customer Loyalty Programs: Establish and manage loyalty programs seamlessly through the online ordering system, rewarding repeat customers and fostering loyalty.

Stay Competitive: Keep pace with industry trends by adopting innovative features such as contactless delivery, real-time order tracking, and responsive menu and promotions updates.

Agile Updates: Quickly adapt to changing market dynamics by swiftly updating menu items, prices, and promotions, ensuring your offerings remain competitive and relevant.

What’s Wrong with Partnering Directly with Third-Party Delivery Apps?

Despite their widespread use, the statistics reveal a concentrated market, with DoorDash commanding a significant 66 percent market share, followed by Uber Eats at 23 percent as of January 2024. 

Understanding the downsides of relying solely on these platforms is crucial for restaurant owners looking to make informed decisions about their online presence.

High Commission Fees

Exorbitant Charges: Third-party delivery apps typically charge substantial commission fees on each order, significantly cutting the restaurant’s profit margins.

Long-Term Cost Concerns: These fees accumulate over time, potentially surpassing the investment required to establish and maintain an in-house online ordering system.

Limited Control Over Branding

Brand Dilution: Restaurants may experience a loss of control over their branding, as third-party apps often prioritize their own logos and branding over that of the individual establishments.

Dependence on App Recognition: Over-reliance on app recognition may diminish your restaurant’s independent identity, making it challenging to build brand loyalty.

Customer Data Ownership

Lack of Access: Third-party apps typically retain customer data ownership, restricting your ability to build direct relationships with patrons.

Missed Marketing Opportunities: Without access to valuable customer insights, your restaurant may miss out on targeted marketing opportunities and personalized promotions.

Pricing Inconsistencies

Inflated Menu Prices: Some third-party platforms inflate menu prices to cover their commission fees, leading to disparities between the prices on these apps and those in your physical restaurant.

Customer Dissatisfaction: Inconsistencies in pricing may lead to customer dissatisfaction and erode trust in your brand.

Dependency on App Performance

Service Outages: Reliance on third-party apps makes your restaurant vulnerable to service outages or technical issues on the app’s end, disrupting the customer experience.

Limited Problem Resolution Control: Resolving issues becomes challenging, as you need more control over the app’s technical aspects and customer support.

Competitive Disadvantage

Visibility Challenges: Relying solely on third-party apps for online presence may limit your restaurant’s visibility compared to establishments with their own ordering systems.

Fierce Competition: The platform’s algorithms may prioritize certain restaurants over others, intensifying competition for visibility and customer attention.

Potential for Negative Reviews

Handling of Complaints: Negative experiences related to delivery times or order accuracy may lead to negative reviews, over which your restaurant has limited control.

Impact on Reputation: Negative reviews on third-party apps can directly impact your restaurant’s reputation, even if the issues are related to the delivery service rather than the quality of your food.  

While partnering with third-party delivery apps can undoubtedly expand your reach, it comes at a cost – financially and strategically. 

Given the dominance of players like DoorDash and Uber Eats, adopting a hybrid approach with an in-house ordering system and strategic use of third-party apps in your POS can offer a more balanced and sustainable solution for restaurant success.

Now, let’s see the top online ordering platforms you can use to kickstart your own system!

Top 13 Online Ordering Systems to Choose From

When it comes to selecting the best online ordering system for restaurants, a myriad of options are available. 

Each platform brings unique features and benefits to the table, catering to diverse needs. 

Here’s a curated list of the top 13 online ordering systems for restaurants, showcasing their distinctive advantages:

Orders.co

  • Key Benefits:
    • Integration with Popular Delivery Apps: Orders.co takes the lead by seamlessly partnering with major delivery apps like Postmates, DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, and more, extending your restaurant’s reach.
    • Comprehensive Staff Support: Enjoy dedicated staff support for onboarding, regular updates, and assistance, ensuring a smooth transition and optimal platform use.
    • Order Consolidation: The platform excels in consolidating orders from various sources into one unified platform, simplifying management and reducing complexity.
  • Key Features:
    • Pause Orders Across Platforms: Take control of your online orders using this software, allowing you to centrally schedule, pause, and suspend orders across all partnered platforms.
    • Improved Operations: Replace multiple tablets with a single Orders.co tablet, freeing up counter space and improving the online ordering process.
    • Universal Printing: Use a single printer for all orders, reducing kitchen confusion and enhancing efficiency. 

Schedule a QUICK 15-MINUTE PHONE CALL to give our integration team the necessary information, then sit back and let them take over!

UpMenu

  • Key Benefits:
    • Customizable Solutions: UpMenu provides highly customizable solutions, allowing restaurants to tailor their online food ordering system to match their unique branding and needs.
    • Marketing Tools: Leverage built-in marketing tools to promote your restaurant, implement a customer loyalty program, and effectively engage with your customer base.
  • Key Features:
    • User-Friendly Interface: UpMenu offers an intuitive interface for customers and restaurant staff, ensuring a seamless and pleasant ordering experience.
    • Integrated Payment Processing: Streamline payment processing with integrated solutions, enhancing the overall transaction experience for customers.

Toast

  • Key Benefits:
    • All-in-One Solution: Toast offers a comprehensive platform that includes online ordering, point of sale, and kitchen management, providing an integrated solution for restaurant operations.
    • Real-Time Analytics: Access real-time analytics and reporting tools to gain insights into sales trends, customer behavior, and menu performance.
  • Key Features:
    • Menu Management: Easily manage and update your menu, including pricing, descriptions, and images, to keep it fresh and engaging for customers.
    • Multi-Channel Ordering: Allow customers to place orders through various channels, including in-house tablets, online, and mobile apps.

Square for Restaurants

  • Key Benefits:
    • Seamless Integration: Square seamlessly integrates online and in-house orders with its point-of-sale system, ensuring efficiency in order processing and inventory management.
    • Flat Processing Fees: Enjoy transparent and predictable pricing with flat processing fees, eliminating the uncertainty of fluctuating costs.
  • Key Features:
    • Order Tracking: Keep both staff and customers informed with real-time order tracking, enhancing the overall customer experience.
    • Customer Feedback: Collect valuable customer feedback through the platform to continuously improve service and offerings.

ChowNow

  • Key Benefits:
    • Branded Online Ordering: ChowNow prioritizes maintaining the restaurant’s brand integrity by offering a white-label solution for online ordering, enhancing brand recognition.
    • Commission-Free Model: Operate with a commission-free model, allowing restaurants to retain more of their revenue from online orders.
  • Key Features:
    • Customer Retention Tools: Leverage tools like automated marketing and loyalty programs to retain and engage your customer base.
    • Order Notifications: Keep customers informed with real-time order notifications, ensuring a smooth and transparent ordering process.

Shopify

  • Key Benefits:
    • E-Commerce Integration: For restaurants with an established online presence, Shopify offers seamless integration of online ordering with e-commerce features.
    • Scalability: Grow your business with Shopify’s scalable solutions, adapting to the changing needs and size of your restaurant.
  • Key Features:
    • Mobile Responsiveness: Ensure a smooth ordering experience for customers on various devices with Shopify’s mobile-responsive design.
    • Inventory Management: Effectively manage and update your inventory in real time, preventing discrepancies between online and in-house orders.

Squarespace

  • Key Benefits:
    • Simplified Website Building: SquareSpace provides an easy-to-use website-building platform, making it ideal for restaurants looking to establish a solid online presence.
    • Creative Control: Exercise creative control over your restaurant’s website design, allowing for a personalized and visually appealing interface.
  • Key Features:
    • Online Reservation System: Integrate an online reservation system seamlessly with your website, enhancing convenience for customers.
    • Visual Menu Presentation: Showcase your menu with high-quality images and engaging visuals to entice customers and stimulate their appetite.

OpenTable

  • Key Benefits:
    • Reservation Integration: OpenTable offers seamless integration with online ordering, streamlining the reservation and order process.
    • Access to Diners Network: Tap into OpenTable’s extensive diners network, expanding your restaurant’s reach and attracting new customers.
  • Key Features:
    • Guest Insights: Gain insights into guest preferences and dining habits, facilitating personalized experiences and targeted marketing efforts.
    • Review Management: Effectively manage and respond to customer reviews, maintaining a positive online reputation.

GloriaFood

  • Key Benefits:
    • Free Online Ordering System: Offers a free online ordering system for restaurants.
    • User-Friendly Interface: Intuitive platform for both restaurant owners and customers.
  • Key Features:
    • Customizable Menus: Easily manage and customize menus for online orders.
    • Order Management Dashboard: Centralized dashboard for efficient order tracking and processing.

Square Online

  • Key Benefits:
    • Integrated E-Commerce: Seamlessly integrates online ordering with your existing Square system.
    • Flexible Payment Options: Offers various secure payment options for customer convenience.
  • Key Features:
    • Customizable Templates: Choose from customizable templates for your online ordering site.
    • Inventory Sync: Real-time inventory synchronization for accurate order fulfillment.

TouchBistro

  • Key Benefits:
    • Restaurant-Focused Platform: Tailored for restaurants, providing specific features for efficient operations.
    • Kitchen Display System (KDS): Streamlines kitchen processes for improved order accuracy.
  • Key Features:
    • Tableside Ordering: Enables staff to take orders directly at the table for a seamless experience.
    • Integration with POS: Integrated with Point of Sale system for streamlined operations.

RestoLabs

  • Key Benefits:
    • Customizable Menu Management: Easily update, modify, and manage your menu..
    • Order Tracking and Notifications: Real-time order tracking and customer notifications.
    • Integrated Payment Processing: Seamless integration with various payment gateways.
  • Key Features:
    • Enhanced Operational Efficiency: Streamlined operations with centralized order and menu management.
    • Increased Revenue Opportunities: Targeted marketing and promotions to attract and retain customers.
    • Improved Customer Experience: User-friendly interface and real-time order tracking for customer satisfaction.

Clover Online Ordering

  • Key Benefits:
    • User-Friendly Interface: Clover offers an intuitive and user-friendly interface for both restaurant owners and customers.
    • Integration Capabilities: Seamlessly integrates with various POS systems, enhancing overall operational efficiency.
  • Key Features:
    • Customizable Menus: Easily manage and customize menus to showcase your offerings effectively.
    • Secure Payment Processing: Ensures secure and reliable payment processing for customer transactions.

Choosing the right online ordering system depends on your restaurant’s unique needs, preferences, and goals. 

Evaluate each platform based on its distinctive features to find the solution that aligns seamlessly with your business strategy.

Steps to Setting Up Your Online Ordering System

Embracing an online ordering system is a transformative step for your restaurant.

To guide you through the process, here are comprehensive steps to set up your online ordering system:

Define Your Objectives and Budget

  • Clarify Goals: Clearly define your objectives, whether it’s expanding your customer base, increasing sales, or improving operational efficiency.
  • Budget Allocation: Determine a realistic budget for implementing and maintaining the online ordering system, considering both upfront costs and ongoing fees.

Choose the Right Online Ordering Platform

  • Research Options: Explore various online ordering platforms, considering factors such as features, pricing, customer support, and integration capabilities.
  • Select Wisely: Choose a platform that aligns with your restaurant’s specific needs, taking into account any unique menu items or operational requirements.

Integrate with POS System (if applicable)

  • Check Compatibility: If you have a Point of Sale (POS) system, ensure that the chosen online ordering platform integrates seamlessly to avoid manual entry and streamline order processing.
  • Real-Time Sync: Verify that the integration allows for real-time synchronization of online and in-house orders to manage inventory efficiently.

Customize Your Online Menu

  • Digital Menu Optimization: Optimize your online menu with high-quality images, accurate descriptions, and clear pricing to entice customers.
  • Highlight Specials: Consider featuring special promotions, discounts, or combo offers to encourage customers to explore and order more.

Set Up Secure Payment Options

  • Diverse Payment Methods: Offer a variety of secure payment options, including credit/debit cards, mobile wallets, and popular online payment platforms.
  • SSL Encryption: Implement SSL encryption to ensure the security of customer payment information and build trust.

Implement User-Friendly Design

  • Intuitive Interface: Design a user-friendly interface for your online ordering platform, making it easy for customers to navigate, customize orders, and complete transactions.
  • Mobile Responsiveness: Ensure the platform is mobile-responsive to accommodate customers who prefer ordering from smartphones and tablets.

Train Staff and Provide Support

  • Staff Training: Train your staff on using the online ordering system, ensuring they are proficient in processing online orders and handling any technical issues.
  • Customer Support: Choose a platform with reliable customer support, offering assistance during the setup phase and ongoing operational support.

Promote Your Online Ordering System

  • Marketing Strategies: Develop marketing strategies to promote your online ordering system, including social media announcements, email campaigns, and in-store promotions.
  • Loyalty Programs: Consider incorporating loyalty programs or discounts for customers who use the online ordering platform regularly.

Monitor and Optimize Performance

  • Regular Analysis: Continuously monitor the performance of your online ordering system, analyzing order trends, customer feedback, and system efficiency.
  • Optimization: Based on insights gained, optimize your menu, promotional strategies, and operational processes to enhance the overall system performance.

Feedback Collection and Adaptation

  • Customer Feedback: Encourage customers to provide feedback on their online ordering experience, allowing you to identify areas for improvement.
  • Adapt to Feedback: Actively adapt your online ordering system based on customer feedback, ensuring a responsive and customer-centric approach.

By following these steps, you’ll establish a robust restaurant online ordering system that meets your customers’ needs and contributes to your restaurant operations’ overall success and efficiency.

Your Restaurant’s Success with Orders.co

As we’ve explored the comprehensive steps and essential tools to guide you through this transformative process, one platform stands out as a comprehensive solution – Orders.co.

Orders.co, with its innovative approach, goes beyond traditional restaurant online ordering systems. 

It becomes your strategic partner in elevating your restaurant’s success through the following key features:

Consolidated Order Management

  • Efficiency at its Core: Orders.co excels in consolidating orders from various popular delivery apps, including Postmates, DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, and more. Experience streamlined operations and simplified order management on one unified platform.

Marketing and Promotional Support

  • Boost Visibility: Leverage Orders.co to enhance your marketing and promotional efforts. With its seamless integration with major delivery platforms, you can effortlessly extend your reach and attract new customers.

Custom Ordering Site

  • Distinctive Branding: Establish a unique online presence with a custom ordering site tailored to match your restaurant’s branding. Orders.co ensures a visually appealing and user-friendly interface that enhances customer engagement.

Loyalty Program Implementation

  • Foster Customer Loyalty: With Orders.co, implementing a loyalty program becomes a breeze. Reward your repeat customers, encourage their continued patronage, and build a loyal customer base that drives sustained success.

Guest Feedback Monitoring

  • Customer-Centric Approach: Monitor and respond to guest feedback effectively with Orders.co. The platform provides insights into customer preferences, enabling you to adapt and continually enhance the overall dining experience.

Scaling your online ordering system is not just about managing orders; it’s about creating an integrated, efficient, and customer-centric ecosystem. 

Schedule a FREE Demo with Orders.co and stay ahead in the competitive landscape of the modern dining experience.

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