In recent years, we’ve seen quick and easy take precedence over traditional in so many different areas. Convenience is the new standard (we’ve got technology advancing at the speed of the light to thank for that) and restaurant operations have undergone a massive evolvement as a result. Ordering takeout online has become the preferred ordering method for consumers, which—you guessed it—has of course sparked the rapid development of numerous takeout online ordering platforms on the market. With so many options out there, how is a restaurant supposed to know which one is best for them?
We always want you to make the best possible decisions for your business, which is why our goal is to make you an expert on this topic by the end of this post. We aim to do so by talking about the different types of online ordering out there and explaining the pros and cons of each, including Online Ordering PRO—our very own online ordering platform built by Ordereze. Let’s get started!
Commission Based 3rd Party Apps Like Grubhub and DoorDash
How they work: Third-party online ordering apps, like Grubhub and DoorDash, are external platforms that use their own software to offer your takeout menu to their customers. Their customers typically download an app to search for a restaurant. The app gets commission from the restaurant on each order placed.
The good: Most of these companies have their own delivery drivers to pickup the order and bring it the customer, so you don’t have to worry about hiring your own drivers. Most of these companies also don’t charge a flat fee, so your monthly bill is solely based off of the orders you receive. There is a chance that some consumers will discover your business on these apps too.
The bad: Users have to find your menu on the app to place their orders, which is often saturated with dozens of other businesses listed in your area, meaning there is no guarantee that someone who searches for your business will actually order from your business given all the other options they are met with. Getting your menu to the top of the list is possible though, by giving the company anywhere from 10% to about 50% of what you earn from each of your orders; most companies recommend starting with a transaction fee of 20% to ensure that your menu can be found. You can add a button to your website to encourage orders this way, but most companies take an extra percentage from any orders placed through this button. Another risk you take with a third-party company is letting another business and a delivery driver you don’t know (and who doesn’t know you) represent your business and determine the consumer’s ordering experience.
In short: Using a third-party app is convenient and often helps feed the demand of those who prefer delivery, but partnering with these companies often comes with a big price tag and ROI can be slim. Keep in mind that those who order from third-party apps are eating your food, but they are not your customers—they are customers of the third-party company, as it is that company who they’ll more likely return to.
External Options with a Flat Fee, Like Chow Now
How they work: Companies like Chow Now put your takeout menu into their platform and allow customers to place orders from their app or your website. They also charge a flat monthly or annual fee rather than charging based on commission.
The good: It’s fairly easy for customers who find your website to place orders using the Chow Now link. Restaurants are also 100% certain of what their expenses will be with companies who charge a flat rate compared to commission-based platforms.
The bad: If you receive little to no orders, you are still paying a high monthly fee, and if you are just starting out with online ordering, it can take a few weeks or months to increase your order volume. Most of these companies, including Chow Now, don’t offer any marketing to help spread awareness of your online ordering platform either. It’s also important to note that a majority of consumers (70%) prefer to place orders directly from a restaurant’s website—not an external source. The reason for this is simple: your customers know you, trust you, and have more confidence in you than they do in another company that might be totally foreign to them. Also, most of these companies do offer discounted rates if you agree to a 12-month or 24-month contract, however, we never recommend locking yourself into something that may not work out.
In short: If you prefer flat rates and have no issues with your customers ordering from a third-party external platform, then a company like Chow Now may work for you.
POS Integrated Platforms
How they work: Some POS companies build their own online ordering platforms that communicate directly with the corresponding POS system. Customers can order either directly from the website or are sometimes redirected to an external site.
The good: These platforms make it very easy for restaurants to receive orders and notify the kitchen of the order details. Typically, once the order is received though the website it goes right into the POS, which is sometimes connected to a printer, and sent right to the kitchen. Most other companies do not have this integration feature, which means that someone in house has to manually enter the order into the POS.
The bad: Online ordering platforms created by POS companies are rarely optimized for the best possible user experience. They are typically antiquated in look and functionality, and are harder for consumers to use. Some platforms may preserve restaurant branding, but most do not—and since there are such a huge number of POS companies out there, consumers will most likely be unfamiliar with the company, and therefore lack confidence ordering food and entering credit card information into a system they’ve never heard of.
In short: POS integrated online ordering platforms might make it easy for the restaurant, but can complicate or stunt the ordering process for consumers.
Internal Ordering Platforms like Online Ordering PRO
How they work: Internal online ordering systems are built right into your website so the customer placing an order doesn’t leave your website at all. Your branding is 100% preserved throughout the ordering process.
The good: In addition to preserved branding, there are a number of benefits associated with using an internal online ordering system. Customers ordering directly from your website do not see advertisements for other restaurants, and are more likely to complete orders; these consumers who are ordering from your website know your business and branding and physically go to your restaurant—they are actually your customers. Additionally, these systems are typically created by the same company who maintains your website, so any changes made to the menu are made on the online ordering menu simultaneously and there is much less room for error with updated prices or items that are no longer being sold.
The bad: Customers might have trouble finding your online ordering if they do not know how to get to your website. More likely than not, staff will have to enter the orders into the POS as most internal systems cannot integrate with POS systems.
In short: Internal online ordering systems make it easy for your customers to order, and preserved branding increases the chance of customers actually completing orders. The platform is embedded or built into your website, so marketing is typically needed to get the word out.
How Online Ordering PRO is the Best of Both Worlds
Now that you have some knowledge on the main types of online ordering platforms available to you, we want to finish up by briefly discussing our platform. When we designed Online Ordering PRO, we quickly realized—and still believe—that it is one of the best systems on the market in terms of look and functionality. Nothing in this world is perfect, but we are confident that our platform can meet and exceed your expectations. Here’s why:
- Price: Online Ordering PRO is the only performance-based platform with low transaction fees that are capped at a very reasonable rate. If you receive only a few orders per month, you’re not stuck paying a hefty charge like you would with Chow Now. If you receive a lot of orders and hit your monthly transaction fee cap, we stop collecting that fee so that you continue to profit at 100% (unlike Grubhub, UberEATS, DoorDash, etc.).
- Marketing: We recognize that your customers who do use third-party apps may have trouble finding your online ordering page, which is why we include marketing with our platform. All of our customers with Online Ordering PRO have the option to work 1-on-1 with a dedicated marketing specialist whose goal is to increase awareness and ultimately order volume for you. This is a feature that is not offered by most other online ordering companies.
- Promotions: Our platform has a built in Promotion Generator tool that allows you to create offer discounts to your customers to send via email or text. This has shown to be one of the best ways for independent businesses to encourage customer loyalty and repeat business.
- Analytics: Online Ordering PRO generates data on all of your orders so that you can analyze your online sales and promotion results.
- Zero Risk: We want you to try our online ordering, but we understand the need for flexibility in this industry, which is why we don’t require our customers to ever sign contracts or pay cancellation fees.
So, what do you think? We’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback. Need more information or ready to get started? You can complete a short demo with us, send us an email, or give us a call at 631-271-3470 to get in touch with one of our marketing specialists now.