Online ordering has become a crucial aspect for any restaurant that wants to succeed in today's post-pandemic world. With the rise in demand for online food delivery, restaurants now have access to a wide range of options. Selecting the right restaurant online ordering system can be challenging, but it is essential to find one that satisfies your needs. 

The online food delivery industry is a lucrative market and the statistics support this. According to Raydiant, 40% of restaurant owners would not have been able to keep their business afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic without the help of third-party delivery services. In 2024, the online food delivery industry is expected to be worth $32 billion.

Food delivery and takeout have become a part of daily life for many people. A 2021 survey found that 53% of respondents and 64% of millennials consider food delivery and takeout to be essential. The pandemic has greatly influenced customers' dining and ordering habits, with 68% of consumers saying that they are more likely to order takeout in 2021 compared to before the pandemic.

Exploring Different Types of Online Ordering Systems for Restaurants

When it comes to restaurant online ordering system, it's common to think of well-known third-party apps like Grubhub and UberEats. While these apps are popular and have their own benefits, it's important to consider other options to make a well-informed decision that will have a positive impact on the business in the long term.

In this article, we'll cover the different types of online ordering software used in the restaurant industry, as well as their advantages and disadvantages. We'll thoroughly examine each option so you can make the best choice for your restaurant.

Different Types of Online Ordering Systems for Restaurants:

  1. Third-Party Online Ordering & Delivery Apps
  2. Point of Sale (POS) Online Ordering Software

III. Standalone Online Ordering System

1.Third-Party Online Ordering & Delivery Apps:

Third-party online ordering and delivery apps are platforms or apps that allow customers to place orders for food delivery or pick-up. Restaurants set up their menu on these third-party platforms and receive orders through fax, phone, email, or tablet. Some popular examples of third-party online food delivery apps are DoorDash, GrubHub/Seamless, UberEATS, and Postmates.

With a market share of 57%, DoorDash is the largest player in the US and works seamlessly with top point-of-sale (POS) systems. It charges a delivery commission ranging from 15-30% and a 6% pick-up commission.

GrubHub/Seamless has a 16% market share in the US and offers tech and POS integrations. The cost includes a marketing commission and 5% to 20% of each order, depending on the pricing package chosen.

UberEATS, launched by Uber in 2014, has a 26% market share in the US and integrates with well-known POS systems in the restaurant industry. The average commission fee on orders is 30%.

Postmates, founded in 2012 and acquired by Uber in 2020, has a 8% market share in the US and integrates with well-known POS systems.

Other third-party online food delivery systems include Caviar, Seamless, Deliveroo, FoodPanda, and BiteSquad.

Advantages of Using Third-Party Online Ordering Systems:

  • These systems can help you reach a wider audience by giving you access to their large user base in major cities.
  • Many third-party apps have their own delivery fleet, which can help speed up delivery times.
  • The apps are often easy to use for both customers and restaurants.

Disadvantages of Using Third-Party Restaurant online ordering system:

You may lose direct communication with your customers as they will be interacting with the third-party app instead of you.

If there are any mistakes made by the third-party app, customers may blame the restaurant. A study by Service Management Group found that 35% of people who had a problem with a third-party delivery service ended up blaming the restaurant.

All customer information such as email addresses and contact information will only be stored on the third-party app, which makes it difficult to gather marketing data and track where your sales come from.

  1. Point of Sale (POS) Online Ordering Software

What is Point of Sale (POS) Online Ordering?

POS Online Ordering is a software that allows restaurants to handle orders, payments, and deliveries without relying on any third-party services. Restaurants can use this software to manage their operations and keep track of their customers.

Popular POS Online Ordering Systems for Restaurants in 2022:

  1. Toast: Toast is a cloud-based restaurant software company based in Boston. It provides a restaurant management and point of sale (POS) system for Android devices. It has three online ordering platforms for restaurants: Online Ordering, Order & Pay, and Toast TakeOut.
  2. TouchBistro: This is a POS system developed exclusively for iPad devices. It has extra features such as Payment Processing, Tableside Ordering, Floor Plan & Table Management, and Menu Management.
  3. Square: Square is a company founded in 2009. Its restaurant online ordering system includes features like Customer Management, Production Management, and Nutrition & Ingredient Labels. You can use Square Online to accept online orders and manage your sales.
  4. Revel Systems: This iPad-based point of sale system was founded in 2010 and is now majority-owned by a private equity firm.

Advantages of POS Online Ordering Systems:

  • Better and faster automation: POS systems are easier to link to accounting and kitchen software, which makes the process faster and more efficient.
  • Control over customer data: Customer data is controlled by the restaurant and can be used for email and SMS marketing.
  • Lower processing fees and costs: POS systems have lower processing fees and costs compared to third-party apps.

Disadvantages of POS Online Ordering Systems:

  • High subscription fees: Some POS systems have high subscription fees.
  • Harder to use: Some POS systems may be harder to use compared to third-party apps, which may require additional training for staff.
  • Limited support: Some systems may have limited support, making it harder to resolve issues quickly.
  • Building an audience from scratch: Restaurants will have to build their own audience from scratch, as opposed to relying on third-party apps.
  1. Standalone Online Ordering System

A standalone online ordering system is a type of system where customers can place orders directly on the restaurant's website, instead of going through a third-party app. There are two options for restaurants: a custom-built system or a one-time purchase system that can be integrated into the restaurant's website.

Zuppler is a popular standalone online ordering system that charges per order and offers a fully branded online ordering experience. It also integrates with point of sale, payment, loyalty, and delivery services.

Menufy is another popular standalone online ordering system, which was founded in 2009. They offer mobile and online meal ordering, with no monthly online ordering fees, and a 12.5% delivery fee in the US.

Advantages of using a standalone online ordering system include having full control over the order process, being able to sync systems for better reporting, and giving customers multiple payment options. However, it may also be more expensive to set up and manage, and may require training as each system is different.

Key Considerations in Selecting an Online Food Ordering Platform for Your Restaurant

When choosing the best online food ordering app for your restaurant, there are several important things to consider.

  • Commissions and Costs: Think about how much commission you're willing to give up for each order through third-party restaurant online ordering system. Ask yourself if your profit margins can handle giving away these commissions and if you want to keep costs low for your customers. In this case, a POS online system or a standalone system might be better because they have flat monthly fees and don't charge per-order commissions.
  • Seamless Operations & POS Integration: If you want a smooth order process and efficient operations, look for a system that integrates with your POS system. POS online ordering solutions are usually the best option because they're built to work effectively with the host POS. Standalone systems can also work with POS systems, but their compatibility depends on the POS and the online ordering system. Third-party systems may require extra software and fees to connect to your POS system.
  • Marketing and Promotions: Consider whether you want to build a customer database and do your own marketing. If you do, then a POS online system or standalone system will give you more control. Third-party systems may not share customer information and handle marketing on their own.
  • Delivery Staffing: Think about the costs of managing a delivery fleet and training staff, as well as whether your food requires special handling. If your budget doesn't allow for these expenses, a third-party delivery system may be a good option, but you'll have to pay a commission for the service.
  • Customer Issues & Brand Reputation: If you're concerned with how customer issues will be handled and your online reputation, then a POS online ordering system or standalone system may be a better choice. Third-party systems may not be able to handle customer satisfaction as well and could potentially harm your restaurant's brand reputation.

In conclusion, choose the online ordering system that fits your business needs and priorities. Consider factors like commissions and costs, seamless operations and POS integration, marketing and promotions, delivery staffing, and customer issues and brand reputation.