It’s no secret that the hospitality industry has changed dramatically over the past three years. Online food ordering was growing in popularity even before the global pandemic, but has become a necessity and a means of survival in the restaurant industry.
By now, customers have become accustomed to the convenience that online ordering systems offer and the feature helps restaurants stay competitive in the current market. In fact, 71% of consumers surveyed by Intouch Insights in 2022 said they use mobile apps to complete restaurant purchases.
What is an online ordering system?
The first step in choosing the best online ordering software for restaurants is to understand what an online ordering system is. Basically, an online ordering system is an automated system that allows a restaurant to process online sales through a branded website or mobile app.
Customers simply log into the restaurant’s platform, place their food orders in a shopping cart, similar to other e-commerce platforms, then check out and pay to place their orders. Once an online order has been placed, the online ordering system transmits it to the restaurant for preparation, packaging and, if necessary, delivery.
Why Should Restaurants Use Online Ordering Systems?
Why should a restaurant website include an online ordering tool? Online ordering systems offer restaurants a variety of advantages and competitive advantages, including:
- Increased efficiency – Online sales can lead to faster processes for fulfilling orders.
- Valuable customer data – When customers place online orders, they provide data that can be used to generate valuable insights.
- Improved Accuracy – Digitized orders can improve overall accuracy compared to taking orders over the phone and the possibility of information being lost in translation.
- Optimized processes – Accepting online orders can help streamline processes behind the house.
- More customer loyalty – Improvements in efficiency and accuracy inevitably lead to higher customer satisfaction, which leads to repeat business, and many online ordering systems also have customer loyalty programs.
Best online ordering systems for restaurants
Is your restaurant ready to take online orders? Before you can get your online ordering system up and running, you need to choose the right software for your needs. Be sure and consider the costs and available features of some of the best online ordering systems for restaurants in 2023.
Because ChowNow is commission-free, restaurants using this ordering system can maximize their sales. The ordering app can be integrated into an existing checkout system and offers a variety of options. Customers can place orders through a branded app or on a restaurant’s own website and choose in-store or curbside pickup. ChowNow is available for a flat monthly fee that ranges from $99 to $150.
2. Toast POS
Ordering online is possible through the Toast POS system, which is specially designed for restaurants and offers them many money-saving features. In fact, Toast claims that restaurants save an average of $36,000 a year by using Toast Online Ordering. Some of the most popular Toast POS features include a customer loyalty program, the ability to create and accept gift cards, and restaurant inventory management. The total cost of adopting Toast POS for online orders may include the cost of moving to its POS system, but Toast offers a free calculator that restaurants can use to estimate their savings on its website.
3rd place for restaurants
Customers who choose the Square Terminal and Kitchen Display System as their POS system can choose to use Square for Restaurants as their online ordering system, known for its rationality and efficiency. Restaurants can take orders through multiple platforms such as Postmates, Chowly or UberEats and the kitchen will receive all orders through a single simple interface. Once they use Square for Restaurants, it’s also easy for restaurant owners to enable delivery services. Square for Restaurants is available in three pricing tiers including free, $60 per month, and custom subscriptions.
4. Gloria Food
Restaurant owners looking to integrate online ordering into the restaurant’s existing website should consider adopting GloriaFood’s online ordering system. GloriaFood offers mobile ordering and table reservation widgets that businesses can place on their website or Facebook page. A GloriaFood widget is not only practical, but also completely free. The company does not charge transaction fees, commissions, or hidden costs, although upgrades to more advanced features are available for purchase.
6. Clover online order
Restaurants using Clover’s POS system can take online orders through two options: a Clover-powered website and app, or The.Ordering.app. Clover helps its users set up their online menus and streamline their ordering process, in addition, Clover’s online ordering system improves customer loyalty by tracking bonuses, promotions and coupon codes, as well as customer feedback. Clover doesn’t charge any subscription fees to use its online ordering option, and installation is free for customers using a Clover POS, although there’s a 3.5% plus 10 cent fee for credit card processing.
Designed for small to medium businesses, FreshBytes offers smaller restaurants many of the powerful features available to large chains. Hailed as one of the easiest and fastest growing online ordering platforms, FreshBytes offers users a branded, mobile-friendly, and commission-free experience that includes options like social media ordering, menu item photos, premium website designs, and one-touch repeat orders . Freshbytes pricing starts at $89 per month.
Upserve is a full-service restaurant management system that also includes options for bars, wineries, coffee shops, bakeries, and more. Upserve’s software integrates with online ordering marketplaces like Postmates, DoorDash, Caviar, and UberEats, giving customers the best of multiple worlds. Upserve’s software also provides valuable data analytics so restaurant owners or managers can track their venue’s performance and work strategically toward improved customer satisfaction. Upserve plans start at $59 per month.
MenuDrive adds an additional marketing focus to its online ordering software. Users submit their menus, photos and other information to MenuDrive, and the team there creates a custom branded online menu for the restaurant. The online ordering system also offers automated email campaigns and other integrated marketing tools to help restaurants build their own customer base. The basic MenuDrive plan starts with a monthly fee of $99 per site, along with one-time setup fees of $99. The service also includes a credit card processing fee of 3.5% plus 15 cents per transaction.
Restolabs is a popular online ordering system for restaurants because of its ease of use and commission-free. Restolabs is packed with many useful features, including Facebook ordering, multilingual support, and real-time analytics. The service offers a fairly simple interface that allows users to type in their menus and then copy and paste widgets directly into their websites. Restolabs online ordering pricing starts at $45 per month.
What software do restaurants use to take orders?
Most restaurants rely on a POS system or point of sale system to enter food orders, add special instructions, process payments, and print receipts. Many POS systems also come with tools to help restaurant management predict future sales, make decisions about hiring and scheduling of labor, and monitor restaurant inventory levels. Some POS software offers additional tools for the online ordering process, while others can integrate with third-party online ordering software.
What is the best digital menu for restaurants?
Does the best online ordering system also offer the best digital restaurant menus? While each of the best online ordering systems offers its own benefits, restaurant owners looking for a premium digital menu should consider MenuDrive as a team of professionals designs the perfect online menu for a customized and branded experience.
Are there free online ordering options for restaurants?
Several options are available for restaurants looking for online ordering options, including some that include a free version. Some services like Square for Restaurants and Toast POS are free for customers who subscribe to the brand’s POS systems. Other online ordering options like GloriaFood are free to use the base system with optional upgrades.
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