Best Online Ordering System for Restaurants in 2023

Marketing 18 minute read 3rd October 2023

When it comes to food, people expect convenience. If they don’t get that from you, they’ll soon move on to the next best thing. Therefore, it’s time for you to get the best online ordering system for restaurants and integrate it into your business.

If you don’t walk on parallel tracks with technology, it won’t be long before your competitors leave you miles behind. However, finding one that really suits your needs is not that easy. Lots of research, testing, and failures go into the process. Let this article save you from all that hassle and give you the best options.

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3 Types of Online Ordering Systems You Can Choose From

No two businesses are alike. Your competitors might be selling the same thing as you. But their size, needs, and goals are different. Their online ordering model might not align with your needs.

Knowing that you must be curious about the types and their pros and cons. Well, your website is the first option. Getting to keep all of the profits is the biggest benefit here.

Furthermore, you can collect customer data about the success of your online ordering and delivery. Managing orders will be easier since you’ll have a transparent view of the full picture. And not missing any orders means happy, loyal customers. Isn’t that the whole point of business?

However, building such a website is costly, especially if you’ve just stepped foot into the market. Additionally, all the work will fall on your shoulders with all the other management and business tasks on your plate.
Secondly, you can use third-party systems with POS integration. This means connecting a third-party online ordering system with your restaurant POS to put everything in one place.

With this model, you can overcome one of the disadvantages of taking orders through your website. Besides, POS integrations are quite easy and economical.

However, these apps won’t let you take orders for free. Sometimes, it can lead to a big dent in your profits.

But what about apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash? If that’s the question in your mind, the third option, third-party apps, is for you. Since people trust these sites, you can have a chunk of the existing audience and gain more orders. But again, commissions are the biggest issue here.

What Features Do You Need To Look for When Choosing an Online Ordering System?

Now that we’ve discussed the types of systems you can choose from, here’s the next question. What key features should you look for? While most of the functions will be similar, you must consider your long-term needs.

That one small missing feature you initially judged unimportant might be just what you need later. So here are the key things you must consider:

  1. Integration: If you’ve decided to walk in tandem with technology, the online ordering system won’t be the only one you use. So, look for a system that integrates seamlessly with your POS and other technology for better insights.
  2. Payment Options: It’s common knowledge that while some customers prefer cash on delivery, others swear by online payment methods. Therefore, your online ordering system must have all options to entertain different customers. And don’t forget about the security aspect.
  3. Ease of Use: What’s the point of an ordering system when you can’t figure out how to use it? If your staff spends the whole time struggling to grasp the workings, you’ll have a queue of disappointed customers. So, choose a system that’s easy to use and comes with customer support.
  4. Scalability: Having to change the system every time you scale will add up to the mountain of expenses. Therefore, it’s crucial to have a system that grows with you.

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Sizzling Selections: 7 Best Online Ordering System for Restaurants in 2023

Anyone who’s been in the restaurant business for even a short while must be aware of one shocking fact. Online orders now make up 40% of the total restaurant sales.

So, if you don’t welcome this model or your system is faulty, you’re giving up almost half your revenue!

But that’s enough beating around the bush. Let’s give you what you really came here for. Following are the seven options for the best online ordering systems for restaurants.

Toast Isn’t Just a Fancy Name for Bread

Opening this list with Toast is the most appropriate since its popularity is no secret. Whether it’s a POS system, email marketing, or restaurant CRM, Toast is the first company to pop up in mind.

It’s an example of the third type you discovered earlier: a third-party system with POS integration. Both these systems work side by side to help restaurant owners take and manage online orders.

Moreover, Toast cares for your customers since its interface is quite easy to use. Browsing online menus and delivery options are at their fingertips, while inventory management, customer loyalty programs, etc., are at yours.

Furthermore, it gives you access to a treasure of data that you can use to send targeted promotions. However, it only works with the Toast POS and requires a two-year contract. Plus, you’ll have to buy hardware to use it.

Square POS Won’t Let You Go Back to Square One When It Comes to Profits!

If you want something that helps you manage both online and offline orders, Square is right up your alley! Here’s why.

Firstly, it lets you build a completely free e-commerce website. But that doesn’t mean you’re free from all charges. You’ll still have to pay the monthly subscription fees as well as the commission per transaction.

Secondly, it lets you manage and track the order, from when the customer places it to when you deliver it! That means your customers can rest assured their money (and food!) is in the right hands. Moreover, they can browse menu items of your restaurant online.

Thirdly, if you ever meet a dead end while using the platform, it has a large user community ready to help. Combine that with the online knowledge base of Square, and you’ll rarely have to contact customer support.

However, Square also works only with its POS, and its hardware isn’t that durable. Also, your customers won’t have many payment gateways since it only processes payments through its system.

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GloriaFood Is Glorious for Ordering, and It’s Also Free

GloriaFood brings good news for small and medium businesses. It’s a free online food ordering system that caters to their specific needs. Firstly, setting it up is a piece of cake.

You can set up the embedded widget for online ordering on your website or social media within an hour. That brings us to the next perk of this system. You won’t need extensive technological expertise to get the hang of this platform.

Moreover, popular payment methods like PayPal and Stripe can integrate seamlessly with GloriaFood, giving your customers a variety.

However, some people complain that it doesn’t have the more advanced features that other online ordering platforms offer. Maybe that’s because it’s free. You can’t expect to get everything without a cost. But it’s a good starting point.

Lastly, order tracking, order history, and customer heat maps are constants in its service. Talking about customers, GloriaFood also offers a unique “Autopilot” feature that lets you send scheduled promotions and messages.

UpServe Says It All in the Name

Next on this list, we have UpServe, which is yet another popular player in the restaurant industry. It works like Toast by integrating an online delivery tool with its POS.

While it has an initial learning curve for usage, the setup is pretty easy. Once you start, you will learn about your restaurant KPIs, like sales trends, customer behavior, and menu performance.

You have endless options to use this data. Gather information about customer preferences when they order online through UpServe and use it to send personalized promotions.

For example, you know one of your regulars has a sweet tooth. If you send them a limited-time discount on desserts, they’ll likely come running to your venue. Or you can use it to improve your food and delivery services to add more names to your customer list.

However, it is more expensive than most online ordering software. So, if you’re looking to make a smaller dent in your bank account each month, UpServe isn’t the one.

Choose Menufy To Make Your Online Ordering Smooth

After Toast, Square, GloriaFood, and UpServe, let’s talk about Menufy. It can act as an additional sales channel since you can list your business on a central website and app.

Moreover, it is customizable and integrates many different tools for a centralized business experience.

You have two options to use this platform. Either embed its online ordering widget to your website or use its branded website and app.

However, if you want customers to see your brand at the forefront, you can use Menufy’s white-label option. Using a third-party platform to take orders while hosting your branded materials gives you the best of both worlds.

Furthermore, features like order management, loyalty programs, and customer notifications bring ease to the art of doing business. After all, online ordering isn’t just about providing convenience to your existing customers. It should also help you acquire new ones to expand your business and revenue.

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Use Tock To Get Money First

Times have changed, and our jobs demand more time and effort from us. This dynamic has forced many people to go for meal kits and takeouts that they order online during lunchtime.

The next online ordering platform, Tock, is best for restaurants that offer meal kits and table reservations on advance payment. Another restaurant niche it focuses on is premium dining.

With this payment method, you get your hands on your money before dispatching the order or customer arrival.

But isn’t that selfish? Well, no, because people often make reservations and fail to show up, which creates inconvenience for you and other customers. With Tock, you won’t have to worry about absentees since customers aren’t going to waste their money. It’s truly a situation where everyone’s a winner!

The only downsides are you won’t get to accept cash payments, and it only works with Toast and LightSpeed POS.

Want To Go for a Third Party App?

Earlier, you learned the pros and cons of using third-party apps for online ordering. If your needs put the pros on the heavier side of the scale, you’ll want to know the best option. And no, it’s not UberEats. Why? You can’t be successful in places where your audience doesn’t exist, even with the best quality and service.

DoorDash takes 57% of the market share, while UberEats takes only 28%. This means people prefer the former over the latter. Most of the credit for this goes to a simple, inherent experience for the end user.

Therefore, get on DoorDash to enjoy this audience and earn more with lower commissions. Standard orders are free, while you have the option to list your store on the app for a fee.

However, you can only accept payments through the DoorDash tool, and the setup can take 2 to 3 weeks.

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An Online Ordering System Might Be Just the Thing Your Restaurant’s Missing

If you’re doing everything right and still not seeing results, try giving your customers the option to order food online. It might just solve your problem since people appreciate convenience now, sometimes even more than taste.

Whether you do it through your website, third-party apps, or apps with POS integration is up to you. Just make sure you achieve your goal. Choose the best online ordering system for restaurants according to the suggestions of the articles, and you’ll be fine.

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