“The Best” of anything is relatively subjective. After all, just because something is high quality doesn’t always mean it’s going to appeal to all people. However, when it comes to online food ordering systems, quality matters. A lot. As a result, when we talk about the best online food ordering systems, it’s pretty easy to narrow the field.
You need an online food ordering system that is easy to set up, customizable, feature-rich, user-friendly, supports your marketing needs, and generally makes your life easier and your business more profitable.
So let’s take a deeper dive into the best online food ordering systems and see what we’ve got to work with.
Best online food ordering system: essential features
When you’re shopping for the best online food ordering system for your restaurant, café, or QSR, here are some of the essential features your new system needs to have:
- An intuitive, interactive user interface. The easier it is for your customers to order, the better they will like it. A complicated system causes frustration and may actually do the opposite of what you want it to do. On a side note, restaurants that choose UpMenu often see up to 40 percent conversion, and that’s huge. Almost every second page visit results in a sale.
- Mobile Application. Customers use mobile online ordering apps both for convenience and to earn reward points at their favorite restaurants. With a mobile application, you’ll be satisfying a need for your most loyal customers and providing easy access for new ones. Here are some quick stats:
- Fifty percent of smartphone users use restaurant loyalty apps.
- Twenty-four percent of smartphone users use food delivery apps.
Additionally, a mobile app gives you access to loads of data about your customers. This not only allows you to market to them directly, but it also supports more efficient operations on your end, enabling more accurate demand forecasting, scheduling, ordering, and more.
- Enable online payments. Online payment is a prominent feature in the best online food ordering systems. Customers today trust online payment platforms like Stripe, for example. Offering the option to pay through your online ordering system increases sales, eliminates errors, and streamlines your end-of-day processes.
- Customer database. The best online food ordering systems retain a database of customer information, supporting customer service best practices, and supporting your marketing efforts.
- Competitive pricing. Third-party ordering systems take a commission of each sale, taking a big chunk out of your profits. The best online ordering systems will offer a straightforward pricing structure; ideally, a flat monthly subscription with no commissions or hidden fees. A full-featured UpMenu subscription is just $49 per month, and there are never any hidden charges.
- Responsive customer support. The best online food ordering systems are the lifeblood of your business. That means, when you need help, you should have every expectation of receiving it quickly and reliably. Best-in-class support means dependability, an openness to customer problems, and fast response times.
- Marketing support. One of the main reasons you have an online food ordering system is to leverage the data you collect. Better data means more targeted marketing. The loyalty program needs to work both online and offline, and you should have the option of sending communications via email, SMS, or push campaigns. Personalized product recommendations and marketing automation are a plus, but they’re not included with all online ordering systems.
How to Choose the Best Online Ordering System
Before you start shopping around for the best online food ordering system, think about how you are going to use it and make a list of all your “wish list” features. Make a column for the features you must have as well as one for the “nice to have’s.”
Ultimately, you know your restaurant best, but don’t sell yourself short. Think big and shoot for the stars. At this stage, it’s just ideation.
Compare the top five online food ordering systems to see if they have the functions you need, and try a few out to see if they deliver what they promise.
Your trial is also an excellent time to check how responsive their customer service is. An online ordering system is only as good as the people behind it! A good way to find out how their support works is to ask them a question and see how quickly they respond.
Here is a table that compares some of today’s best online food ordering systems:
As you can see, there is a pretty significant price gap between these online food ordering solutions, but let’s dig in a bit more to see what’s what.
UpMenu provides every feature you could possibly want. The cost of entry is quite low, there is no commission, and you have access to a seven-day trial to see if it’s the best online food ordering system for you. UpMenu also integrates with most POS systems, third-party delivery providers, payment systems, CMS, and more via custom API.
While the pricing for ChowNow might be attractive when you compare it to third-party systems, the cost is pretty high (especially compared to UpMenu). You’ll pay a setup fee plus a monthly rate that starts at $149 per month per location, and it goes up from there.
They do offer a month-to-month plan, but you’ll pay a premium for it, and the setup fee is on top of that. A branded mobile app is extra, a desktop ordering app is extra, there is no loyalty program, and no trial period. You’re basically paying a premium for features that UpMenu gives you for free.
Oddle is feature-rich and commission-free, though they currently only accept payments through Stripe and PayPal. They offer a 14-day full-featured trial and don’t charge any setup fee. However, they don’t support pick-up in-store orders or Facebook ordering. You’re also forced to host your app and website on their platform, so if you ever want to jump ship in the future, you’ll lose it all. Finally, it’s pricey, at $129 per month. Even though there is no setup fee, there doesn’t seem like a whole lot of value.
For a free online ordering system, GloriaFood is pretty good. However, you get what you pay for. On the plus side, it’s free to get started, and it does offer Facebook ordering, pickup, dine-in, and delivery support. It also supports a loyalty program. Desktop and mobile app support are extra, as are payment processing and marketing features.
With a full-featured plan, the cost of GloriaFood is still more than twice what you’d pay for UpMenu, so unless you’re using the free version of the service, you’re not getting the best bang for your online ordering system buck.
Conclusion: What’s the Best Online Food Ordering System?
You’ve clearly got plenty of choices, but when it comes to choosing the best online food ordering system, UpMenu wins every time. UpMenu helps you stay competitive, reduce costs, and delight your customers with a superior ordering experience, all for a price that is just a fraction of what the others think it’s okay to charge.
Ready to experience a free trial of UpMenu? Reach out today to get started.