Everything has been moving online for some years now, but it was 2020 that really drove the point home. Suddenly, from one day to the next, it turned out that businesses that did not exist on the internet might as well not exist at all. And this was and continues to be especially true for restaurants. But as ever, new challenges also mean new opportunities for development.
Restaurants that did not have any digital ordering platform were all suddenly scrambling to make amends, and some that could not keep up simply went bankrupt. Restaurants that offer online ordering, however, stand a real chance of making it through the worst this year has thrown at us, so if you’re a restaurateur who hasn’t made the technological leap yet, keep reading to find out how to go about doing that.
Does every restaurant need food ordering software?
Being available to your customers online does not mean you necessarily need to have food ordering software. Some restaurants decide to do everything on their own, end to end –– from handpicking the ingredients to delivering them to their customers’ doors.
Few restaurants, however, have the wherewithal to be this kind of one man band, and therefore end up outsourcing some of the work to others, in this case tech companies. And even if a restaurant owner wanted to do everything on their own, they would still need to invest a large sum of money and quite a bit of time to upgrade their website to one that allows customers to order comfortably while at the same time keeping their payment details secure. Life really is easier with food ordering software, and oftentimes cheaper, too.
What digital ordering platform is best?
Now it’s time to look at the restaurant ordering software available and see which option might be best for your restaurant and why. As with everything else, no two online ordering softwares are created equal!
9Fold has gone a step further than simply helping restaurants survive the Covid-19 pandemic –– it actually has a section on its home page dedicated to covid success stories. Fans of 9Fold are especially impressed at how flexible the app is when it comes to adapting to the device it’s being used on, making it easy to read menus and delivery zone maps. 9Fold also offers a wide array of promo tools and social engagement options, including simple but effective tactics like rewarding customers with a discount or directly communicating customer feedback. The app also offers 24/7 (human) customer service. 9Fold charges a $100 setup fee, and then $129 per location after that.
Restolabs could be a good choice for the cautious restaurateur who is just getting started online and who doesn’t want to invent a whole lot of money in a digital ordering platform just yet. Restolabs starts at $45 per location per month and can help restaurants –– even ones that don’t have a website at all –– create online menus and start receiving orders in minutes. This is all thanks to their array of user-friendly templates that require little effort to get working for you.
MenuDrive is another great option for people who don’t feel comfortable with this whole thing just yet. All you have to do to get started on MenuDrive is to send your menu, photos of your dishes, and any other relevant information directly to them, and they will build an interactive online menu for your restaurant. Their website boasts you could start selling in under an hour! Another undeniable benefit of MenuDrive is that the company does not charge any sort of commission, meaning your profits are yours alone. MenuDrive costs $90 per month, and the company offers a free 14-day trial.
Gloria food is actually, truly, bona fide free, which is not something you come across very often, especially on the internet. There is also a version that costs up to $29 per month, but that is only if you want a branded website or app. If not, the other features, such as an ordering widget, detailed analytics reports, and Facebook ordering, are in fact free of charge, regardless of the number of locations you have. Not that $29 dollars is a fortune, either. Well over 20,000 restaurants have chosen Gloria Food as their restaurant food ordering software.
If more integration with Google is what you’re missing in life, ChowNow is here to fill that need. Restaurants using ChowNow’s ordering platforms can take customer orders from a variety of platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Assistant. ChowNow charges $119 per month and a $199 setup fee for each location you decide to use it at. The app does not charge any sort of commission, a rarity in the business, and is used by over 14,000 restaurants worldwide.
That is pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it? Cloud Waitress creates eye-catching websites using your restaurant’s brand colors and images incorporated with pre-made themes that allow restaurants to accept orders placed on any device. This is especially important, seeing as how mobile usage continues to increase. Cloud Waitress itself works on PCs, Android devices and iPads/iPhones. There is a free trial, after which Cloud Waitress costs $39 per month. For all you get, that seems like a great deal.
Covid will hopefully be gone sooner than later, but the online food ordering trend is here to stay. After all, who wouldn’t like getting piping hot food delivered directly to their door? In 2019, experts were predicting that the online food delivery industry would soon be worth $200B, but due to the pandemic, we are likely to see the industry decidedly outperform that prognosis. Make sure you’re ready to get your piece of the pie!