There are many online ordering platforms out there. With the growing rise of food costs and the colossal commission percentages of third-party delivery platforms, more and more restaurants are turning to an online ordering system for their own website.
During the pandemic, online food ordering has become almost a staple, and the popularity of ordering online is only growing each year. We look at ten top online ordering platforms for restaurants you might consider, even if you do pickup orders only. Here is a list of top online ordering platforms for restaurants that are independent and offer white label solutions without the insanely high commission fees.
I talked to Alonso, the cofounder of ordering.co online during the pandemic in 2020. Ordering.co is a leading enterprise-level platform for many top restaurant chains such as Chilis, Dominos, KFC and Starbucks. They have a star-studded list of recognizable brands, no doubt. However, their plans start at USD 199 per location for their entry-level “essential plan” and $599 per month for the premium bundle. They are a Whitelabel solution that offers an online ordering website and native app without charging commission fees. For more info, please visit the site and talk to their chat support team.
Vancouver-based company Di Develop does not have any startup costs but offers a 10% to 12% commission fee on each order. Although they are Whitelabel, most of the Di Develop websites follow the same layout. For most restaurants, the fees of 10% on each order will start to add up significantly. Even with minimal or no marketing, most restaurants can achieve $1000/month in pickup orders. Depending on the number of orders you have, Di Develop may be inexpensive, but only because you are not getting many orders. Of course, if you have a restaurant website, your goal is to probably get lots of orders online for as little fees as possible. If you are a restaurant with a high average order value ( such as many Chinese and Japanese restaurants ) or are a pizza place doing your own delivery, expect to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars each month in ordering commission fees.
Shopify is traditionally an eCommerce platform. You will most likely need the help of a developer and pay for a template to get any resemblance of a restaurant-looking website. Shopify also has some pretty steep prices starting at USD 29/month for basic Shopify and increasing up to $299/month for all the advanced features. The $29/month is basically just for the privilege to use Shopify with your own domain. There will also be a 2.9% processing fee for each transaction.
Nevertheless, Shopify has a vast pool of developers and partners to help you build your dream restaurant website. If they are a Shopify partner, consider using their account to negotiate development fees. They will get a commission percentage ( ~20% of the revenue you pay to Shopify). With Shopify alone, you will also have trouble getting the order notifications in real-time. The orders will get alerted and sent to your email, and you will have to make sure you monitor that.
A restaurant-specific product right out of the box and the least expensive on the list so far. It starts at USD 45/month with real-time order notifications, online payments and analytics. The premium plan is USD 85/month, including a mobile app and order notifications through the printer. They also offer a slight discount if you choose to bill yearly. You can view the transparent pricing plans directly on their website
Toast is a POS system first which offers online ordering. The advantage of this is you will have the all-in-one Point of Sale system with your online order. The essentials plan starts at USD 165/month, with premium add-ons like Marketing, Gift Cards and Loyalty. There will also be payment processing fees on every order. Their payment breakdown is 2.69%, with a breakdown on their website.
With Squarespace, you get a commerce plan at USD 26/month. However, this is a general commerce plan, and similar to Shopify, you will need to use the platform to build your website. They have Stripe, and Paypal integrations and the processing fees for these gateway providers still apply. On the website, it says that there is a 3% transaction fee on the business plan. That will go on top of the processing fees from Stripe. So in Canada, in 2021, the current processing fees were 2.9% + .30 per transaction for Stripe.
Woocommerce is open source meaning anyone can contribute. You are not limited to platform restrictions and will most likely need a hosting company (i.e. Go Daddy and the help of a web developer or designer to build your restaurant website ). WordPress is probably the lowest-cost long-term (depending on the hosting and developer fees), but there will probably be a higher upfront cost. You will also need a skilled developer and probably a few premium plugins to ensure a good user experience. Expect a monthly fee ranging from $10 to $50+ /month for a custom build, including premium plugins. A cheap/cheaper solution may detriment your online website and presence and cost you more in lost orders. It is especially true if you use a cheap bloated template, slow hosting, or your site is not SEO optimized. Note there is a difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. We recommend the latter as it offers much more control and options through a hosting company.
WIX Online Ordering
The WIX online ordering add-on, according to their reviews section, needs some work. This premium plugin is ~ $23/month on top of your current WIX plan. Top complaints include loading speed issues and not being mobile-friendly. If you are a loyal fan of WIX, you probably may want to give it a try as it is a relatively small fee, but it might take some time to set up and get all your menu items and menu logic built-in.
ChowNow offers online ordering for restaurants, but you will need to book a demo first with a salesperson and then pay upfront to see how it works. They offer a $399 setup fee per location and $ USD 199/month. You will get an account manager to help you set up the website and add your restaurant to the ChowNow mobile app, among other features. The ChowNow mobile app is 100% commission-free, though you still need to pay the standard online processing fees.
Chinese Menu Online
Chinese menu online provides you with a free website along with SEO and a dedicated account manager. They also will help you with menu management and offers domain, hosting and business analytics and insights. You pay 5% per order with Chinese Menu Online. They also have no hidden costs and no long-term contracts. Orders will get sent to a tablet or printer, and they also have optional paid services like paid marketing and app development.
Which Independent Online Ordering Platform Should You Choose?
We have covered some of the top online ordering platforms for restaurants and that offer much lower fees than the typical third-party delivery companies. If you are looking to increase your orders online with the onset of the explosive growth of online ordering you have many choices.
If you are interested in using a robust online ordering platform with no commission fees, a dedicated account manager, branded website and/or app and marketing for a low fixed cost, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org