Online ordering has become a permanent fixture of the dining landscape, alongside outdoor heat lamps and fancy hand soap. It provides an additional revenue stream and helps your restaurant connect with customers who might not otherwise place an order. It’s convenient, contactless, and means guests can support their favorite restaurants on their own terms. According to the 2023 State of the Restaurant Industry report from the National Restaurant Association, 55% of consumers say takeout and delivery are essential to the way they live. But it all hinges on an efficient, streamlined restaurant online ordering solution that doesn’t eat into your restaurant’s profits.

Third-party delivery platforms often charge exorbitant 30% - 40% commissions per order, slicing your potential profits and leaving you wondering whether the online ordering juice is worth the squeeze. These platforms come with an army of tablets, cluttering your back-of-house and requiring constant monitoring. Changing an item price or a menu item requires logging in to each platform and doing so manually, leaving room for discrepancies and errors that confuse guests and staff alike. Plus, you miss out on valuable guest data that informs your marketing efforts and helps you create lasting relationships with your guests.

The restaurant industry reports indicates that 55% of consumers would prefer to order directly from the restaurant for delivery, but taking orders over the phone is time-consuming, labor intensive, and error-prone. You need an efficient way to take off-premise orders that increases your revenue without stifling your operation. Thankfully, there’s online ordering.

90% of limited-service, casual, and family dining concepts plan to continue offering delivery

First-party online ordering works in sync with your restaurant point-of-sale system, giving you the control you need to pace orders, adjust menu items and prices, and communicate with your guests while eliminating the need for multiple tablets. Whether you’re implementing online ordering for the first time, or you’re sick of third-party platforms shrinking your profits, see how first-party online ordering can streamline and boost profitability of your restaurant's takeout and delivery.

Save big on commission fees

For every order placed on a third-party platform, you’re sacrificing a significant chunk of your profits. That’s in addition to increasing food and labor costs. Unless you’re operating at an extremely high volume for takeout and delivery, third-party platforms are an unsustainable online ordering fix. By implementing online ordering, you can retain profits and keep online guests coming back to support your restaurant instead of another big name delivery app that places you side by side with your competition.

Retain your guest data

Online ordering can help new customers discover your restaurant. One online order is great, but repeat orders are the key to running a profitable takeout and delivery operation. With third-party orders, guests agree to share their data with the third-party platform—not your restaurant. It means you miss out on the opportunity to reach out to these guests with a marketing email and encourage them to place repeat orders or visit in person. With your own first-party online ordering, you keep the guest data and the ability to stay connected.

Ensure a smooth takeout and delivery operation

Your kitchen is slammed. You’re short staffed. Online ordering can seem like an added burden on your already strapped team. But when it’s implemented correctly, online ordering means your staff can spend less time fiddling with iPads and more time focused on your guests, whether they’re on- or off-premise. With direct online ordering, orders route directly to your restaurant POS, saving your staff the hassle of manually entering orders or troubleshooting a third-party integration. You gain more control over your operations thanks to order pacing, the ability to limit orders or order amounts during a certain time frame. Online ordering can help increase kitchen efficiency while still maximizing sales.

When your guests order online, they can pay with their preferred payment method and even create an account that safely stores their payment information. If you offer delivery, you can still ensure extra convenience while keeping costs low and your entryway clear from multiple drivers. With SpotOn Delivery, you can access the DoorDash delivery network while paying an affordable flat rate fee that can be passed on to guests. Or, if you run an in-house delivery operation, you can integrate your SpotOn Restaurant point-of-sale and online ordering with CaptainAI to manage and optimize delivery routes more effectively.

Expand your web presence

Long gone are the days of print ads and radio commercials. If your restaurant doesn’t have an inviting and professional online presence, it’s going to be hard to compete. Besides the guest convenience of online ordering, it also lets you showcase your menu. Adding beautiful photos and vivid descriptions of your menu items can help draw in guests considering an in-person visit. Plus, through your Google Business Profile, guests can start their order without leaving the search page. Less clicks, more orders.

Online ordering saved Blue Barn over $3,600 a month in labor costs. Plus, their off-premise ordering times were 20 minutes faster. Read the case study here.

Increase takeout and delivery sales

When it comes to implementing something new, you want to choose tech that will move the needle. If you’re new to online ordering, start by optimizing your existing menu to popular dishes that will travel well. Make sure your prices incorporate the cost of takeout containers and delivery, if you’re offering it. Then, be sure to publicize the availability of direct online ordering through your website, Google Business Profile, and marketing content.

How effective can these efforts be? After advertising their direct online ordering via QR code in a nearby hotel, Rick’s Jerk saw a 20% increase in sales.

Online Ordering Marketing Kit for Restaurants

Want to promote your online ordering page to your guests? Our free Online Ordering Marketing Kit has everything you need.

Download the marketing kit

Online ordering is here to stay

While the pandemic accelerated online ordering use for both guests and restaurants alike, the technology has staying power. According to the 2023 industry report, 60% of full-service restaurants say delivery sales are higher now than in 2019 and expect off-premise sales in 2023 to be the same as they were last year. Even restaurant concepts that formerly shied away from online ordering, like fine dining spots, are changing their tune. 79% of fine dining restaurants added delivery during the pandemic and 80% plan to continue. Online ordering can be a powerful tool to boost sales and increase efficiency, all while catering to an overwhelmingly popular guest preference.

Check out our article on how to create online ordering for restaurants or click below to talk to one of our experts and get started.

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