How To Choose The Right Online Ordering Platform For Your Restaurant

In the 1989 film “A Field Of Dreams”, an Iowa corn farmer heard a voice saying: “If you build it, they will come.” However, in the world of online ordering, unless you drive customers to your eCommerce platform, chances are they won’t come. With so much competition from different platforms, it may be hard for restaurant owners and aspiring restaurateurs to make a decision. A pre-built eCommerce platform may sound appealing at first, but there are other factors to consider before you decide what’s a good fit.

If you’re running into such a struggle, here’s a clearer picture on 3 types of eCommerce solutions and what would they mean for your business.

Generic eCommerce Solution: Shopify  

In case you haven’t been acquainted, Shopify is one of the leading eCommerce platforms right now. It is what we would call a generic eCommerce solution, made for all kinds of retail businesses. From the listing of products, organising storefront to accepting online payments — you name it, they have it. However, when it comes to the customisation of shopping carts, Shopify’s platform has a lot of limitations. If retail owners want to make minor changes to their set-up, they are unable to do so without making an entire customisation.

What this means for F&B merchants: We all know that to keep up with consumer demands, menus, concepts and even operations, have to be tweaked to stay fresh. However, committing to staying fresh becomes more of a hassle when you have to create actions such as changing a menu description, a restaurant promotion or even update your menu when required. There are no features to allow for pre-ordering, setting of lead time, minimum order, delivery zone, or delivery fees. And these are basic features that would ease up your F&B operations, tremendously. Shopify is a great generic eCommerce solution which works for most online businesses, but perhaps less so for F&B merchants.

Marketplace Solution: Foodpanda

From a customer’s perspective, Foodpanda’s strength might be in their ability to provide delivery from a wide variety of restaurants. But take a closer look from a merchant’s perspective.

If your restaurant is new and upcoming, Foodpanda is a great marketing channel for you to drive new customers to your restaurant. However, restaurateurs using Foodpanda’s service in the long run tend to find themselves on the losing end.

Firstly, the commission Foodpanda receives per transaction is a whopping sum, as customers continue to return to your restaurant. Also, in terms of order management, restaurateurs are unable to track and consolidate delivery/takeaway orders from this platform. For instance, say you have an incoming order. You’d only be notified of the order as it happens. If you’re currently manually collating orders with a pen and paper, this is only going to add on to the already inefficient process, instead of streamlining your operations.

What this means for F&B merchants: Foodpanda is most suitable for F&B owners who are looking at short-term boosts, with the aim of improving traffic and volume of orders. As your goals change in the long run, you might be looking for options that can cater to your operational needs.

Restaurant-first eCommerce Solution: Oddle

We don’t mean to blow our own horn, but our solution is tailored for restaurateurs that are keen on bringing their brands online. Oddle is an eCommerce solution that sets out to not only resolve the pain points of setting up an online channel, but also seamlessly syncing order management processes with restaurants’ operations.

With a backend order management system to help restaurateurs better manage their online business, restaurant owners are able to say, set a lead time to ensure sufficient preparation and plan resources for incoming orders. With integrated features such as ‘Advanced Orders’ for instance, they are able to set the priority of orders according to delivery dates and allow for a more systematic approach towards preparation.

When it comes to island-wide delivery services, Oddle provides logistics support through partnerships with 3rd party vendors. Instead of seeking your own food delivery service or attempt to build your own logistics structure (which is totally possible, but potentially costly!), restaurateurs could simply tap on the Oddle ecosystem.

What this means for F&B merchants: F&B owners are provided with an integrated solution that streamlines and automates various operational processes into one platform. If F&B owners are looking at growing their online ordering business, they could slice and dice the data from customer transactions and decide how best to increase sales.

Many restaurateurs make the mistake of not defining their goals, wants and needs before they choose to take their business online. Be sure to select the platform that not only best suits your budget, but caters to your need and growth strategy as a brand or organisation. All the best!

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