The Different Types Of Online Ordering Systems

Learn about the two different types of online ordering solutions available for food businesses and which to choose from

Published: last year

Choosing an online ordering system to use for your restaurant can be daunting with all the options available. As a restaurant owner, by now you probably have come across two different types of online ordering systems. That is marketplace systems and self-service systems.

While they both fundamentally do the same thing, the business model behind those services have a huge impact on your online ordering performance.

Please keep in mind that the information in this article is only as accurate as the date it was published at. Things are subject to change with time

Marketplace Online Ordering Systems

This is where the bulk majority of restaurant owners start. Marketplace ordering systems are those like Deliveroo, EatNow, Menulog, Uber Eats, Foodpanda etc. You can consider these platforms similar to those like eBay and Etsy.

Generally, these businesses will reach out to you first. They upload your menu online and enable you to start accepting orders straight away. They also do large amounts of promotion and marketing to drive traffic to their website to generate sales for their stores. The way these systems make money is by taking a % of each order that is placed through their system.

While this is generally the easiest route to getting online, it's also the most expensive. The restaurant industry is one of the most competitive industries with low-profit margins. Losing a % of each order, and not just 1-3% but generally 5-20%+ can be very impactful to your financial bottom line.

Most restaurant owners will start off with these services but soon come to this realisation and start looking for alternative solutions.That said though this is not an entirely bad. Ideally, with all the marketing these businesses do, they are able to generate you some new customers that you might not have otherwise had.

That said the reverse situation can be true as well where your regular customers start ordering online through these sites at which point you start losing a large portion of your regular sales.

Self-Service Online Ordering Systems

The rise of the self-service online ordering system is because of its significantly cheaper price compared to marketplace systems. Generally, these systems charge a fixed monthly cost and/or a setup fee. This however works out to be much cheaper than paying a % of each order.

These systems essentially allow you DIY your own online ordering system. You can compare them to e-commerce solutions like Shopify and Bigcommerce.

Aside from the lower cost, the other advantage of these systems is they generally allow for a greater degree of customization and long added features such as performance reports.

These systems generally end up becoming the next choice for most restaurant owners as they see their online business grow due to the massive savings.

So What Type Of System Should You Use?

I believe that the ideal solution is to utilise both types of systems. Marketplace systems cost you nothing to be on and they receive huge amounts of advertising and promotion. To get to be a part of that for no initial cost is a huge benefit. You should view marketplace systems as a way for new customers to find and discover your business

However, once you convert a customer to a loyal regular customer, its best push them towards using your own DIY ordering system. This is because you can save a significant amount of money and also manage the order data appropriately using it to your advantage.

Notable Self-Service Online Ordering Systems

Gloria Food

Gloria food is probably best known for the fact that it's completely free to use and get started. It's feature packed, it has a great menu system, a fantastic online ordering interface and even integrates with your facebook page or WordPress website.

They do charge an additional fee for extra add-ons such as online payment processing.


While I have not tried ChowNow, looking at their website, they seem to have the most polished and feature packed ordering solution on the market. Judging by their website screenshots and pictures, they must have a fantastic ordering and order management interface. That said I do find it odd that there's no live demo which is very sad.

The only issue is their extremely high cost, compared to other systems, they seem to be one of the most expensive ones out there.


Our online ordering solution! All the information about our system is right here on this site.

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