A guide to order and pay apps
What is an order and pay app, and how can it help your hospitality business?
Under many guises, including table service app, restaurant ordering app, food ordering app, and pub ordering app, the order and pay app is a tool that has helped hospitality businesses revolutionise the way they serve food during the pandemic.
Enabling customers to browse the menu and order at their table, while also allowing them to order takeaway and delivery from home, order and pay apps have allowed pubs to diversify their sales channels.
Order and pay apps aren’t a new concept. Popular pub chain Wetherspoons unveiled its restaurant ordering app to a rapturous reception all the way back in 2017. By January 2018, its app saw revenue grow by 3.6% to £830.4m, while like-for-like sales rose by 6.1%.
Despite its success, other pubs and restaurants were reluctant to roll out their own versions of the app, with the general consensus being that order and pay apps would take away the essence of the hospitality industry – excellent customer service.
But times have changed since 2017 – owed mostly to the recent coronavirus pandemic – and now pubs and restaurants are looking to order and pay apps to help them decrease contact time, increase efficiency, and offer delivery and click and collect services.
Order and pay apps can be native, hosted on the web, or operated through your point of sale (POS) system.
A native app means the customer downloads the app onto their mobile device.
A web-based app is hosted on a browser, and requires a QR code or a link to access it.
A POS-based app involves setting up a digital store, which can be accessed via a QR code or link.
In this guide, we’ll explain what an order and pay app is, what features you can expect to benefit from, how it works, and provide you with a range of supplier options.
By the end of the guide, you should have all the information you need to decide on whether an order and pay app is the right move for your business – and if it is, the kind of app you should be investing in.
What is an order and pay app?
Order and pay apps give your business an online presence, and can be used instead of or alongside a restaurant website and POS system. They give customers the means to view your menu, order, and pay, all from their mobile device. Customers can use the app to order at their table, click and collect, or have their food delivered.
We answer the all important ‘what is an order and pay app?’ question and clue you into more benefits in the video below:
Order and pay apps can be simple or sophisticated, and you can often pick from a range of features. So make sure you compare apps and providers to ensure you’re investing in the best app for the best price.
The benefits of order at table apps
Order at table apps come with a host of logistical and financial benefits. As seen in the case of the Wetherspoons app, order and pay apps can help to increase profit.
They also enable customers to order and pay without leaving the table, which frees up waiters and waitresses, and reduces traffic around the premises.
Here are just a few benefits of order and pay apps:
Sababa tells us how its order and pay app has benefitted the restaurant
Fetch is a restaurant ordering app used by several restaurants across London, and Soho-based Sababa is one of them. We got in touch with the busy Middle Eastern-inspired restaurant to talk about the benefits it’s experienced since investing in its order and pay app.
What is a web-based order and pay app?
A web-based or browser-based order and pay app is usually accessed via a QR code. There’s a trend that web-based apps are preferred by customers, as they require far less faff on arrival and don’t take up device storage space.
There are lots of white label suppliers out there that enable you to set up your branded browser-based order and pay app for free, only charging you per order. These apps are generally cheaper than native apps, as they don’t need to be compatible with iOS or Android operating systems. However, they don’t offer the same advanced level of functionality.
Web-based order and pay app supplier – Wi5
What is a native order and pay app?
A native order and pay app is developed in whichever coding language is required for a certain operating system. If you were to develop a native order and pay app for your hospitality business, you’d need to make sure it’s compatible with both Android and iOS operating systems.
Native apps need to be downloaded onto a device from an app store, which isn’t always popular with customers. However, native apps have the potential to be far more intelligent than browser-based apps, giving you the option to add functions like push notifications and location detector technology.
A cost-effective and simple way of investing in native app technology is by using a third party white label supplier. Usually, there’s a small set up fee, then you’re charged a small percentage per transaction made through the app.
Native order and pay app supplier – Loke
What is a POS operated order and pay app?
While there are plenty of order and pay apps that integrate with POS or restaurant management software, there is a way for people to order and pay using the technology that you already have. An alternative to traditional order and pay apps, customers head to a digital menu via a QR code to make their order. The order is then processed and managed through your POS software app. POS order and pay tends to be used in a click and collect or delivery capacity, rather than order at table.
POS order and pay app – Square POS
How to get a restaurant ordering app for your hospitality business
First, you need to work out which type of order and pay app is best for your business.
You may be trying to work out which one matches your business model, or which one is friendliest on your back pocket, or which one integrates with your restaurant POS system. Well, nothing beats talking to suppliers directly and comparing their products and prices.
We’ve teamed up with a bunch of reputable order and pay app suppliers who’d be more than happy to discuss your needs. Whether you're after a restaurant ordering app, table service app, or even an app for online ordering, our partners will have a product to suit your needs.
To ensure we put you in touch with an ordering app supplier that offers the right product, we recommend that you have a look at our short questionnaire. Filling it in will give our team of POS experts the basic information they need. Once you’ve done that, you can sit back and wait for the suppliers to contact you.
If you already have an EPOS system, you may want to get in touch with your provider. Chances are, they’ll be able to recommend an app that already integrates with your point of sale system, so you can then channel all of your orders into one place. You may even decide that you don’t need an app – instead, talk to them about setting up click and collect and delivery options through your online store.
Order at table app features
Order and pay apps offer hospitality businesses a whole host of features that they can pick and choose from to create the ideal tool for customers to order their food. Let’s have a look at some of the most popular order and pay app features in more detail.
Sophisticated menu functionality
Customers can select whether they would like their food ordered to the table, whether they want to collect it, or whether they would like to have it delivered. You can choose which options you want to offer. But bear in mind only native apps and POS order and pay setups allow customers to order offsite.
Order and pay app costs
Order and pay app costs vary, depending on whether you’re looking for a web-based app, a native app, or whether you’re looking to use your point of sale software’s ecommerce functionality.
Building your own native app (like Wetherspoons has) is the most expensive option, while for web-based apps and order and pay functionality through your POS system, pricing models usually work on a per transaction basis, rather than an upfront cost.
While costs vary per supplier, we’ve given you an idea of what you can expect to pay or be charged in the table below. Don’t take this table as gospel – make sure you talk to suppliers for an accurate cost.
Order and pay apps: guide summary
To summarise, order and pay apps enable hospitality businesses to provide order at table, click and collect, and delivery services. As a result of investing in order and pay apps, businesses can see an increase in profit, offer a safer eating experience, and benefit from a range of different revenue streams, should the premises have to close.
There are three types of order and pay services – web-based, native, and through an online store like Square Online. While it is super expensive to use a developer to build your own app, there are plenty of white label solutions out there that’ll allow you to create a sophisticated app with your own branding.
These solutions can include a setup fee, and then you’re charged a percentage of each transaction made through the app. Use our comparison tool to find out and compare fees from a range of order and pay app providers.
Order and pay apps FAQs
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions concerning order and pay apps.
Do order and pay apps facilitate order at table?
Yes, both native and browser-based order and pay apps give customers the option to order at their table.
Are order and pay apps easy to set up?
Yes! You don’t need to develop an order and pay app from scratch – although you can if you want to! Research white label third party suppliers who’ll be able to get your order and pay app live in a matter of days.
Are order and pay apps expensive?
Only if you want to develop your own order and pay app from scratch. Using third party hosts is much more cost-effective.
Do order and pay apps integrate with POS systems?
Absolutely. But check which POS systems are compatible with the order and pay app you’re looking at before you commit.
How do order and pay apps integrate with POS systems?
Both systems share data via the cloud, or can be integrated using an API (application programming interface).