Best Online Ordering Systems in 2021 for Takeaway and Delivery

Spend less time researching and more time boosting your business with our review of the best online ordering systems in 2021 for takeaway and delivery.

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The COVID pandemic has ravaged the hospitality sector, with almost 1 in 5 hospitality businesses (19%) having “low confidence” that their business would survive the next 3 months, according to a recent ONS report. Many pubs, coffee shops and restaurants have adapted their business model to provide delivery and takeaway services, in order to continue trading through the onslaught of lockdowns the UK has endured over the past year.

They have done this through the use of online ordering systems. Simply put, these are systems that allow businesses to take orders and accept payments from customers online, via a specific app or website. This technology has provided a vital income stream to the struggling hospitality sector, with around 25 million online food delivery consumers in the UK in 2020. 

The obvious next step for any hospitality business is to implement its own online ordering system, to capitalise on this exponential growth of online delivery users. But with so many products available, how can you be sure you’re choosing the right one for your business needs?

Luckily, our dedicated team of experts have done the hard work for you, and produced a questionnaire identifying which ordering system is right for you. All it takes is answering a few simple questions!

After analysing hundreds of relevant products, we’ve produced an in-depth review to inform you about the best online ordering systems currently available, focusing on key aspects such as pricing, compatibility, and integration.

Comparing the Best Online Ordering Systems

0 out of 0
Logo
Best for
Compatibility
Pricing

Customer Service

Reporting & Insight

Affordability

Features

Integration

Windows, Android, Mac & iPad/iOS

Windows, Android, Mac & iPad/iOS

Apple iPad or Square Register

Apple iPad

Apple iPad/iOS

£350 Per Year

£25 Per Month
£379 Per Year

Standard Plan – Free
Plus Plan – £69 Per Month

£38 Per Month

£708 Per Year + £19 Per Month for Online Ordering

Online ordering systems are typically synonymous with order and pay apps, otherwise known as table ordering apps. This technology allows a customer to order through a native app (i.e. one downloaded onto a mobile), or a web-based app accessed by scanning a QR code that takes you to an online version of the establishment's menu. We’ve written an extensive guide on order and pay apps if you want to learn more.

Flipdish

online-ordering-takeaway-flipdish

Best for: Small businesses who want reliable, efficient customer service and a simple, easy to use interface compatible on a variety of operating systems.

Compatibility: Cloud based – Windows, Android, Mac, iPhone, and Tablet.

Flipdish uses branded ordering apps and websites to help small hospitality businesses gain control of their sales and marketing channels. The system is highly reputable and consistently applauded by customers for it’s brilliant 24/7 customer service, as well as its easy to use interface.

The product features include in-depth reporting and real time sales analytics through your own Flipdish portal, a well crafted rewards program for retaining your customers, heat mapping, push notifications for improved sales and marketing, and role-based permissions for effective operations management. It's an extremely comprehensive digital ordering solution that covers several sales channels, including websites, mobile apps, in-store kiosks, Google, and order and pay apps. 

Pricing: 

  • £350 per year (Price varies depending on location). 
  • No fixed monthly costs, with commission rate dependent on order volume.
  • 2.5% card processing fee, plus customer fee of 50p per transaction.

Pros: 

  • Create your own branded app or website in minutes – Flipdish offers a wide range of brand templates that are optimised to enhance the customer's online ordering experience, making your business seem professional and appealing. You can also easily amalgamate your current website if you have one.
  • Integratable with hundreds of backend operations and POS systems – Flipdish is ideal for businesses who want to easily incorporate online ordering software into an established POS setup. Flipdish's integration partners include Lightspeed, Oracle MICROS, and Square POS, while the company also offers its own Flipdish POS terminal.
  • Managed marketing service for your business – Unlike other competitors, Flipdish has experts on hand to give you better visibility and help build your brand through loyalty and retention campaigns. The full suite includes acquisition, loyalty, retention, and discounts/vouchers – and better still, this extra support comes at no additional cost.
  • The ‘Flipdish Portal’ gives you access to reports and sales growth – A great tool for analysing business performance, the portal captures an abundance of customer and sales data, which you can filter into useful infographics. You can also make menu updates across all digital channels in a matter of seconds.

Cons:   

  • The Flipdish android terminal app (for receiving online orders in store) does not support ticket printouts, which could pose a problem for business operations. You should also keep in mind if choosing Flipdish that the commission rate on orders increases depending on sales volume.

Feeling like there’s a lot to consider? Want a simpler, faster way to single out the best online ordering system for your small business?

Our custom-built comparison tool can save you loads of time researching. It takes a few minutes before pairing you with the right provider for your business needs. You’ll receive quotes and information, and the best thing is that there's zero obligation on your part.

Epos Now

Best for: Business reporting and insight. Great for small businesses using data to reduce costs.

Compatibility: Cloud based – Windows, Mac, Android, and iPad.

This cloud-based software provider specialises in electronic point of sale systems, but also encompasses reporting, CRM for small retail and hospitality businesses, and online ordering for takeaway and delivery.

Epos Now's takeaway ordering system includes simple onboarding and staff training e-modules at no extra cost. The product also boasts a range of great features, including real-time reporting on staff, customers, and stock. The system can be used standalone, or it can be connected to hundreds of apps, including payment systems and accounting software.

Pricing: 

  • £25 per month.
  • £379 per year.

Pros: 

  • No app needed – The software is web based, meaning customers can simply scan a QR code to browse the menu, make an order, and pay. The system is compatible with all web browsers.
  • Flexible functionality with the digital menu – Upsell items through the ‘extras’ option and offer promotions with timed menus, offers, and bulk discounts. Menu can be fully customised with modifiers and preferences, making it easy to add dietary requirements and other additional information.
  • Remote access – The Epos Now system can be accessed anywhere to view sales analytics and reports, and check the progress of online orders.
  • In-depth reporting – The system comes with a filter to identify best sellers and non-sellers, for smarter promotions and item pricing.
  • Hardware included in cost – Touch Screen EPOS terminal, cash drawer, and printer included – everything you need to manage your takeaway business.
  • Intuitive inventory management software – The software can track inventory in real-time, right down to the ingredient level. It can also automate purchase orders and stock levels, so you'll never run out of what you need.

Cons: 

  • You have to pay for a support subscription for a higher level of customer service. Without this subscription, the support isn’t as efficient as with other competitors, with increased wait times for call backs according to Trustpilot reviews.

Square POS for Restaurants

square online website ordering systems

Best for: Affordability – the free plan available has lots of great features, while Square's Plus plan is cheaper than other competitors.

Compatibility: Cloud based – iPad or Square Register.

Square POS for Restaurants is part of an umbrella of cloud-based Square apps that also includes Square POS for Retail and Square Point of Sale. Considering the platform is low cost, or even free in some cases, it comes with a range of brilliant additional sales features – these include gift cards for customers, a virtual terminal for taking payments over the phone, and an online store builder, for small businesses that are starting out or fully rebranding before offering takeaway services.

Keep in mind that the system only works with iPads or a Square Register, the latter of which will set you back £600 + VAT. You could try the Square Point of Sale system, which is compatible with Android, but way too simple for takeaway operations.

Pricing:

  • Free
  • Plus Plan – £69 per month (30-day free trial)
  • Premium Plan – negotiable monthly cost (30-day free trial)
  • 1.75% card processing fee

Pros:

  • Flexibility – Since there's no fixed term contract, and no monthly fee for the tools at your disposal, Square is a great option for those businesses who aren’t sure what the future holds (it has been a tough year!).
  • 24/7 customer support on the Plus plan – Customer support is available 9am-5pm Monday to Friday on the free plan, but you'll have access to 24 hour support every day with the Plus and Premium plans.
  • Can be integrated with Deliverect Deliverect enables businesses to receive orders direct to their EPOS system from sales channels including JustEat, Deliveroo and UberEats, meaning all your orders are managed in one place and on one device.
  • Square Online ordering page has multiple features and functionality – Square's ordering page can easily integrate items from your Square POS Restaurant system into the Square Online site builder, which has an abundance of design options. You can add a tip option, stagger orders, and add multiple payment options, including Apple Pay and Google Pay.
  • Square Kitchen Display System – The display system reduces waste with digital tickets, while all orders can be managed from one screen for increased efficiency. You can customise ticket layouts, timers, and notifications to fit your kitchen’s unique setup. Square can also produce reports and insight on prep time, so you can analyse where you need to speed things up. The display system is £15 per device on the Square free plan, but is included as standard in other plans.

Cons:

  • The system is only compatible with iPads or with Square Register, which is very limiting for small businesses who use other operating methods.
  • Back of house reporting isn’t as efficient as with other competitors.

Good Till Company

Best for: Small businesses who want a streamlined, single platform approach. Also best for businesses who want the versatility that comes with adding and removing additional features in response to their business needs.

Compatibility: Cloud based – iPad

Acquired by tech giants SumUp in November 2020, the Good Till Co is a reputable POS systems company that uses a modular software model. This means that its online ordering system Goodeats functions as an add-on feature, designed to work with the basic Good Till Co POS system you must install before purchasing additional features. The Good Till POS software is only available on iPad, but comes at a very reasonable price of just £29 per month. The Goodeats add-on for online ordering is free, and fully integrates with the Good Till POS menu so customers can easily order online. You’ll want to purchase the ‘hospitality’ add-on, as you are running a small business – this includes table and tab management.

Pricing:

  • £38 per month for the Good Till POS system and Hospitality add-on (Hospitality module costs £9 per month)
  • Goodeats online ordering feature – free

Pros:

  • Additional feature rich modules that can be tailored to your business needs – You can modify the Good Till system to include some brilliant extra features. The hospitality module comes with table and tab management, whilst the Advanced Promotions module helps you upsell online and with ease by adding offers such as ‘buy one, get one free’, coupons, and gift cards.
  • No cost for online ordering solution ‘Goodeats’ – you only have to pay for the standard price plan of the POS system.
  • Operates even without Wi-Fi – the Good Till hospitality software program will continue to function even if Wi-Fi is down, which is good to know in the event of any network problems during peak operating hours.
  • Entirely web based – There's no need for customers to download an app, since Goodeats comes with a free URL unique to your website. 
  • Competitive ordering rates – the commission fee per delivery transaction is only 2.7% + 12p, which is very reasonable compared to other competitors. You also get the first £1,000 of transactions free of charge.

Cons:

  • You must agree to a 12-month contract – meaning there's little flexibility once you've signed up.
  • Not compatible with Android, and you'll have to pay additional costs for third party integration with platforms such as Xero (accounting) and Zettle (payment).
  • Depending on your business needs, the module add-ons can become costly, which isn’t great if you're trying to be more careful with your spending.

Comparing all these providers is difficult, right? Even with our extensive guide, you might still be unsure as to which online ordering system is suitable for your business needs. So why not remove the need for confusion by using our comparison tool to find the best product for you?

The form has been developed by our team of experts, who have more than twenty years' experience in the startup industry and will partner you with the best providers in the UK.

Lightspeed Restaurant

Best for: Small businesses who want to amalgamate their online ordering with other applications, including accounting software and POS systems like Zettle. Also brilliant for producing customer-focused online menus with lots of modifiers and multiple features.

Compatibility: Cloud based – iPad, iOS. 

Lightspeed prides itself on having created a POS and online ordering system specifically designed for restaurant and takeaway businesses. What it has done perfectly is provide an almost limitless number of item modifiers, which can be used on its Order Anywhere feature for delivery and takeaway service. Businesses can create profitable combo menus and highlight best sellers, whilst giving their customers the option to fully customise their meals.

The system also boasts a hefty 250 possible integrations, including platforms for accounting, delivery, and loyalty programmes. The user interface is slick and easy to use, and customizable user permissions give you full control over employees’ access to your system. There is also a free onboarding service for your business and its employees to take advantage of.

Pricing:

£708 per year and £19 per month for Order Anywhere.

Pros:

  • Advanced, helpful features for online ordering and customer management – Users can create and update their menus with photos and descriptions of products, whilst also incorporating cooking options and toppings into the menu, which will automatically factor into the cost of the product.
  • Large selection of third party integrations – Lightspeed can integrate its online ordering system with over 250 integration partners, and is another system that uses Deliverect to enhance order management by placing all takeaway orders into a single workflow from UberEats and Deliveroo.
  • Fully-featured offline mode – Lightspeed guarantees a fully uninterrupted service, so if your network goes down during a busy shift, the system will continue to work.
  • Interface is easy to use – The system is visually and practically simple. It looks great, and when using the back office ‘dashboard’ section, you can choose your preferred widgets (business insights) to improve efficiency of reporting.
  • Training videos included – There are several in depth training demos included to help you understand and get the most out of the Lightspeed system.
  • Excellent customer support – There's 24/7 phone support, emails queries are responded to by the next working day, and live chat is offered 9am-6pm every day.

Cons:

  • Lightspeed is definitely more expensive than the majority of its competitors, especially as you need to include the Order Anywhere software. Factor this in when considering your budget for introducing online ordering into your business.
  • Lightspeed card processing fees are higher than other competitors', at 2.6% + 20p per transaction.

Choosing the Best Online Ordering System for Your Business: Next Steps

After reading this article, you should be feeling confident about the different products available, and the key benefits each can provide for your business. Now, you need to consider which of these systems can play an integral role in your business' success.

If you are new to the hospitality sector and Cloud-based POS systems, for example, you’ll want to look at providers who offer 24/7 support. If money is tight and your business needs to make financial gains, you may want to prioritise a service that will minimise costs, and so on.

We understand it isn’t easy to analyse all the information provided, but by using our online ordering system comparison tool, we can partner you up with some of the best suppliers in the industry. The form will only take a minute of your time, and will save you hours of additional research.

This article has concentrated solely on takeaway and delivery systems. However, we have also produced a comprehensive guide to setting up click and collect for your hospitality business, which is a must read for small hospitality businesses.

Ross has been writing for Startups since May 2021, covering everything from merchant accounts to hybrid working, office telephone systems to takeaway and delivery apps.

He's also written for travel magazine Conde Nast and the NME and is passionate about music, travelling, and crisps (a definite crisp addict). Follow him on Twitter @startupsross for helpful business tips.

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