9 Best Online Ordering Systems for Restaurants [2024]

Compare the best online ordering solutions available with key features and real customer reviews to choose the best fit for your specific needs.

11 min read
March 21, 2024

Key takeaways

  • Online ordering systems for restaurants make it easier for customers to order food, boosting sales and customer satisfaction.
  • The best systems offer features like simple menus, easy ordering and options for both pickup and delivery without extra fees.
  • Each system has its own specialty, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Determine your priorities, like custom web designs or increased online sales, and find the service that best meets your needs. 
  • Including a loyalty program and smart upsells (like sides and dessert suggestions) in the online ordering system keeps customers coming back and ordering more.

Every restaurant is different, with various services, products and goals. So, if you want to increase your sales and choose the best online ordering system for your restaurant, you have to start with your individual needs. 

We’ve been in the business for a while. After working with thousands of individual restaurants, we understand that there are several services to choose from with different pricing structures, marketing features and add-ons that make narrowing down your options confusing. 

That experience also means we know a thing or two about online orders. While we have our own online ordering software for takeout and delivery, we’re the first to say it’s not the best fit for everyone’s priorities. 

We still want to help you succeed. So, we’ve applied our experience and knowledge, consulted actual reviews from restaurant owners and pulled our favorite online ordering solutions based on specific restaurant needs. 

We’ll cover:

  • The best choice to increase online sales
  • The best system for your POS
  • Online ordering for upscale restaurants
  • Tips for dine-in spots to get started
  • Ordering solutions for new restaurants

1. Owner.com 

Best for: Increasing online sales

Our number one priority is to increase direct online orders for your restaurant with a great website and smart marketing. And if you’re already earning thousands of dollars a month with delivery apps, Owner.com will help you save on commission fees by getting customers to order through your website instead of downloading the other guys’ apps. 


Beyond boosting your profit margins on existing orders, we designed our products to increase conversion rates so more of your site visitors complete an order in the first place. In fact, our online ordering system converts as well as any third-party app (without the commission costs), and we convert 2x-4x better than an average restaurant website.

How do we do it? We bake in high-value features to turn your website into a direct order machine. Our sales-focused website designs, custom mobile app and automated marketing work together to:

  • Improve conversions by promoting popular items with easy-to-use sites to encourage people to add items to their cart ASAP, making them more likely to complete an order. 
  • Increase average ticket size with “commonly paired items” and final recommendations at checkout to boost customer carts and your profit sizes.
  • Save on commission fees since your customers pay less fees and restaurant markups, and you keep more of your profit instead of paying out third-party apps.
Screenshots of Owner.com websites show promoted item features that boost sales.

These strategies worked wonders for Timirie Shibley, owner of Doo-Dah Diner, who said:

“We’ve more than doubled our direct online sales since starting. I didn’t think having our own app would work, but our regulars love it and use it constantly.”

That said, Owner.com isn’t for everyone. Our features were designed to grow online sales first and foremost. It’s best for taking your orders from 1 to 10, rather than 0 to 1, and is not ideal for new establishments or restaurants just beginning to offer online orders. 

It’s also not as full service as other products that offer online reservations or highly-customized site designs, like BentoBox.

Key features:

  • Online Ordering and Delivery: For direct orders on your website with smart features, including top item suggestions and pre-checkout recommendations to increase order sizes.
  • Sales-focused Website Builder: Enjoy a website designed to attract new customers through Google with strategic sales features like call-to-actions, social proof and online ordering to increase new orders.
  • Branded Mobile App: Offer a unique mobile app to convert new customers to regulars with loyalty points, promotional offers and easy ordering on the go. 
  • Automated Marketing: Collect customer data, automatically promote products and promotions, and run SMS and email marketing campaigns to keep customers coming back. 

Real Customer Reviews

Category Rating
Overall 5.0
Ease of Use 4.9
Customer Service 5.0
Value for Money 4.8
Rating source

Restaurant Owners Like:

“Our customers are ordering and using online more and more. It's easy, and we have the opportunity to provide great promotions.”

Restaurant Owners Want To See:

“I think there are a few features that need to be added, but I think that's the beauty of this … they actually want my feedback on what to add and have already added things that we needed.”

2. Toast 

Best for: Toast POS Users

Toast POS is a restaurant management system that extends its capabilities to a powerful online ordering system. 

If you already use its POS system and increasing online sales isn’t your main goal, Toast is a great choice. Especially if you’re already well-established with a large local fan base or you prioritize dine-in over takeout services. 

Toast is an all-in-one solution that combines point of sale, online ordering and delivery management for a seamless experience that benefits your restaurant operators and customers.

Toast is a solid choice if you’re looking for more than an online ordering system and want to keep all of your software solutions to one service provider. It’s a little over the top if you just need to offer direct orders.

Screenshot of Toast's online ordering product page.

Key features:

  • Tableside Ordering and Checkout: Toast POS offers mobile ordering and payment processing at the table. However, payment processing is unavailable offline, which could limit your business if you experience unreliable internet connections.
  • Online Ordering and Delivery: The system enables online orders and real-time delivery tracking for restaurants without their own delivery drivers. Access to online ordering requires a subscription to one of the larger paid plans.
  • Analytics: From sales to labor and inventory, Toast offers restaurant owners notification updates to keep operations tightly managed so you stay on budget and well stocked.

Real Customer Reviews

Category Rating
Overall 4.2
Ease of Use 4.3
Customer Service 3.7
Rating source

Online ordering isn’t Toast’s focus, and there aren’t a lot of customer reviews that specifically mention these features. Toast does integrate with other online ordering systems like Owner.com, so you can mix-and-match providers to find the perfect fit.

However, many owners seem to agree that the system is user friendly with a robust selection of additional features once it’s up and running, but set up and customer service support leave something to be desired. 

Restaurant Owners Like:

“The whole package is easy to use and provides a huge amount of valuable information. It also helps build sales with ordering and marketing options (some of which are at additional cost).”

Restaurant Owners Want To See:

“The initial installation required us to do a great deal of the set-up work, which required outside technical help. It also would have been nice to have someone present for an extra day or two to help with errors and changes. I am interested in rolling out Toast Order and Pay, but Toast can't locate a similar restaurant for me to model, which is causing delays in using this feature.”

3. BentoBox 

Best for: Upscale restaurants

BentoBox is a restaurant marketing platform that prioritizes design and aesthetic in their restaurant websites. We sometimes recommend this solution for upscale and dine-in restaurants if the owner’s top priority is great design.

However, it doesn’t have all the marketing bells and whistles that more casual restaurants benefit from. Some BentoBox customers partner with other providers like Toast for their online ordering instead, so they still receive high-value features like loyalty programs and mobile apps to help increase their sales volume. 

But if your main priority is a lasting first impression with great site design, BentoBox is an excellent choice.

BentoBox product page screenshot highlights marketing and commerce features.

Key features:

  • Simple Integration: The online ordering experience extends the restaurant's brand, offering a consistent look and feel that matches the in-person dining experience. It's designed to be mobile-friendly, allowing customers to order conveniently from any device, and it centralizes orders through one unified URL for multi-location restaurants.
  • Sales and Inventory Management: The platform allows for real-time inventory updates, lets guests know about item availability on your online menu and streamlines the checkout process with various payment options. Restaurants can also drive sales by creating promo codes and loyalty programs.
  • Marketing Automation: Comes with built-in marketing tools, including direct integrations with social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, email marketing campaigns and feedback collection through SMS and email, all manageable through free social media templates.

Real Customer Reviews

Category Rating
Overall 4.4
Ease of Use 4.4
Customer Service 4.3
Value for Money 4.1
Rating source

Restaurant Owners Like:

“The websites look great, the content is easy to update, and when we have something to say, we're able to say it directly to our audience.”

Restaurant Owners Want To See:

“I don't think the navigation tools behind the scenes are particularly intuitive. I often feel like I'm digging around for the right box.”

4. Popmenu 

Best for: Great dine-in concepts

Popmenu is another platform that gives you a lot of control over your online ordering process and digital presence, but its focus is on website design over conversion. 

You can manage direct orders from initial customer interactions to the final sale, but you won’t get a mobile app, which is a key driver for sales and customer convenience today. 

Overall, we think it’s a great solution for dine-in restaurants, but consider something else if online orders are your priority. 

Popmenu product page screenshot.

Key features:

  • Direct Engagement: Build your website for customers to place orders and keep your online ordering experience in-house.
  • Efficiency and Integration: Popmenu connects with existing POS systems and simplifies marketing with tools that sync with your online ordering page. It also offers analytics for smarter decision-making.
  • Simplified Operations: Easily create special menus for events and promotions, encouraging larger orders and repeat business.

Real Customer Reviews

Popmenu doesn’t have many online reviews available, so we can’t provide a breakdown by category (ease of use, value, etc.). Since there isn’t a lot of social proof available, we recommend a free trial before committing to the full product. 

Category Rating
Overall 2.1
Rating source

Restaurant Owners Like:

“Great customer service, frequently adding new features to make our job easier, pretty user-friendly. Great website design. Etc.” - Popmenu

Restaurant Owners Want To See:

“On top of the high cost for Popmenu's platform, they will charge an additional $1 for every order placed on their online ordering platform. This $1 fee was not made clear to us during the sales pitch, and their suggestions were to eat the cost myself or pass it on to the customer.”

5. Square Online 

Best for: Square POS users

Many restaurant POS services have also built online ordering systems (like Toast), so you can keep more of your restaurant management services with one vendor. It’s super convenient for operations, and your team won’t have to learn multiple systems.

Square Online has great integrations and a mix of valuable online ordering features, including personalized recommendations to encourage reorders and mobile ordering pages that act as a personalized mobile app. 

You can even accept orders from social media and Google, making it easier to reach more people and turn them into customers. 

Square also integrates with Owner.com and other external products, so if you don’t love the Square Online system, you can keep the POS and find a new online ordering solution.

Square Online offers a free starter plan to try out the service before you commit. Paid plans start at $29, and you can bundle your services if you also use Square POS, Payroll, and other management products.

Square Online product page focused on restaurant solutions.

Key features:

  • Online and In-person Ordering: Square supports takeout, delivery and in-house QR orders for a consistent and convenient ordering experience for all customers.
  • Social Media Orders: Customers can order from Instagram, Facebook and Google, so you can attract customers and encourage new orders with convenient online ordering that doesn’t bounce users from page to page. 
  • Loyalty Programs and Marketing: Square Loyalty rewards repeat customers to promote regular visits and increase your sales, while Square Marketing uses email and text marketing to offer special discounts to customers and drive new sales. 

Real Customer Reviews

Category Rating
Overall 4.7
Ease of Use 4.6
Customer Service 4.4
Value for Money 4.6
Rating source

Restaurant Owners Like:

“The POS, mobile and website are a GREAT value for the cost. I also love that the software is continually improved upon to make the systems even more seamless.”

Restaurant Owners Want To See:

“At times, for me, it is really not user-friendly. Instructions on “how to” aren’t smooth and are complicated.”

6. ChowNow

Best for: Increasing your customer reach

ChowNow is a full service online ordering platform with delivery built in and marketing services to keep customers coming back. You get all the good stuff, including a mobile app, automated email marketing and other tools beyond the online menu and ordering software itself (depending on your subscription). 

It has a few particularly valuable features that increase your online presence to reach new customers. The ChowNow marketplace works like other delivery apps and allows users to browse restaurants near you available for ChowNow orders. The service also automatically connects your menu to high-traffic sites like Google and Yelp to make ordering easier. 

While ChowNow Pro is packed with big ticket features, customers are concerned about a lack of growth and customer support. See how ChowNow stacks up to Owner.com and other providers before committing to a contract. 

ChowNow's landing page claims it's the total takeout suite.

Key features:

  • ChowNow Marketplace: An app that promotes ChowNow partner restaurants in a local map to reach existing ChowNow customers — similar to browsing restaurants on UberEats. 
  • Menu Integration On Valuable Sites: Connect your digital menu to existing high-traffic sites like Google, Yelp and mobile map apps to reach more customers and increase sales. This includes automatic price changes to accommodate fees.
  • Smart Delivery: Offers a flexible delivery zone to adjust for high-traffic times, and smart delivery that automatically chooses the highest rated delivery provider and driver at no extra cost. 

Real Customer Reviews

Category Rating
Overall 4.0
Ease of Use 4.7
Customer Service 3.5
Value for Money 4.4
Rating source

Restaurant Owners Like:

“The menu was easy to customize. It was easy to take items off the menu temporarily when we ran out of items. We liked getting orders via Google and we would not have gotten this business if we hadn't been using ChowNow.”

Restaurant Owners Want To See:

“Lack of updates. Lack of new features. The online portal has said ‘try our new dashboard’ coming soon for about 3 years. Still can not get basic sales reporting about items or categories. Customer service is a bit rough as well. Not all calls will end with your issue being resolved without having to talk to another person first.”

7. Menufy 

Best for: New restaurants to get started

If you’re new to the online ordering biz, Menufy offers a free online ordering solution so you can try out the software before committing to a contract or recurring cost. Though, it’s not exactly fee-free. 

Instead of paying a monthly cost or order commission, your customers are charged $1.75 per order. You’re also responsible for a 2.75% + $0.30 processing charge for online payments, and a 12.5% service fee if you opt in to the premium food delivery add-on. While you can technically get around the fees with in-store payments and takeout-only ordering, you’re better off finding a commission-free alternative. 

Still, this system allows your customers to place pickup and delivery orders directly from your website, as well as the Menufy site and mobile app. 

We recommend Menufy if you’re looking for an entry-level online ordering system. However, we’ve accepted many Menufy “graduates” as new Owner.com customers once they reach a certain size. You can compare our features with Menufy here.

Menufy offers free online ordering to give the service a try.

Key features:

  • Easy Integration: Menufy is designed to work with your existing site, which reduces setup time.
  • Custom Restaurant Website: Menufy can help you build a custom restaurant website. However, the website design is simple, with a single ‘order now’ button leading to a different platform. They don’t offer a branded mobile ordering app for your restaurant.
  • Repeat Business: Menufy offers a loyal program called Tasty Rewards and has a text and email marketing platform.

Real Customer Reviews

Menufy doesn’t currently have any third-party ratings from Capterra or similar sites. Instead, check out some user comments from web sources below. 

Restaurant Owners Like:

“We have enjoyed everything about partnering with Menufy. We spend so much less time answering the phone. Our customers love the convenience of being able to order and pay online, and especially the option of being able to have food delivered!” - Menufy

Restaurant Owners Want To See:

“Menufy.com ripped me off! I placed an order online for a meal at a restaurant new to me. Menufy.com charged me $41.97 (plus sales tax and "service charge") for what would have cost only $25.50 (plus tax) had I ordered directly from the restaurant.” - Better Business Bureau 

8. Cloudwaitress

Best for: Simple online orders

Cloudwaitress offers basic online restaurant services, including ordering for takeout, delivery and dine-in, plus reservations. If you already have a solid customer base and just want to offer direct orders online, but it isn’t your top priority, Cloudwaitress can get the job done. 

It’s a little more DIY than other platforms. They’ll help you generate a simple site, but there aren’t any great marketing or loyalty features to help drive sales or repeat customers. So you’ll have to do some legwork to get customers to your online ordering. 

However, you can get started for free if you’re a growing restaurant without a ton of needs. You’re limited to 100 orders and reservations at this level, but you can invest in the standard paid plan for $39 a month once online orders increase. 

Cloudwaitress' landing page boasts that it's a system for restaurant automation.

Key features:

  • Performance Report: Track order volume, customer acquisition and other important analytics to measure how your online orders are performing and strategize ways to increase sales. 
  • Custom Domain: Receive a custom domain to get started with online ordering, but you’ll have to customize the site yourself. You can hire Cloudwaitress’ web development team to build your site at a cost. 
  • Try for Free: Kickstart your online orders with a free starter plan, allowing 100 orders and reservations without even sharing your credit card information. 

Real Customer Reviews

Category Rating
Overall 4.9
Ease of Use 5.0
Customer Service 5.0
Value for Money 4.9
Rating source

Restaurant Owners Like:

“We found the interface very user-friendly and straightforward. When building a menu, tedious tasks like adding option groups to meal groups have been simplified, which is always very handy when time is an issue. Support was only required during printing setup and was done quickly and efficiently as well as friendly and helpful.”

Restaurant Owners Want To See:

“Being a new player, it is still missing some desired features like analytics, which I was told that is on the to-do list, so I guess wont take more than a few months before it’s pushed.”

9. Uber Eats, Doordash and Grubhub Storefronts

Best for: Getting discovered by new customers

Many restaurants already have accounts with Uber Eats, Doordash and other third-party delivery apps. These are super convenient because your customers have the apps on their phones, and each platform has a marketplace to highlight restaurants they partner with. 

But did you know they have direct online ordering services, too?

Uber Direct, DoorDash Storefront and Grubhub Direct all provide custom online ordering sites connected to their delivery network so you get the best of both worlds — easy online ordering and a custom branded experience that builds your reputation. 

You can also tap into their marketplace to reach the platform’s massive user base, which is great for discovery. Especially when combined with incentives like promotional codes for $0 delivery.

These are zero-commission services, so the companies (theoretically) won’t take as much of your profits as their apps do. But, they still need to make money, so they charge monthly flat-rate fees, per order charges and payment processing fees, as well as service and delivery charges for your customers. 

So third-party direct orders can be more expensive (especially for customers) than using the app in the first place. 

You also miss out on a lot of the marketing features that other online ordering systems provide built-in or as an add-on service. With Uber Eats and Doordash, you’re still largely responsible for building and maintaining your primary website and marketing online orders to customers.

Screenshots of third-party apps new storefront services, like Uber Eats Direct.

Key features:

  • Convenient Customer Access: Your customers are already on these platforms, so it’s an easy way to help customers find you and boost online orders while also promoting your brand with a custom storefront.
  • Built-in Driver Network: Third-party apps provide their own drivers, so you don’t have to worry about in-house hiring. That said, most other online ordering platforms partner with these networks, so you don’t have to hire anyway. 
  • 24/7 Customer Service: Because these apps are so large and widespread, they have robust customer support available 24/7 through chat, phone and email. There’s also a wealth of resources to support your restaurant’s account. 

Real Customer Reviews

Category Rating
Overall 4.4
Ease of Use 4.6
Customer Service 4.1
Value for Money 3.9
Rating source
Category Rating
Overall 4.3
Ease of Use 4.5
Customer Service 4.0
Value for Money 4.1
Rating source

Restaurant Owners Like:

“The most impactful thing is being able to expand our company and reach more customers whenever they need their smoothie fix.”  - for DoorDash

Restaurant Owners Want To See:

“Their app is slow to respond to commands, which becomes a big disadvantage when working at the counter of a busy restaurant - you need those fractional bits of time to attend to other priorities.GrubHub seemed to ignore the time we told their app that we could have an order ready to be picked up. We tell them it'll take a half hour, but the driver arrives in 10 minutes.” - for Grubhub

“Having to navigate through the Merchant Portal to find pertinent information.” - for DoorDash

Which System Is Right for You?

It’s important to choose the best online ordering partner based on your restaurant’s goals. 

For most owners, direct takeout and delivery orders are a must, but many of these providers also pack impressive features and add-ons into their subscriptions to support your sales goals and other restaurant needs. 

Here’s a recap of why we like each service:

  • Owner.com specializes in conversion-focused websites and marketing features to increase your online sales. 
  • Toast and Square are ideal for restaurants that already use their POS solutions.
  • BentoBox and Popmenu offer custom website designs that are great for dine-in restaurants, with BentoBox leaning into upscale designs. 
  • ChowNow is an all-in-one alternative that includes access to a user marketplace to expand your reach to new customers. 
  • Menufy and Cloudwaitress are pretty basic and best suited for restaurants new to online ordering. 
  • Direct storefronts with third-party apps allow you to tap into each platform’s existing customer base without third-party commissions (though they still get expensive). 

Compare our favorite ordering systems by available features below to narrow down your choices.

Website Mobile App Loyalty Programs Automated Marketing Customer Data
Owner.com ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Toast ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
BentoBox ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Popmenu ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Square ✔️ ✔️* ✔️** ✔️** ✔️**
ChowNow ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Menufy ✔️ ✔️
Cloudwaitress ✔️
Third-party Apps ✔️ ✔️
*Mobile ordering page with homepage access — not a full, independent app.
**Add-on features that are priced separately or bundled.

When To Try Owner.com for Your Restaurant

If increasing direct online ordering is your top priority, get a demo of Owner.com to see how we work with restaurant owners to increase their direct online orders.

Direct online ordering can significantly increase your profit from takeout and delivery orders with zero commission fees and sales-focused features, like automated marketing and loyalty programs, to increase order volume and ticket sizes. 

Choosing the best online ordering system for your restaurant is a big decision, and I recommend you get demos with several platforms to figure out the best fit.

Frequently asked questions

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Adam Guild is the CEO of Owner, a restaurant marketing platform that makes online growth easy for restaurants.


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