Online Ordering System

Written by:

Adam Guild

Last Updated

October 18, 2023


In this guide, you’ll learn how to create a direct online ordering system for your restaurant that is so easy, convenient, and well designed, customers PREFER to order directly from you instead of third party apps like DoorDash.

Having an effective ordering system is priority #1 if you are serious about growing your restaurant business, so keep reading if you want to:

  • Fulfill deliveries without paying commissions
  • Increase average order value
  • Grow your overall revenue
  • Turn the internet into your personal fuel tank

Regardless of the exact platform you use, there’s ten critical parts to an effective ordering system, and we’ll break down all ten in detail here in this guide.

This is page two of our Restaurant Growth Handbook. Start with page one to calculate how much your restaurant can realistically grow in the next year.

1. Deliver Orders Without Paying Commissions

Are you currently paying 30% commissions to apps like DoorDash, UberEats, and Grubhub? While also missing out on your customer data and being unable to contact those customers again?

Here’s how to offer commission-free delivery and eliminate your reliance on third party apps.

The first thing you need is an online ordering system that can support delivery orders. is one such system, but we certainly aren’t the only one.

The next thing you need is a flat-fee delivery driver network.

What many people don’t realize is that third party apps like DoorDash know they aren’t going to survive long term with their 30% commission delivery model. At their core, these companies are data and logistics companies, and that’s why many of them now offer white label, flat-fee delivery using their driver network.

With one or more of these networks connected to your online ordering system, you can deliver meals to your customers without paying any commissions. You can pass the full delivery fee or some portion of it to the customer and then keep the full margin on the order for your business.

Imagine how much additional profit you’d be able to keep if you weren’t paying 30% commissions on your delivery orders.

Talkin’ Tacos in Miami, Florida has made an additional $80,715 in profit over the last 12 months through switching to commission-free delivery.

Saffron Indian Kitchen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has made an additional $229,644 in profit over the last 12 months through switching to commission-free delivery. automatically integrates these services into our platform, so you don’t have to deal with a potentially complicated integration process, but you should be able to get commission-free delivery up and running with any online ordering system that supports delivery orders.

If you’ve tried this before, you know that getting customers to purchase delivery orders through your direct ordering system rather than through third party apps is a big challenge.

Fortunately, we’ve solved this problem after several years of trial and error with thousands of restaurant partners. Partners like Talkin’ Tacos have gone from 90% third party orders to just 45% AND are able to regularly turn third party orders into direct-order regulars thanks to the marketing process I break down step-by-step on page three of this handbook.


2. Increase Sales With A Modern Online Menu

One of the first things people do when considering your restaurant is look at your online menu.

This is true for patrons thinking about dining in as well as patrons looking to place a pickup or delivery order. It’s true for brand new customers wanting to see what you offer as well as for repeat customers seeking new options to strike their fancy.

The vast majority of your sales begin at your online menu.

And this is why having a modern, intentionally designed menu is so important.

Here’s what an effective online menu looks like:

You can visit this menu directly by clicking here.

Here’s a few of the key elements that you should make sure are included in your own menu:

  • Popular items at the top of the menu
  • Great pictures next to EVERY menu item
  • Menu categories that are immediately visible and easy to select
  • Clearly visible location and closing time
  • Reviews or ratings visible next to menu items

The individual pages for each menu item are also important.

Important elements on this page include:

  • Great image of the item
  • Easy customization options
  • Visible reviews or ratings
  • Suggested upsell items

I’ve used screenshots from a desktop browser here, because it’s easier to show everything in one shot, but keep in mind the vast majority of customers will be on their smartphones when visiting your online menu. The mobile experience needs to be flawless.

If your current menu software includes all these elements, but you haven’t yet taken the time to upload pictures of all your entrees, go ahead and prioritize doing that. It will have an immediate impact on your revenue.

If your current menu doesn’t include any of these elements, automatically gives you a world-class online menu. All you have to do is take photos of your food. We’ll do the rest.

3. Maximize Average Order Value With Checkout Upsells

In addition to looking great and running great, your online menu and checkout process should be actively working to increase your sales.

I showed you a small peek in the previous section. It starts with suggesting “Commonly Paired” items on the individual menu pages:

But we don’t stop there.

When customers click “Checkout” to complete their order, they get the following popup:

This popup is set up to include only high-margin items like appetizers, beverages, and desserts. Automatically prompting every customer to add these types of items consistently increases the average order size and the margin percentage on orders for our restaurant partners.

But again, we don’t stop there.

We also attempt to upsell more items on the checkout page:

When customers look at these upsell items on the checkout page, it helps frame the cost in a different way. They are no longer thinking about paying $11.49. They are thinking about adding just $11.49 more to a much larger order. They are looking at that shipping cost they already have to pay and thinking, “I should add this just in case.”

It’s the perfect moment to push through one final item and increase that total order value.

4. Track The Source Of Every Online Sale

If you want your restaurant to keep growing, at some point, you’ll need to get serious about marketing.

And the biggest frustration that most restaurant owners have with marketing is that it’s difficult to track. You can spend $1,000 on SEO, Facebook ads, a billboard, or to grow your Instagram account, but how can you tell what is working and what is a waste of money?

The problem here is that most restaurant websites and online ordering systems don’t track the source of your customers.

Fortunately, this is a very solvable problem.

You have two options available to you here:

  1. Master Google Analytics
  2. Get an ordering system that does it for you

If you want to do everything yourself, click here, and go through Google’s six courses on setting up and mastering analytics for your website.

It will probably take a few weeks to months to get through everything, but it’s free.

Alternatively, you can simply use an online ordering system that automatically tracks the source on all your orders and makes it easy to see where those orders are coming from.

A system like

We track all your orders and show you which sources are bringing in new customers as well as which sources are driving your total orders.

This way, you can see which marketing channels are helping you bring in new business and which marketing channels are helping you re-engage your current customers and turn them into regulars.

5. Understand Your Digital Growth With Intuitive Analytics

Speaking of analytics, your business is a treasure trove of data, and a great online ordering system will not only track that data, but also help you interpret it, and give you easy access to it at all times.

We built our dashboard from the ground up to provide restaurant owners with useful information, so let’s look at what’s included.

We start by highlighting total online sales from the previous 30 days, as well as the total amount saved in third party fees by taking these orders directly.

Next, we highlight the following data:

  1. The number of new customers and where they came from
  2. The number of new reviews at each rating level
  3. Total number of sales from our automated email and text campaigns (detailed breakdown of these campaigns here)
  4. Conversion rates at each stage of the ordering process

This data provides our restaurant partners with the following takeaways:

  1. Which marketing channels are succeeding at bringing in new customers
  2. How customers are experiencing the restaurant’s food and service
  3. How well re-engagement efforts are doing at turning customers into regulars
  4. How the checkout process is performing at each stage

The next part of our dashboard highlights the following data:

  1. The total number of new and returning customers
  2. Total amount tipped by customers
  3. The average order value
  4. Total number of orders from each marketing source

This data provides our restaurant partners with the following takeaways:

  1. How successful they’ve been at both getting in front of new customers and creating regulars
  2. How customers are responding to service
  3. How successful the ordering system has been at increasing average order value
  4. Which marketing channels are succeeding at bringing in new or repeat customers

The more data you have, and the more accurate that data, the better you’ll be able to change things that aren’t working and double down on things that are working.


6. Provide a Fast, Easy, Frictionless Customer Experience

This point is straightforward, and there’s only so much we can say about it.

Your website and ordering system can’t be an afterthought. They can’t be mediocre. They need to be fast, easy, and free of “friction” moments that make it harder for your customers to complete their orders.

Here are a few statistics to help frame why this is such a big deal.

  • 88% of online shoppers say they wouldn’t return to a website after having a bad experience.
  • 70% of online businesses that fail do so because of bad website usability.
  • Only 55% of companies currently conduct any UX testing.
  • 53% of mobile site visitors leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.
  • People form 75% of their judgment on a website’s credibility purely on its aesthetics.

Creating a great, problem-free ordering experience is absolutely essential.

At, we invest hundreds of thousands of dollars every single month solely on making our ordering experience better for our restaurant partners and their customers.

7. Offer Gift Cards That Work Online and Offline

Americans spend $200 Billion in gift cards every year.

You didn’t misread that number.


Americans love purchasing gift cards for their friends and family, and the recipients tend to use them, even if they’ve never been to the gift card location before.

How does this potential goldmine connect to your online ordering system?

It connects in two ways:

  1. Your customers should be able to purchase gift cards directly through your site.
  2. Those gift cards NEED to work flawlessly both online AND offline.

That first one is pretty simple. If your online ordering system doesn’t allow customers to purchase gift cards, upgrade to one that does.

Here’s what our gift card purchasing page looks like for one of our restaurant partners.

The second part is very important and often overlooked by online-focused systems. Your gift cards need to work as easily offline as they work online.

If your customers purchase a digital gift card for a friend and then that friend is unable to make a purchase with the card in your restaurant, that’s going to be a double whammy to your business. Both parties will be annoyed and less likely to order from you again.

Gift cards are an amazing way to get more revenue from your regulars and encourage those regulars to share your brand with their friends and family. Your direct order system should support an incredible gift card purchasing and redemption experience.

8. Make It Easy For Customers To Leave Tips

There’s an elephant in the room when it comes to online orders.

Staff hate them.


There’s a lot of avoidable reasons that factor into this:

  • Buggy software
  • Malfunctioning hardware
  • Complex integrations
  • Staffing shortages during high-order periods

All of these issues can be fixed, and none of these issues are the REAL reason that staff dislike online orders.

The real reason staff hate online orders is that takeout customers tip less… if at all.

This is a big problem, for a few different reasons:

  1. For most restaurants, growth depends on increasing the percentage of direct, online orders.
  2. For every restaurant, success depends on being able to hire and retain happy, motivated staff.
  3. How much customers tip is outside the control of the restaurant owner.

So what’s the solution?

Make it as easy as possible for your online customers to tip.

Most online ordering systems don’t make the tipping option for pickup orders very obvious, which makes the problem even worse.

At, we know that your staff are an incredibly important part of your business. That’s why we’ve designed our checkout page to include obvious, preset tip options like you’d see on an in-store credit card reader.

But we also go one step further.

Sometimes customers don’t realize they haven’t tipped until after they’ve completed the order, or they feel like they should have left a larger tip after the fact.

We make it really easy to either leave a tip or add to a previous tip directly in the checkout confirmation screen.

This design encourages more tips, rewarding your staff for their hard work and motivating them to deliver great food and service to online customers.

9. Automatically Collect and Manage Reviews

Reviews might as well be their own currency. Getting more positive reviews for your restaurant directly translates into more revenue in a number of ways.

  • Getting more positive reviews makes customers more likely to find you in Google Search.
  • Getting more positive reviews makes customers more likely to order from you after they find you.
  • Getting more reviews gives you direct customer feedback on what you’re doing well and what needs improvement.

The process of collecting new reviews needs to be automated. Since we always want more reviews, manual outreach isn’t going to cut it.

Your online ordering system is the perfect place to collect reviews.

There’s different ways you can approach this, but here’s how we do it at

First, we leave an option for customers to submit a review on our order confirmation screen.

These prompts are pretty subtle, because at this point, the customer hasn’t received the food yet and is unlikely to leave a review.

We make another review request in the confirmation email immediately following the order.

And then we make the most obvious review request in an order follow-up email that lands in the customer’s inbox a few hours after their purchase. This is the optimal time to collect a review, so it’s when we make our most direct request.

Now, what about bad reviews? Won’t asking more people for reviews result in more negative reviews as well?

Not as much as you’d think. People who are going to leave bad reviews tend to do so unprompted.

That said, we do have a solution for this.

Customers who leave 4 or 5 star reviews get sent straight to your Google Business Listing to publish the review. Customers who leave a 1-3 star review get routed to your customer service address, so that you can connect with them directly, fix any fixable issues, and have a chance to turn the situation around.

Even if you can’t make them happy, you aren’t actively sending them to Google to publish a bad review about your restaurant.

Whatever you do, make sure that your online ordering system is actively collecting reviews. At, we are constantly working on improving this part of our platform, and we plan to spend quite a bit more time testing and optimizing review collection over the next year.


10. Next Page: Restaurant Marketing

Most restaurant owners have a long wishlist of marketing activities they wish they could do but simply don't have time for.

In a world where software can automate so many repetitive tasks, why not look for ways to have software help you market your business and get it in front of both new and returning customers?

This was a big goal of ours when we began designing the platform, and we've been able to successful automate SEO marketing, email marketing, and SMS marketing for our restaurant partners, rapidly growing their revenue while reducing their fees and other costs.

Visit the next page to learn our proven restaurant marketing process and see exactly how automates the majority of it for you.

Click here to go to page #3: Restaurant Marketing.

Take back control of your margins, customer data, and online reputation.

Our all-in-one-platform helps you take back control of your online presence, drive direct sales, save money on fees, and manage everything in one place. Schedule a demo to see the platform in action and discover why our new restaurant partners increase online sales by an average of 270% in their first three months using

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About the author

Adam Guild

Adam Guild is the CEO of Owner, a restaurant marketing platform that gives restaurant owners online superpowers. See Adam’s best restaurant marketing tips here.

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