Best apps & ordering systems for takeaway & food delivery


There are three parts that need to be organised to make your delivery and takeaway system successful: the menu, the customer list, and an ordering and delivery system. We’ve got you sorted with two other helpful guides: Smart Ways to Turn Your Restaurant Menu into a Delivery Menu and 10 Ways to Find Customer Contacts in your Cafe or Restaurant.

Now let’s look at your delivery and ordering system – how customers will order and receive their food, and put money into your bank account!

1. Low Tech – Customers Phone You for Pickup or Delivery

Make sure you have a phone system, not just one number. That means ‘divert on busy’ and another person to pick up the call and take the order - easy to organise on a mobile or landline. The other order-taker can then email it to you if offsite, or enter the order on the POS if onsite, or if you can enter it on the POS remotely (useful to set this up).

This system can be ‘good enough’ if you have low volume – the main priority is not to frustrate people with voicemail or no answer, because they won’t call back. Check PhoneBookingsService or OfficeHQ if you want professional phone answering and order taking. Texting customers is a great way to reach them in a group, using services like BurstSMS and SMSBroadcast.

Have your menu visible on your website, or even as a simple Google Doc, so you can share the link if you email or text people. PDF menus are very hard to read on a phone, and should be avoided - everything should be mobile-friendly.

2. Customers Use an Ordering App

These have exploded in popularity, and many new services have come online. You can set them up the quickly and without tech skills. Features you should be looking for in an app:

  • Integration with your POS system, to keep ordering simple for the kitchen, and integrated with all the orders going through
  • Integration with third party delivery driver services like DriveYellow or DoorDash (if you use them)
  • Easy editing so you can adjust menu prices and change photos
  • Able to be used for table ordering when this option is available again
  • No lock-in contracts – month by month payment is best
  • You have 100% access to all customer data, so you can reuse it
  • The app does not use your customer data to remarket suggestions about other restaurants or competitors
  • Easy phone payment using Apple or Google Pay, plus the ability to enter credit card details.
  • Fast support available by phone, chat or email

Ordering apps available in Australia include OrderUp, TabSquare, Bopple, MrYum, HungryHungry, NextOrder, FROLO, Abacus, Mobi2Go, Stellar by Redcat, TableTime and NowBookIt. New players Deliverish in Darwin and YourLocal in Adelaide.

Plus Skip, HeyYou, WowApps and EatAppy (build your own app).

Compare Fees: setup costs, monthly fee, % of sales, merchant cost %, fee per transaction - they can vary widely.

3. Set Up E-commerce Options on your Website

This is an option for the technically minded who like to DIY. It will look and feel like an app, and is integrated with your website. Services that can create this for you include WooCommerce, Shopify and Wordpress plugins like GloriaFood. You have 100% control of the ordering and payment system. Here are some examples that do it well: Pane e Latte and BunMese.

4. Organise the Delivery

If customers are not ordering at the counter or collecting, you need to get the food delivered. You can use your own drivers (and keep staff employed) or in some areas, specialist delivery services are available such as DriveYello (do not handle ordering, just the driving) and Stellar by Redcat.

If you have room for it, curbside pickup is popular but needs to be well-organised. Customers could text on arrival or you have someone waiting outside watching. There are many adaptions needed for restaurants and cafes to get into the takeaway and delivery game!

Status of your Driver: if you employ your own staff for delivery, remember that they are employees, not contractors. The Restaurant Award (covers most cafes and restaurants in Australia) allows for 'delivery' as one of the duties for Grade 2 & 3 staff (waiters and supervisors), but payment is for time worked, not piecework (per delivery). This way they are also covered under your WorkCover policy. There is no provision under this award for car running costs, but the Australian Tax Office has per-kilometre rates for other industries (eg Sales) that can guide you.

Make sure vehicles are fully insured for business use. Check with your lawyer and insurance broker on all these points.

5. Third Party Apps to Consider

Services like like UberEats, Deliveroo, DoorDash and Menulog are popular with customers, but the fees are very high – up to 35% of the menu price, plus other costs. Can you make money paying that? They are widely known and used, and you can get started very quickly. The huge increase in demand with the Coronavirus crisis has meant delivery may not be as reliable as you want, and you may get complaints.

Smart operators use these services for customer acquisition - when you send out an order, include a flyer in the delivery bag suggesting that next time the person orders from your website, where prices will be 10% cheaper. You have discounted slightly, but you are not paying 35%, and can remarket to these once they are in your system.

6. Do your research

Ask the opinions of fellow cafe and restaurant owners on these different services. Active business owner groups on Facebook are very useful, and because they are tightly moderated, there’s no shouting or trivia. Check Australian Cafe Owners Network and Growth, Strategy and Exit Planning for Cafe Owners.

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