What is Online Food Ordering System? (Process + Features + Cost)

Going to a fancy restaurant and eating favorite food after a tiresome week is a source of happiness for most people. Because of hectic weekdays, people now prefer to spend weekends at their homes with their family. With changing business trends in the food industry, especially with post-COVID-19 effects, online ordering has become a top-notch option for many. People are preferring home delivery of their food rather than dining out.

Looking at some numbers of the food sector declared by Statista, we found that it generated a revenue of $1,07,438m in 2019. Its business will expectedly surge to $1,64,002m by 2024. This guide summoned up all the business needs about the online ordering system for restaurants. Read it till the end.

A Revolutionizing Food Industry

Food entrepreneurs are now revolutionizing the way of doing business. Did you hear anything about food take-aways twenty years back? Did you know that people will prefer food delivery over dine-in in the future? But today, people, like every other commodity, demand food delivery at their doorstep. There is a constant threat to the traditional restaurant chains. If they happily adopt this penetrating trend in the food market, it will surely be a great business opportunity for them.

Since the first online order from Pizza Hut in the USA in 1994, online food ordering gained momentum. Following this trend, in the late 2000s, the concept of Uber and the Sharing Economy got a boost. It is still not late for food startups to grow online because of the surge in these trends. Scroll down slowly and find everything about online food ordering system development for restaurants.

What is an Online Food Ordering System?

Online food ordering system is software that allows placing, accepting, and processing the food orders placed online.

Such a system is made of two chief components.

  • One, the app/website. Through it, the customers can access restaurants, their dishes, and the available menu.
  • Two, the internal admin management interface. Through it, the restaurant can manage and process the orders online from the comfort of the chair.

One can order products made for direct consumption from a kitchen, pantry, restaurant, or home kitchen. Also, food products not for direct consumption like vegetables, frozen meats, etc. can be ordered online.

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Advantages of Online Ordering System For Restaurants

Advantages of Online Ordering System for Restaurants

From an improved customer experience to better-streamlined restaurant orders, online ordering makes it all happen for restaurants.

Besides these two, there are several benefits of online ordering for restaurants that you’ll find in the below table:

Advantages of Online Ordering System For Restaurants
ConvenienceConventionally, people use to call the restaurant and place their orders. It’s convenient for both people and restaurants with an online system to receive and place orders online.
Increase OrdersIf you are using an online ordering system means you’re doubling sales with a click. People searching for delivery on search engines will directly knock on your doors. Inviting more orders is simply possible through an app/website.
Marketing OpportunitiesSuchlike platforms offer marketing tools to promote businesses. Promotion engine, customer database, multi-channel campaign manager are a few names. Restaurants can use them and get benefitted from attracting more traffic to their app/website.
Automation In Every ProcessGone are those days when you have to receive calls for orders, write them on your notepad, and pass it to the kitchen. With an online system, every process gets automated.
Easy ManagementAn online system has a built-in CRM. It gives information about placed/pending/canceled/delivered orders. From receiving the online order to final delivery, it eases the management for restaurant owners.
Big Customer DataWho are your frequent customers? What do they often order? Which is their favorite restaurant and food? These data figures can help a brand perform better. Customer data collection is only possible with an online app.
Wider ReachHow many people can sit in your restaurant, 100? 200? Well, a single app can fulfill thousands of online orders. Don’t you agree that thousands of orders are helpful to a restaurant than 100-200 diners coming in?
Money MonitoringRestaurants can’t keep track of cash inflow. An online system can help a restaurant with money monitoring. As orders are placed online, payment will be done online, too. This way, the online ordering system helps to track cash inflow in the restaurant.

“Plan to automate restaurant and food delivery business to get extra advantages for your online restaurant system. It can help you to expand your business very soon.”

How Do Food Ordering Systems Work?

How Food Ordering Systems Work

The work process of food ordering systems can be divided into the following three phases:

  1. Placing Order Phase:

    • A customer places a food order online through an app or restaurant website.
    • Through the smartphone/tablet, customers can browse items on your menu, choose desired dishes, decide the quantity, add it to the cart, and place an order.
    • Once the customer completes the payment process through payment gateways, the final order is placed. Now, the customer proceeds towards order confirmation.
    • A few food enterprises offer an option on cash on delivery. In this case, customers pay the order amount after its delivery.
  2. Processing Order Phase:

    • Then, the order goes to your restaurant’s order management software, where either you or the authorized person from your restaurant accepts/rejects it.
    • As soon as the order gets accepted, the app notifies the kitchen personnel to start working on food preparation.
    • Meanwhile, the app shows real-time tracking to the customer while the restaurant prepares the ordered food.
    • Once the food is prepared, the personnel from the kitchen intimates in the app and assigns the task of delivering the order to a delivery partner available nearby.
  3. Delivering Order Phase:

    • The delivery person arrives at the restaurant, picks up the order, and heads to the customer’s address for delivering the food parcel.
    • While the order is on the way, the customers can track the exact location and distance traveled by the delivery boy. Through push notifications, the customers constantly get real-time information about the order.
    • Once the order is delivered, the admin of the app sends a notification to both the restaurant owners and customers.
    • In the end, the admin of the app seeks feedback from customers for the delivery agent’s behavior and the restaurant’s food quality.

Now, you know how do food ordering software actually works. Wondering how to develop an app like it? Read our guide on how to make a food delivery app like GrubHub and Postmates. But before you go to hire a team of UI/UX designers, know a few features your food delivery app must-have.

We can design and develop a customized mobile and web-based software solution for all the food processing startups to enterprises and businesses. With our solutions, you can efficiently fulfill customer orders, control inventory, plan production, and automate your daily tasks.

Features of Online Food Delivery System

Depending on the purpose of the app, its features differ. We’ve compiled a list of the app characteristics based on customer app, delivery partner app, restaurants app, and admin features of food ordering system here:

  1. Core Features of Customer App

    Customer App for Ordering Food

    • Menu: The app should allow customers to search for menus of different restaurants and cafes. The filters should enable customers to discover menus, discounts & offers, loyalty programs, and eating places of their choice.
    • Order Placements: An ease in placing orders is the core of a customer app. They should verify food items, their delivery address, and other personal details, too.
    • Real-time Tracking: This is for the customers to track the real-time movement of the delivery driver. Your customers should know his exact location. Plus, your customers shall know the real-time that the agent takes to deliver the parcel.
    • Payment Options: Your app should provide customers with multiple payment options from debit and credit cards to Net Banking and eWallets.
  2. Features of Delivery Partner Application

    Delivery Partner Application

    • Profile: A delivery partner’s profile is as essential as a customer’s profile. This feature should let the delivery partner keep his profile up to date and password protected.
    • Order Notifications: The ordering feature helps the delivery partner to fasten the delivery. They receive push notifications of new orders and can manage the delivery of previous orders accordingly.
    • Navigation: The mobile app should sync maps for delivery drivers to find the less busy routes. It helps them to deliver the order in the least time.
  3. Features of Food Partners/Restaurants App

    Food Partner and Restaurant App

    • Profile: Like customers and delivery partners, a restaurant should also have a profile. Restaurants need the profile feature to update their menu, latest prices, unique dishes, and other related information.
    • New Order Notifications: The restaurant owners receive all the information about all the new orders placed by the customers through the notification feature of an app.
    • Customer Interaction: Your customers should be able to chat about any issues regarding their order. That’s why a restaurant app should have features to enable communication between restaurants and customers.
    • Payment Updates: When your customers pay you, or there is any other payment-related change, the app should update the admin panel. The delivery app features provide information about received and pending payments to the restaurant owner.
    • Customer Relationship Management: This feature is the core of the admin panel. The restaurant app should have customer relationship management software to allow app owners to bond with their customers. Through CRM, you can communicate with your customers and maximize sales.
  4. Features For Food Ordering System Admin

    Admin Panel for Food Ordering System

    • Monitoring: You, as an owner of the restaurant, should keep an eye on orders placed, orders delivered, total canceled orders, delivery partner’s behavior, the restaurant’s response, and reviews generated by customers.
    • Management: You, as an admin, will have restaurant management features. With it, the admin has the right to add or eliminate any restaurant from the list. Also, the admin can change the active/inactive status of any restaurant.
    • Analysis: With analytics features, you can track the app’s performance. The data generated from analysis and reports can help you improve your online food ordering system.

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How Much Does It Cost To Develop An Online Food Ordering System?

Developing the best online food ordering system involves the following steps:

  • Analysis of Requirements
  • Creating UX/UI Design
  • Prototype Generation
  • App Development/ Software Development
  • Quality Assurance
  • Deployment
  • Support & Maintenance

The cost of developing such a system depends on its complexity. The approximate cost to develop a simple online ordering system is between $20,000 to $40000. If you want your mobile app to be tailormade with main functionalities, the cost can stretch up to $50,000 to $60000 as well.

The app developers charge around $50,000 in Canada and $75,000 in the USA with experience of up to five years. However, the designers charge 55 to 70 thousand dollars in Canada and 100 to 112 thousand dollars in the USA with 5 to 10 years of experience in app development.

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4 Efficient Ways To Make Money With Food Delivery Apps

Following are the four most efficient ways to make money with your online ordering software. Learn about them and start implementing them as soon as possible on your app/website for profits.

  1. Delivery Charges

    The most common way of generating money through your online ordering platform is to collect a delivery fee from the customers. You can charge a fee based on two models:

    First, by charging a specific percent amount on the amount of order placed.

    Second, by charging a flat amount depending on the distance-to-be-traveled for delivering the food.

  2. In-App Advertising

    You can charge restaurants for advertising on your app/website. Swiggy does that! By charging them a little more, you feature them above all other restaurants, and in return, they pay you. Also, you can invite third-party advertising and let them pay into your pockets.

  3. Surplus Charges

    Apart from the amount of order and delivery charges, you can earn by leveraging a few surplus charges. These charges can be:

    • Bad weather delivery charges
    • Speed/Rush delivery charges
    • Delivery charges for unique remote locations
  4. Commission

    The commission approach is an effective monetizing strategy where restaurant and app owners agree on a commission percentage. A certain percentage of each order is directed as commission to the food ordering app owner. This way, the app owner can earn a particular amount on every order facilitated by a restaurant.

    Besides these four, email marketing campaigns, service listing, offline advertisements, and white labeling are other options to make money from food ordering apps. In the next few lines, we have tried answering the most commonly asked questions by our readers.


  1. What is an online food ordering system for a restaurant, and how does it work?

    It is a system where a user can order food online through a website or a food ordering app. Much like online shopping, such online restaurant platforms allow users to keep their accounts on the app for frequent ordering in the future.

  2. Why is online food delivery popular?

    It is popular because of multiple reasons. Online food delivery enables people to have their favorite food with a click at their homes. Also, it saves the time of traveling to a restaurant for dine-in or picking up the parcel.

  3. What is a multi-restaurant online ordering system?

    It refers to a platform that allows user-friendly food delivery for both the customers and restaurant owners. The best way to understand a multi-restaurant online ordering system is to know apps like SkipTheDishes or DoorDash.

  4. How an online ordering platform make money?

    • One, by receiving a commission on food orders. The food chains will pay you a commission for every order placed through your ordering app for their restaurant.
    • Second, charging delivery fees. Restaurants will pay you for using your delivery agents to supply their food. Customers will pay you because they receive food delivery at their desired location.
  5. What are the benefits of an online food ordering system?

    It eases the ordering processes, ensures customer and data management, promotes business, and attracts more customers.

  6. What are the top online food ordering systems?

    SkipTheDishes, Foodora, Uber Eats, Grubhub, DoorDash, Tim Hortons, and Postmates are the names of a few top online food ordering systems.



Now you know how significant it is to have a restaurant ordering system/restaurant app if you are in the food servicing industry. With cost-effective mobile app development services, there is a sure chance of building a stellar online presence for your food brand. If you haven’t developed an app for your foodservice store yet, don’t worry. Contact us today! We are an app development company, and we will help you with its design and development.

Perhaps if you feel we have missed anything to put on the plate here, comment below, and grab our attention to address it. Our experts will make every possible effort to answer your questions, concerns, and queries with the best knowledge they have.

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Rakesh Patel

Written by

Rakesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies (Canada). He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311

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