FoodTechnology

How to develop a free online ordering app for your restaurant 

restaurant-management-software

Today’s tech-savvy consumers want seamless interaction with their favorite restaurants. Digital transformation is a must for running a restaurant successfully. However, building a custom food ordering and delivery app can be expensive for some restaurant owners.

Developing a customized mobile app is quite expensive as you need to partner with a custom mobile app development company. Creating a customer mobile app can stop a business’s cash flow. Besides, you also need to update your mobile app regularly to provide a consistent experience to your customers. 

If you are looking for affordable and accessible options to create an online ordering system for a restaurant, you can check out these free platforms listed in the blog. But before you do, you should understand why you should go online for your restaurant business. 

Why Go Online? The Benefits of Online Ordering

Here are a few reasons to help you understand why creating a restaurant ordering app has become such a big deal:

  • Improved Efficiency: Your workflow becomes much easier with online orders compared to phone calls. They automatically reduce the amount of clutter that is caused by phone calls and manual paperwork. 
  • Positive Customer Experience: Ordering food online makes it possible for people interested in your delicacies. It allows people to order beforehand or make prior reservations, and make payment at their convenience.
  • Data Collection: When there are online orders, customer data needs such as preferences or purchasing patterns can easily be detected in real-time. This helps marketers create personalized messages and campaigns accordingly to improve engagement.

Free Online Ordering Solutions: Exploring Your Options

Now you know the importance of online ordering system, but you are confused about the cost of ordering app and development process. Worry not, here are some free or minimal fee platforms that helps you to build a digital product at almost free of cost.  

  1. Website Ordering System: Website builders like Wix and Squarespace have an in-built ordering system. There is one another company called Yelowsoft. It also offers an online ordering system integration service. The platform can be integrated into your existing website, enabling customers to order from your site.

  2. Online Ordering Marketplaces: Various online platforms, such as ChowNow and GloriaFood, offer free online ordering services for businesses in the food service industry. Some of the features include menu management and order processing.

  3. Social Media Ordering: Facebook and Instagram have created avenues for businesses to create virtual stores. These channels allow users to display their menus, take orders, and process payments within them.

  4. Google My Business Listing: You can also create Google My Business listing on Google Search Engine. This is where individuals can find your restaurant, look at its menu, and place an order by using information available on Google Search or Maps.

  5. White-Label software: You can also connect with white-label service providers like Yelowsoft. They can help you to rebrand white-label software as your own at a minimum subscription. 

Economical Models for adopting white-label software

While it is rare to find free white label online ordering software, restaurants can take advantage of these below models at very little cost. Here’s how these models work:

  • Freemium Models:

Some providers offer a freemium plan with basic features like online ordering and menu management. This allows you as a restaurant owner to test out the software and see if it meets your needs. However, there are often limitations like:

  • Transaction fees: This can include paying a fee per order that is processed through the system.
  • Limited features: On occasion, advanced functionalities like delivery management or loyalty programs may require paid upgrades.
  • Branding restrictions: You might have to display the provider’s branding next to yours in their free tier.
  • Trials and Demos:

Many providers, like Yelowsoft, offer free trials or demos that allow full access to the software for a limited time. This approach lets you explore all its features and verify its integration with your present POS system.

  • Free Open source options:

However, this open-source software for online ordering requires technical know-how to install and maintain it, which might not be ideal for most restaurants that do not have internal resources.

Choosing the Right Option for You

The ideal free solution for your business will depend on what you need and how much you know about technology. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Your Technical Expertise: You’ll face minimal technical issues while designing websites using site-building tools or working with online ordering software compared to when using social media sites or Google My Business.
  • Features Offered: Determine the necessary features required by your operations. Do you require integration of table reservation functionality, order tracking, or a loyalty program?
  • Scalability: Will the free plan cover all your requirements if your business expands? For instance, some solutions may limit functions or transactions allowed under costless terms.
  • Integration Capabilities: Can it be synchronized with a point-of-sale (POS) system already in use to avoid disruption when managing orders?

Setting Up Your Free Online Ordering System: A Step-by-Step Guide

Once you select a platform, follow these steps to set it up:

  • Create an Account: Sign up for the chosen platform and finish creating a profile for your eatery.
  • Build Your Menu: Upload high-resolution pictures of your food with precise descriptions and pricing.
  • Customize Settings: Set delivery options (if applicable), pickup instructions, minimum orders, and tax rates.
  • Integrations: Examine your point-of-sale system for possible integration options that will help efficiently process orders.
  • Promote Your Online Ordering: Launch social media, have a website, and post in-store signs.

Integrating User-Centric Features 

While not all free options offer these features of ordering app, consider them for future growth of your restaurant:

Loyalty Programs and Promotions: Align your loyalty program with the online ordering system so that you can reward clients who frequently make purchases from you. Offer exclusive promos or discounts on digital platforms to inspire more people to shop using this method.

Customer Feedback and Reviews: Allow customers to write reviews about their online ordering experience. You may need positive reviews as social proof while addressing negative ones professionally and in good time.

Social Media Integration: Take advantage of your Facebook or Instagram page by sharing your online ordering system with those sites’ communities. Let the customers share what they have ordered through their accounts, which results in free advertising and spreads word-of-mouth that generates buzz around your brand name.

Conclusion

Free online ordering systems offer a low-cost way to participate in the growing online ordering market. By selecting the right platform and effectively using its accessible functionalities, you can boost sales, increase customer convenience, and streamline operations at your restaurant.

Lastly, you can consider white label restaurant online ordering system as an upgraded version of your selected free platform. You can seamlessly integrate it in your current system and can customize it as per your restaurant requirements like no. of outlets, inventory management and order management.  

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