While food delivery and online ordering were already on the path to become a $200 billion market by 2025, COVID-19 related lockdowns are resulting in even higher adoption. With dine-in prohibited due to social distancing, most foodservice businesses can now only offer food delivery or takeout to keep their doors open.
If you own or manage a restaurant, chances are you are busy putting systems in place to manage food delivery. And you are not alone! The search for food delivery software has spiked 179%* on our website between February and March 2020.
To help you find tools that don’t require much investment, we have prepared this list of popular free and open source software for online food ordering. We will talk about the features offered by these tools and answer some frequently asked questions (FAQs).
The tools included here are selected based on how frequently they appear on Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP), the features they offer, and the presence of a stand-alone free module. To know more about how we selected these tools, read our methodology here.
But before we dive into the offering of these tools, let us understand what core features they offer.
- Online menu: Feature your restaurant’s menu on a website, mobile app, or social media page.
- Online ordering: Receive orders through online and offline sources, streamline them, and send them to the kitchen for preparation.
- Kitchen management: Notify the kitchen about incoming orders via printed tickets or a digital screen.
- Delivery routing: Prepare the shortest route (either with built-in features or via integration with third-party tools) for multiple deliveries and direct delivery agents to customer locations.
- Delivery team management: Create profiles for delivery agents (either with built-in features or via integration with third-party tools) and store their personal information in one place.
- Delivery zone management: Set the area the restaurant caters to (either with built-in features or via integration with third-party tools).
Flipdish helps restaurants and cafes set up branded websites and mobile apps for online ordering. The tool also provides a dashboard for a quick overview of online sales performance, average order value, and order location/source. It offers delivery-related core features via integration with service dispatch and field service management tools.
Highlight to know: The tool offers built-in marketing features to support notifications and loyalty programs. It also offers SEO optimization for websites to help them rank higher in Google SERP.
Free version includes:
- Support for one location with unlimited number of orders
- A web app that can be pinned to the home screen of a customer’s phone
- Unlimited notifications, loyalty campaigns, customer retention SMSs, and discount codes
- A website with the my.flipdish.com domain
- 7% fee to process each order and an additional 2.5% fee for card transactions
GloriaFood is an online ordering tool that helps restaurants and cafes receive orders from their websites and Facebook pages. It also offers an app for restaurants to streamline incoming orders and accept or reject them. The tool offers delivery tracking via integration with restaurant delivery software, such as Tookan.
Highlight to know: The tool offers Facebook integration that allows you to add a “see menu and order” tab to your restaurant’s Facebook page. This way customers can place orders without leaving your Facebook page or downloading any app.
Free version includes:
- A website ordering widget for handling unlimited orders
- Facebook ordering
- A table reservation widget
- An “order ahead” feature for scheduled takeaways
- A reporting dashboard
- Promo and coupon codes
Ontabee helps restaurants and cafes streamline online ordering and manage in-house delivery teams. It also offers a digital wallet that customers can recharge and use to pay for orders. Additionally, the tool provides a comment field for customers to add cooking instructions and enables reporting hourly sales, total orders, and total sales.
Highlight to know: The tool offers built-in delivery tracking as well as a special delivery app for the staff. This app connects to the ordering system so that you can use it to assign deliveries and track them in real time. Your customers can also track their deliveries as they wait for their orders.
Free version includes:
- Support for one outlet with unlimited orders via website and an “order for later” feature
- Responsive design on the website online ordering page
- Coupon codes for customers
- A custom domain for restaurants
- Integrated live chat for customers
- A loyalty point program
TastyIgniter is an open source tool that helps restaurants and cafes set up online ordering and manage incoming orders. You can either plug it into an existing website or use vendor-supplied extensions to create a new website. It also offers features such as customized delivery zones, newsletter campaigns for marketing, and promo codes for discounts.
Highlight to know: Since the tool is open source, it is completely free for all users. Once you download the app, you can customize it with your branding and operate it like a content management system (CMS). Among the multiple available versions—called Puff Puff, Jollof Rice, and Pancake—Pancake is the latest one that you should use.
Free version includes:
- Multiple outlets with unlimited orders
- Multiple order types—takeaway, pickup, and delivery
- Promo codes and discounts for customers
- Multiple modes to receive online payments, such as credit cards and bank transfers
- Extension for website creation
- Mobile responsive design
- Customized delivery zones
Next step: check the tool’s deployment model
Online food ordering software typically has one of the following two deployment models:
- Cloud-based: The responsibility of hosting and managing the tool rests with the vendor, and you can access the tool via a browser or mobile/web/desktop app. However, cloud-based tools usually come with multiple limitations and are comparatively less flexible.
This is a good option for single-outlet restaurants and cafes that do not have a lot of traffic and want to dip their feet into online food ordering.
- On-premise: The responsibility of hosting and managing the tool rests with you, so you’ll need reasonable technical knowledge and some IT infrastructure (such as a small server or cloud-hosting subscription) to use such tools. Open source tools fall in this category and offer a lot of leeway with functionalities since you can tweak them to your unique requirements.
This is ideal for multioutlet restaurants and cafes that can afford to build an IT setup.
To know more about these tools or other software options (even paid ones), get in touch with our experts here.
To select the products mentioned in this article, we identified the top products for food delivery software searches via Incognito Google search on May 7, 2020. Products that appeared either individually on the first SERP page or on third-party listings at least twice during this research were shortlisted for further evaluation.
The shortlisted products were evaluated against the definition and feature set of food delivery software: Food delivery software enables and supports the delivery of menu items from your restaurant to your customers’ locations. It automates delivery management processes such as processing delivery orders, assigning deliveries to drivers, and capturing delivery order payment. Food delivery platforms also record and analyze delivery order data for reporting. This provides operational insight which helps you make informed decisions about your delivery business and determine the resources necessary for its success.
The tools were further evaluated for:
- A stand-alone free module that does not need to be purchased post a set time or usage limitations.
- More than 10,000 results on Google SERP.
Tools that met all the above criteria were selected for the article.
*Percentage based on website traffic over March 9–April 8 vs. February 3–March 2.