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With 11 million online food delivery users in the UK and nearly a third of people aged 18-34 ordering takeaway food several times a month, your restaurant should be using some form of takeaway delivery service. Whether you’re already signed up to the big three – Just Eat, Uber Eats and Deliveroo or working out what would be best for your business, it’s worth considering creating your own online ordering service.

What’s the difference between direct online ordering and third party online ordering?

Third-party online ordering apps

Apps such as Just Eat, Deliveroo, and Uber Eats are platforms that give users a choice of restaurants that can be ordered from. Normally, this can be sorted by location or restaurant type which can help customers discover new places to order at.

These platforms feature integrated payments, which means you don’t need to process the payments yourself. Everything is streamlined through the app; so you’ll receive the order, confirm it, then input it into your EPOS system. If you choose, a courier from the app can pick up the food and deliver it for you or you can choose to offer your own delivery.

Each of the major online ordering platforms will give you a tablet to manage orders, so someone on your team will need to manage these and manually process them through your EPOS. Alternatively, and what we would recommend, is an integrated aggregator, so orders from these apps will automatically be entered into the point of sale.

The apps are highly convenient, as you only need to manage the food itself and the packaging, and everything else is sorted for you. It’s normally quick and easy to get set up, with a minimal or no upfront fee. However, they all take a big cut of your profits – ranging from 10-30% to cover the costs of the platform and their couriers.

There’s also uncertainty about the quality of service, delivery times, and whether the food is intact when it arrives. Most delivery drivers are incentivized to pick up as many orders as possible, not to provide good quality customer service.

For most business, using third party delivery platforms are a trade off between higher visibility, the costs involved, and control over service quality. That’s why more restaurants, takeaways and quick service are turning to offer direct online ordering.

Third party online ordering pros

  • Quick and easy to set up
  • Reach more customers without extra spend

Third party online ordering cons

  • Highly competitive on the platforms
  • Can’t control the quality of customer service
  • A large percentage of profits taken away from you
  • If you have orders coming through multiple platforms, it can get complicated

Direct online ordering

A direct online ordering system is a solution that links with your website and EPOS, letting customers order directly from you. Our online ordering software is a great example of this, with the ability for you to create your own personalised website or app, offering an interactive online menu for customers.

It allows you to have complete control over the entire customer experience, from when the order is placed to it being delivered.

You can even link the online ordering system with your own loyalty scheme, giving customers the ability to create an account, easily reorder their favourite items and pay using the points they’ve collected. You’ll have access to this customer data, which can be used to create personalised promotions and plan ahead for your business.

Any orders placed will flow through Gardiff EPOS in real-time, and you’ll get a notification for every new order that’s placed on your kitchen printer or kitchen display system. The software is commission free, so you’ll receive 100% of your profits.

Direct online ordering pros

  • Keep all of your profits
  • Have control over the customer experience
  • Create a direct relationship with customers
  • Keep customer data
  • Orders automatically flow through EPOS system

Direct online ordering cons

  • Extra management of delivery drivers and vehicles

So which should I use?

Which is better for your restaurant, joining third party delivery platforms or launching your own?

Third party apps obviously have their place in online ordering. They have a large user base, so if you’re a new restaurant, it’s a good way to get exposure and new customers. A lot of restaurants use them as a marketing tool, and then encourage customers to reorder through their own system for reduced delivery fees or loyalty discounts.

If you want to use third-party apps, we’d still highly recommend having your own system in place also. Here are the reasons why.

Why your restaurant should have direct online ordering

woman waitress holding take away food in restaurant

  1. You can keep more of the profits

If you’re using a third party app, they’ll be taking a cut of up to 30%. With direct online ordering, there’s no middle man so you get to keep 100% of what you earn. Although you’ll have to pay a monthly fee for the direct ordering software, if you’re having enough orders placed this will still not be as expensive as third party fees.

2. Eliminate errors

As the direct online ordering will be fully integrated with your EPOS system, there’s no need for manual entry which could lead to order errors. You simply receive a notification when a new order has been placed.

This also means you can control all your menus in one place, so any price changes or new dishes are instantly synced. This also means any out of stock dishes are automatically updated so online customers can’t order them.

3. Increase guest satisfaction and generate repeat visits

When you introduce direct online ordering, you’re able to use more of your own staff so you can ensure your brand is always represented how you want it to be. From placing an order to paying, to receiving their food, you’re there at every touchpoint.

If you create your own loyalty programme this is doubly true. Your customers can earn rewards with every order placed, and redeem these later to get money off. You can also create targeted promotions and offers for these customers, encouraging them to order from you time and time again. If customers are pushed to use a third party app, there’s a higher chance of them ordering from a wide variety of restaurants.

Taking online orders in-house also means you have full control over the quality of customer service. You can train your staff and they’ll know your brand inside out, helping to maintain a positive image.


Overall, a direct online ordering system gives you a lot more control, as well as access to 100% of your profits. If you choose to opt for one or not, you’ll want your orders to be integrated with your point of sale. Gardiff EPOS can do just that, with options for Just Eat, Uber Eats and Deliveroo software integrations as well as direct online ordering software. Get in touch with us to see how it could work for you.

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