Online Ordering for Restaurants: In-House Vs. Third-Party

Couple Ordering Food Online

Back in October 2019, a survey from the National Restaurant Association showed that off-premise orders (i.e. drive-thru, takeout, and delivery) made up nearly 60% of restaurant business. Since then, the COVID-19 pandemic has driven these numbers even higher, making it functionally impossible for restaurants to survive without developing strong takeout and food delivery options. In today’s blog, our foodservice experts discuss the benefits of online ordering for restaurants, as well as comparing in-house vs. third-party online ordering software.

Benefits of Online Ordering for Restaurants

Online food ordering isn’t just convenient, it’s also more efficient. Not only can diners specify exactly what they want, but they have more time to browse the whole menu, which means they could end up ordering more than they would if they felt rushed over the phone. In fact, according to Toast, online ordering can increase check size by as much as 23%. Plus, like other restaurant technology, online ordering systems can streamline the process, giving your employees the time, energy, and space they need to get orders out quickly and efficiently. Once you’ve decided to give online food ordering a try, it’s time to figure out if an internal or third-party online ordering system is right for you.

The Perks of Internal Online Ordering Software

Here are the benefits of having your own internal online ordering software.

You Keep the Profits

While third-party online ordering systems take anywhere from 15-30% of your profits from each sale, internal online ordering systems tend to have a flat-fee that you pay each month. That means you get to keep more of your profits.

You’re in Control

With in-house online ordering systems, you have more control over the look and feel of your ordering system. Not only can you include customized photos and details, but you can make real-time changes to the menu to accommodate sold-out ingredients, daily specials, etc.

You Can Access Customer Data

When it comes to third-party food ordering systems, you don’t necessarily have access to the customer data. With in-house online food ordering systems, you have all the data you need to analyze ordering trends and preferences to better customize your menu, staff schedule, prices, deals, etc.

The Perks of Third Party Online Ordering Software

Here are some of the benefits of sticking with a third-party online ordering system.


One of the greatest benefits of third party online ordering systems is convenience. They’re a great, low-maintenance option for restaurants who are just starting out or who want to take advantage of third-party delivery services. Because mobile ordering has become the primary ordering method, using third-party services is especially convenient, as they were designed with mobile in mind.

Increased Reach

For many smaller mom and pop restaurants, third-party online ordering systems provide free publicity by making your restaurant visible to thousands of diners who might not have the name recognition to find you online. Popular third-party ordering sites like Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Postmates, have a strong customer base who may come across your restaurant naturally within the app. 

For more restaurant management tips, check out the McDonald Wholesale blog, where we cover important topics like our guide to no-contact curbside pickup and delivery, tips for dealing with rising food prices, and what you need to know about ghost kitchens.

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