Best ecommerce platform for restaurants

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The online ordering system is becoming a requirement for restaurants. The current situation – social distancing, doesn’t allow sitting in a hotel to take meals. The convenient way is to order meals through an online system.


ecommerce platform for restaurants

If you run a restaurant and want to keep your customers or get more customers, consider investing in the best eCommerce platform for restaurants. A standout restaurant ordering system should allow takeout orders, catering orders, and pre-orders and offer a table ordering app.

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Besides, social media sharing, SEO optimization, real-time offers, instant payments, and table reservation are essential aspects to consider.
The web and apps are avenues that restaurants can use to market themselves. That means they can accept orders and payments and post events, restaurant locations, menus, and special diets.
Ecommerce platforms like MenuDrive, ChowNow, and Open Dining offer an exemplary range of features. With these platforms, they let you run your restaurant professionally for higher income.
In this write-up, we look at:

Ordering system comparison Table    
Ordering system Shopify MenuDrive ChowNow
Overall rating 4.44.24
Free trial Yes No No 
Free PlanNo No No 
Pricing (premium)$29 – 299/mo. $99/mo./location$149 /mo.
Ease of use4.54.33.9
Features range4.54.34.4
Value for money  4.54.24
Customer support4.243.9

Restaurant Online Ordering System Review

By now, you know that eCommerce for restaurants is an essential part of running a restaurant. An online restaurant ordering system lets you create an eCommerce restaurant website according to your restaurant’s size. As such, you can effectively manage online orders and customers.
We have sampled out our favorite and most effective eCommerce platforms for restaurants.
Take a look:


For the past ten years, ChowNow has been in operation. It is one of the best eCommerce platforms for restaurants as it lets you take full charge of your restaurant.
With the platform, you can build a superior-in-class online ordering system, thanks to its robust technology.
Third-party delivery apps charge a fee. This eats up a portion of your profit. But with ChowNow, forget about those third-party predatory fees.
Best of all, ChowNow technology allows you to integrate online ordering directly into a website. And with a custom mobile app for iPhone and Android, users can order, make reservations, or check out your restaurant on the go.
Above all, Restaurants can take orders from multiple points-Google, TripAdvisor, Yelp, and OpenTable.
Sadly, installing ChowNow is demanding. But once set up, you can do your things with ease. Again, this platform has little flexibility – hard to change the existing structure. So scalability is difficult. Marketing options are also limited, which makes it hard to enforce a full-fledged digital marketing solution.
There are plans, and each plan comes with a setup fee. The fees are per location.

  • Monthly plan: costs $149 /month with a setup fee of $399
  • Annual plan: costs $119 /month with $199 Setup Fee
  • Two-Year plan: costs $ 99 /month with a $199 Setup Fee


  • Looks nice
  • Decent pricing
  • Easy to operate – centralized dashboard
  • Branded mobile apps
  • Compatible with multiple channels – Google,
  • TripAdvisor, Yelp, and OpenTable
  • Button for Facebook and Instagram


  • No order history for customers
  • Food images are not available on menus.
  • Customer service not great
  • Menu templates promote the ChowNow instead of the restaurant brand


The standout feature of Shopify is that it lets you own the whole process – customers and marketing. Besides, it is the easiest way to bring your restaurant orders online.
If you can get hold of customers and marketing processes, then you keep revenue to yourself.
For better management and revenue generation, you should know handy analytics like the frequency of customer purchases and most ordered meals. Shopify provides actionable analytics to ensures you stay on top of your orders, sales, and marketing.
And since customers deal with you directly, treat them to exemplary customer services.
With Shopify, you don’t rely on third-party service providers. You can launch ads on social media and Google to drive traffic to your shop. Further, you can execute targeted email campaigns for your customers.
In short, Shopify lets create and customize the eCommerce restaurant website to fit your details. Amazingly, Shopify is really easy to use. Most users give it 4.5 stars.
The restaurant online ordering system comes with powerful apps and 24/7 chat or email support.

There are three pricing plans, each with a 14-day free trial, but you’ll pay per month.

  • Basic Shopify ($29): it offers the basics you need to run a new business.
  • Shopify ($79): ideal for a growing business
  • Advanced Shopify ($299): choose this option if you need to scale up your business.


  • Easy to set up to and use
  • Allows app integration
  • Attractive
  • Exemplary Customer Support – 24/7 via email, live chat, or phone
  • Great load speed
  • Powerful marketing tools – SEO features plus advanced e-commerce analytics and marketing tools like custom gift cards, store statistics, discount coupons, and targeted email marketing.
  • Secure and `reliable


  • You’ll need to reformat content when you change themes
  • Some basic functionalities may require app installation
  • Restrictive payment processor


Menudrive is suitable for all sizes of restaurants. So whether you run small independent restaurants or the largest multi-location restaurant chains offering all cuisines, you got covered.
Menudrive is incredible for its ability to create a simple yet effective online ordering for takeout or delivery. Lovable features include:

  • Branded online ordering
  • Improved takeout operations
  • Marketing and promotional features
  • Mobile ordering
  • Loyalty programs
  • Credit card procession
  • With this eCommerce platform for restaurants, you can build an online restaurant as per your style and brand.
  • With its cutting edge technology, operations run seamlessly. Typically, customers can order remotely while restaurant owners can drive sales from various locations.
  • Using Menudrive is somewhat easy. On the hand, there are two pricing plans:
  • Restaurant Plan: it costs $99/mo./location.
  • Additionally, it comes with a $99 one time set-up fee and 3.5% + 15¢ per transaction.


  • Easy to set up and modify
  • Allows customization
  • Allows multiple marketing tools – coupons, loyalty, and marketing campaigns
  • Easy to use
  • Exemplary customer satisfaction
  • All-in-One Control Panel
  • Cloud-based
  • Built-in flexibility,


  • No app for iOS and Mac
  • The app isn’t accessible in some countries

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15 Things That Are Needed For Restaurant

Restaurant operations are complex. But modern technology can simplify everything. Remember, running a restaurant efficiently means:

  • Satisfying your customers
  • Making more revenue

So, you need a unique marketing formula to survive the competition. Understanding the market niche, target customers, and competitors is the best way out.

Below are 15 things you need to run your restaurant successfully.

Building a dedicated website

Creating a space on your business online is one way to increase sales. People can make an online reservation. So you should post your restaurant features and services on your website.
While creating the website, ensure it is user friendly and has all information a customer needs.

Prominent online menu

Have a clear menu.
80% of eCommerce restaurant website users’ checkout menus before vising your restaurant. So post something clear on your website.
Avoid PDF formats since many mobile devices find it difficult to display, scroll, and pin. In turn, this reduces your conversions.
Just dedicate a whole website page to display your menu. It shouldn’t request additional requests. Such a design is mobile friendly.

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Define hours of operation

When you post your hours of operation, customers know the exact time to visit your restaurant. As such, you won’t have disappointed customers – those who come only to find a restaurant closed.
Also, define holiday hours or when you are closing in advance.

A mobile-friendly web design

Almost every adult has a mobile device – smartphones and tablets. Thus, they use these devices to search for online restaurants. While creating a website for your restaurant, ensure it is mobile-ready.

Visibility of restaurant details

Name, address, and phone number are vital details. Ensure that you list them on your website – customers can easily make calls or get directions to your restaurant.
Further, embed your Google Maps Location on your website or link your address to Google Maps. Still, you can use tel: schema to connect your phone. This is a more straightforward method for mobile users to get to your location.
Did you know that listing this info on your website helps to rank higher in local Google search rankings? Just make your NAP (name, address, and phone) consistent across all your listings, social media profiles, and website.

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An inviting user experience

Any website must be easy to use besides communicating your brand and style – the arrangement of icons should be easy to follow. Thus, users can navigate without issues.

Integrated Payments and Bookkeeping

Since cash customers are becoming less by the day, it’s vital to embrace other payment methods. Therefore, integrating payment methods like Apple Pay, e-wallets, and EMV chip cards is a great idea. That means using the best eCommerce platform for restaurants. Such a platform will automatically feed all information into your bookkeeping software.

Build Customer Loyalty and Expanding Customer Reach

Attracting and retaining customers isn’t an easy job. That’s why you need to embrace modern restaurant marketing technology. Through technology, you can manage multiple social media and online accounts with a click.
Besides, you can create gift cards and customer loyalty programs. That translates to reduced workload. But here you need to get an efficient eCommerce for restaurants such as Shopify.

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Investing In Your Guests

Customers are your guests, so give them the best experience they need. That begins with exemplary customer service. Also, ensure that create a unique menu card – with prices and dishes explicitly displayed.
Beyond that, ensure that the quality of the food and services is top-notch. To achieve this, your staff should have the right set of equipment to do their job. Look for the latest equipment and technology for efficient service delivery.
Above all, your staff should have good manners while serving customers.

Simplify Inventory Management

With the best eCommerce platform for restaurants, you can monitor your stock. So, you’ll know exactly what you have in stock. Also, it helps detect wastage and theft.

Online ordering

With recent events, many people opt to order food online – it is convenient and faster. So if you make it easier for your customers to order, many people will buy your food.
Online ordering has minimal to no misunderstanding compared to phone orders. Besides, it allows you to compete with more prominent brands. During placement, you collect customer data, which is helpful for running promotions.

Nutrition and allergy information

Some Restaurants carter to customers with dietary restrictions and allergies. Highlight such information on your website. For instance, if you offer gluten-free or reduced-fat foods, highlight them on your site.

Email marketing and re-targeting

An email list is invaluable – it’s a channel of communicating with your customers regularly. You can tell them about events, daily specials, or any restaurant events. So you stay on top of your customer’s mind – The secret to marketing.
Place email signs up forms on your website in places like the home page, reservation page, contact page, and menu page.

Staff management

Your staff is your front liner. Typically, they see, hear, and know what’s going on in your restaurant. Therefore, they can make or break your business.
Hold staff meetings regularly – listen to them rather than talking the talk. They will tell you how things are flowing on the ground and suggest where you need to improve.

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Quality photos

Photos are a selling tool. Good photos indicate your restaurant’s environment: staff, what you offer, price range, and food types.
Use photos to highlight the best features of your restaurant on your website.

Best Website Builder for Restaurants

Every restaurant needs a website. Else wise, it is a recipe for disaster.
There are lots of clients online who need to dine. It makes it easier for dinners to look for dining places on the internet. Your presence online means you can tap from this market.
But building a standout website can be expensive – it can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars. If you don’t have such a monetary reserve, it can be devastating.
There’s a way out:
With the best website builder for a restaurant, you can make your website stand out from the rest.
We’ve rounded up some of the best website builders you can try. They are easy to use, and some are free. So you don’t have to spend money.
The best web builder offers an attractive out front, yet streamlined in the backend.
Check out these options:


With Wix, you get over 50 foodie templates- this is high flexibility level, which allows creating any restaurant you need. Wix has over one million users making it a popular choice.
You don’t need design skills to use this platform, making it a popular choice for everyone. Wix is ideal for restaurants because it has responsive templates, and its menu is customizable. Besides, it’s compatible with all devices.

Helpful tools include:

  • Open for Business
  • Restaurant Social Bar
  • Wix Restaurant Menus
  • Online Business Card


  • Easy to use
  • Excellent drag and drop feature
  • Excellent customer support
  • Hundreds of templates


  • Can’t switch templates
  • SITE123
  • This site is pretty straightforward, making it ideal for beginners. You get a website up and running efficiently and quickly.
  • You have over 20 restaurant templates, each packing lots of powerful features. But standard features include:
    • Restaurant Menu: it lets you post your full menu online. Besides, you can post-operation hours and other important things. Best of all, you get a tutorial.
    • Restaurant Reservations: this feature lets your customers make a booking. They create a specification of table size. On your part, you can determine the reservation grace period as well as confirm reservations automatically.


  • Has a free plan
  • Very easy to use
  • Multi-lingual


  • Free Plan has lots of ads
  • Has lots of layout restrictions


If you are a time-restricted restaurateur, this is your ideal choice. Actually, it is the fastest way to get your site up and running with GoCentral ADI – Artificial Design Intelligence.
Its tantalizing range of templates are ideal for all devices, and they pack a punch of powerful features. For instance, you get online orders through ChowNow, reservations with OpenTable integration, and customizable menus.
You can easily add high-quality images of your culinary creations to each template.
Pricing plans begin at $10.00 /mo., but you have a one free month trial.


  • Exemplary customer service
  • Easy to use
  • Has lots of features
  • Easy to make edits


  • Lacks a blank canvas template
Web builder Wix SITE123GoDaddy
Unique featureBest overallLive chatbot whiz Fastest to build 
Free PlanYes (no free trial)Yes No (free trial – yes)
Paid plansStarts at $4.50Begins at $5.80 /MonthStarts at $10.00 /mo. 
Design Flexibility
Mobile and SEO optimizedYes (control rating- 5)Yes (control rating- 1)Yes (control rating- 4)
Ease of use 4.743.8
Websites powered 100+ million 8+ million 80+ thousand
Mobile editor YesNo No 
Customer experience 4.543.7
Free custom design Yes Yes No 
Blogging 442
Overall rating4.23.93.3

Ecommerce Restaurant Themes

Web builders come with specific themes. As such, you should choose a theme that is compatible with the web builder and ordering platform of your choice.
Shopify offers a wide range of themes depending on the type of eCommerce you are putting up. If you run a Food and Drink Website, you get thousands of free and premium templates for your website.
Besides, you can narrow down to fast food themes, menu themes, organic food, and coffee shop themes. These themes are responsive, professional, SEO and mobile-optimized, and fast loading.
Similarly, a web builder like Wix comes with lots of templates for restaurants. The best ones will make your food stand out. Themes like The Pub (pubs/bars), Poke delivery, Restaurant Site, and Burger Corner are professionally made. Just choose what suits your business.
Remember, GoDaddy and other sites also come with multiple themes you can choose.

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Tips for choosing the right eCommerce Restaurant Themes

  • Consider a business solution but not a stunning website: your theme should bring customers. So the theme should prioritize displaying information that is important to customers. Such information includes address, phone number, restaurant location, and opening hours.
  • High-quality photography: ensure the theme you choose can display your photos and important information.
  • Code quality: the code quality determines the quality of the theme. Contact the theme author to get pre-sale support. Besides, you can research to check if the theme you choose has regular updates, and lastly, check how they handle theme functionality.

Shopify For Restaurants – The Best Online Ordering System

Shopify for a restaurant is an all-round and powerful platform. It works well for breweries, cafes, restaurants as well as local shops.

The exciting thing about Shopify is it’s:

  • Reasonable pricing structure
  • Intuitive design
  • Free to create and customize a store
  • 14 days of a free trial
  • Thorough customer support system
  • Lots of social media integrations
  • Local delivery and curbside pickup
  • Actionable analytics
  • Powerful apps

The best thing about Shopify is that the developers regularly update the features. This way, users and get the most out of the platform.
The latest release, i.e., the 2020 release, feature some thoughtful features like the online ordering for curbside pickup. Along with other features like QR code shopping, this feature offers compelling aptness and forward-thinking automation for the current moment.
Remember that Shopify is a cloud-based online platform. Therefore, it hosts your inventory on the servers.

What is the most used eCommerce tool for a restaurant online?

Online food delivery services are gaining traction. It is logical to order food from your favorite restaurant through the web or app with the current social distance situation.
The eCommerce platform for restaurants allows you to make orders easily:
If WordPress powers your website, then WooCommerce is a popular option. Actually, WooCommerce is ideal for a restaurant ordering system that wants to accept takeout orders on the web.
The manufacturer calls WooCommerce as the best WordPress eCommerce platform considering over 21 million downloads. This plugin allows you to sell anything as well as allow subscriptions. Above all, it scales with you.

WooCommerce pros:

  • Free downloads
  • You have more control over the ordering process.
  • Point-of-sale integrations
  • Multiple online payment options


  • Requires lots of work to make it a great restaurant ordering system
  • No direct support
    Restaurant-specific options like:


    • As a leading eCommerce for restaurants, ChowNow integrates directly into your website and lets your customer order directly from your website.
      Other prominent restaurant ordering systems include Toast POS, RestoLabs, Upserve, and Square Point of Sale and Open Dining.
      Besides, you can make use of Food delivery services like UberEATS, Amazon Prime Now, Grubhub, and SkipTheDishes.

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While running a restaurant, remember customer experience is the most important thing. So, be careful with the restaurant ordering system you choose. Typically, an eCommerce restaurant website should make the ordering process faster and easy.
Anything clunky can turn customers away. So ensure you invest in a system with May handy features.

Luis Gillman
Luis Gillman

Hi, I Am Luis Gillman CA (SA), ACMA
I am a Chartered Accountant (SA) and CIMA (SA) and author of Due Diligence: A strategic and Financial Approach.

The book was published by Lexis Nexis on 2001. In 2010, I wrote the second edition. Much of this website is derived from these two books.

In addition I have published an article entitled the Link Between Due Diligence and Valautions.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information published on this website is accurate, the author and owners of this website take no responsibility  for any loss or damage suffered as a result of relience upon the information contained therein.  Furthermore the bulk of the information is derived from information in 2018 and use therefore is at your on risk. In addition you should consult professional advice if required.