Skip navigation

Leveling the Playing Field in Mobile and Online Ordering Technology

Tech provides independent, chain operators with a competitive business advantage.

Sponsored by e|tab®

Independent restaurant operations and emerging multi-unit restaurant groups have a tremendous amount to gain by adopting online ordering technology.

In fact, more than eight in 10 operators say using technology in a restaurant provides a competitive advantage, according to the National Restaurant Association 2022 State of the Industry Report. The report finds that many operators are expected to devote resources to online or app ordering, reservations, mobile payment or delivery management in addition to back-of-the-house technology.

The fact is, getting fast, convenient delivery, takeout or curbside pickup food has become an expectation for the millions of consumers who relied upon it when restaurant dining rooms shut down during the pandemic. And even now that on-premises dining has resumed, customers still demand the speed and convenience of ordering food with a mobile or online device – whenever and wherever the mood strikes.

And as much as customers are enjoying warm hospitality and attentive table service in the dining room again, they’ve also grown comfortable with contactless service because of their social distancing experiences during the pandemic. So when they want delivery, takeout or curbside pickup, many prefer digital ordering and payment over interacting in person with restaurant staff, provided the experience is fast and frictionless. In fact, 29% of consumers in a National Restaurant Association survey said they would choose a restaurant that offers contactless or mobile payments over one that did not.

Tech boosts business

Implementing tech options such as mobile, web and kiosk ordering in a restaurant can bring sales boosts. A recent industry survey shows lifts in takeout (43%), delivery (28%) and catering (14%) when operators offer digital ordering options.

However, choosing the right online ordering platform and managing it effectively can be complicated, laborious and expensive. This is especially true for small and mid-sized operators who have yet to build the infrastructure to support online ordering like the big restaurant chains. And as operators well know, some third-party online ordering providers charge fees as high as 30% per order. That is a hefty chunk of profit margin to give away under any circumstances, not to mention in today’s tumultuous foodservice climate.

Fortunately, there is a way to level the playing field in online ordering. Platforms like Priority’s e|tab online ordering system enable an operator to manage contactless ordering for dine-in, carryout, curbside and catering orders through a single platform without paying the margin-killing fees that some third-party providers charge.

With e|tab, customers order directly from the restaurant, not from a third-party platform. There are no commissions or marketing fees, just a flat fee that is substantially lower than what some third-party providers charge. On average, operators using e|tab can save up to 40% on fees compared to some other ordering platforms. And not only can it save your margins, it aligns perfectly with customers’ expectations for their ordering experience. DoorDash’s 2021 Restaurant Online Ordering Trends Report found that 43% of consumers actually prefer to order delivery directly through a restaurant's website or app, versus the 27% who prefer a third party.

"With our complex operations, especially with a ghost concept sharing the same facilities, e|tab has made a significant impact on our ability to take online orders,” says Andrew Ritter, director, IT and operations, for Z’Tejas, a Southwestern grill based in Austin, Texas, which also operates the ghost kitchen concept Woo Woo Burgers.

“Maintaining the branding throughout the process is a key component of why we partnered with e|tab,” explains Ritter. “One of the most difficult parts of taking online orders is efficiently communicating to the team that the order has been placed. However, e|tab has the ability to seamlessly send the order directly into the point-of-sale, which then fires the order directly to the kitchen. This allows the team to prepare and process the order just like any other order, reducing the chance of our team making errors.”

Provides advanced tools at a fraction of the cost

Another capability that independent operators who use e|tab enjoy is access to their customers’ ordering data. Just like the big chains, they can use customer data to drive marketing efforts and improve customer engagement so they can better compete in the online ordering marketplace.

The e|tab platform provides independent restaurant operators many of the tools major restaurant chains typically use, but at a fraction of the cost. Importantly, all the functionalities can be accessed from any web or mobile device for efficient management. e|tab empowers merchants with useful features like analytics dashboard access, website and mobile ordering, complete menu control, order management capabilities and personalized training. Additionally, e|tab’s integration with Priority’s payment platforms provides next-day payment to the operator’s bank account – an important benefit for managing cash flow and staying on top of payables.      

For more information about how the e|tab mobile and online ordering platform can help operators achieve higher sales and profits, visit