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Mobile and Online Ordering Please Customers, Preserve Margins

Savvy foodservice operators opt for robust platforms with manageable costs.

Sponsored by e|tab®

A focus on delivery, takeout and curbside service helped restaurant operators large and small maintain profitability when the pandemic shut down their dining rooms.

And even now with tables filling up again, patrons still demand fast, convenient off-premises food whenever the mood strikes. Satisfying convenience cravers is a continuing business opportunity that no restaurant operator can afford to ignore.

In fact, 54% of adults—including 72% of millennials—say purchasing takeout or delivery food is essential to the way they live, according to the National Restaurant Association 2022 State of the Restaurant Industry Report.

In another survey, 52% of consumers said they chose to use online ordering options from their favorite restaurants because they want to avoid waiting in line. And 73% of consumers said they like using technology to order food because they like placing orders quickly.

The desire to attract more convenience-seeking patrons is leading an increasing number of operators to implement fast and frictionless ordering platforms. Research shows that average ticket sales in restaurants that provide mobile and online ordering are 30% higher than in those that do not.

Factors for choosing the right ordering platform

While the case for mobile and online and ordering is clear, an operator needs a robust platform with manageable costs to reap maximum benefit. Choosing the right platform can be complicated and expensive, especially for independent operations and emerging multi-unit restaurant groups that have yet to build the infrastructure of a big restaurant chain. Few operators can afford to pay fees as high as 30% per order—which some third-party ordering platforms charge—as they grapple with rising food and labor costs, supply-chain disruptions and a shallow employee pool.

But what if operators could manage contactless ordering for dine-in, carryout, curbside and catering orders through a single platform without the margin-killing fees that some third-party providers charge? Fortunately, there are ordering platforms with the right technology and support to keep customers happy and the bottom line healthy. The following are some key factors operators should consider when choosing an ordering system.

Value for the money is a vital consideration. With platforms like Priority’s e|tab®, an independent restaurant operator can have many of the tools major restaurant chains typically employ, but at a fraction of the cost. For instance, there is a custom-branded ordering page for the restaurant that provides a seamless ordering experience for customers. Orders go directly to the kitchen via a printer or tablet. Customers may opt to have their order fulfilled by one of e|tab’s third-party delivery partners for a flat fee that is substantially lower than the high percentages some third-party companies charge.

No commissions or marketing fees

Another major concern is a prospective platform’s fee structure. With the systems like e|tab, customers order directly from the restaurant, not from an online platform, and there are no commissions or marketing fees. What’s more, 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. On average, operators using e|tab can save up to 40% on fees compared to using other ordering platforms.

Operators monitoring their cash flow and profitability during these challenging times will appreciate an operating platform that sends payments to their bank account via next-day funding, as e|tab does. This access to cash means the ability to pay bills, vendors and partners faster and potentially take advantage of early payment discounts.

Having dashboard accessibility improves the management efficiency of an ordering platform. The e|tab dashboard is accessible from any web or mobile device. Operators have full access to their customers’ ordering data to drive marketing efforts that boost satisfaction and loyalty.

Fast, convenient mobile and online ordering with the e|tab platform is helping Z’Tejas, a Southwestern restaurant brand based in Austin, Texas, grow curbside pickup sales and support Woo Woo Burgers, the ghost kitchen concept that it also operates.

“Curbside still has a large demand,” says Andrew Ritter, director, IT and operations, at Z’Tejas. “Curbside and online payment are actually so strong at this point that we developed our entire ghost concept around the curbside service model."

Convenience-craving customers are gravitating to restaurants that use fast and easy-to-use platforms like e|tab. “It is very important to us that a guest who visits our website to place an online order has as easy and seamless an experience as possible,” Ritter says. “All these components working together allows us to give the guest the best experience and product possible, which is key to helping us grow the to-go and online portion of our business."

Independent restaurant owners and operators of smaller chains no longer have to compromise when it comes to their ordering system. Innovative platforms like e|tab have officially leveled the playing field. When evaluating your next technology partner, here are some additional features that distinguish high-functioning ordering platforms like e|tab from the rest: personalized training, menu management tools, saved user accounts, saved payment methods, menu building and uploading, U.S.-based customer support, coupon/discount codes and guest checkout options.

For more information about how the e|tab mobile and online ordering system pleases customers and protects vital profit margins, visit