A Comparison Guide: Apps for Restaurant Owners
With so many apps for restaurant owners, its easy to get caught up. Explore this guide to help you make the best choice to meet your restaurant’s needs.
Is your restaurant ready to make the leap to app ordering? It’s a big step, but it will open up a world of opportunities. But with so many apps for restaurant owners, it’s easy to get caught up. Every platform is a little different, so take a beat and think about what you need to accomplish.
We will help you make the best choice to meet your restaurant’s needs. See how some of the biggest names compare to Octocart in our vendor comparison guide!
Choosing the Right Online Ordering Platform for Your Restaurant
One of the biggest challenges in establishing an online ordering system for your restaurant is deciding which platform to use. With so many trusted names out there, it can be a head-scratcher.
When comparing your options, think about how the solutions can help both you and your customers from four different perspectives: ease of use, experience and functionality, customer data ownership, and brand experience.
Ease of Use
There are numerous restaurant ordering apps nowadays, so providing an easy-to-use platform is necessary to get customers to use your app. Get inside your own head and think about what drives you to choose one app over another. What makes your chosen app easier to use than the other?
Some of the first ease-of-use features that come to mind might include:
- Authentication for security, privacy, and convenience
- Streamlined browsing and ordering
- Speed and performance
Customers need these features. If your app doesn’t meet your customers’ needs, they will bolt to a competitor. Ensure your restaurant platform is a breeze to use.
Experience and Functionality
Ever open an ordering app that stalls out, prompting an “app not responding” pop-up? Glitches are enough to drive customers away from you and to the next best option. Make sure your app works the way it should.
Customization is an extension of the restaurant experience. After all, if customers were dining in, they could look their server in the eyes and say, “No tomato.” If your app bakes customization into the experience with checkboxes or something similar, you digitally replicate that key dining feature.
Customer Data Ownership
When you own your customer data, you can tailor experiences either in the app or through your marketing. That’s because you have full access to customer information, such as eating habits, most-ordered dishes, and order spend.
So take that information and put it to good use, providing personalization and making data-based decisions. With customer data, you can:
- Customize offers and rewards based on spending habits.
- Make item suggestions based on order history.
- Plan your vendor orders based on app traffic and popular items.
The right apps for restaurant owners are more than just platforms customers use to order food. They elevate the brand experience especially between the app and your website. Rather than having a disjointed experience with an app that looks and feels different from your restaurant’s site, you should find an option that makes the two feel cohesive.
Your ordering app platform fits in with your website and allows you to:
- Use your brand name to create loyalty.
- Reflect your branded elements, such as logos and fonts.
Whew. With so much information to chew on, your head is probably spinning. Which of the many apps for restaurant owners best fits your needs?
Don’t worry! We’ve done the hard work for you, sizing up some of the biggest players you have to choose from.
Comparing Brands: DoorDash, Toast, ChowNow, and Octocart
So how do different providers stack up? From features to costs, zero in on how DoorDash, Toast, and ChowNow compare to Octocart.
DoorDash is hands down the most well-known platform on our list. However, it’s also a hands-off service, working with couriers. It’s one of the OGs in an ever-growing collection of third-party delivery services, along with GrubHub and UberEats. DoorDash operates as an app and works in web browsers to provide online ordering services for restaurants.
DoorDash is more about itself than about your restaurant. Your business will be featured among countless others on the platform.
- A branded storefront
- Restaurant or third-party delivery
- Curbside and pickup options
- Online and gift card payment support
In a striking lack of transparency, DoorDash doesn’t disclose its monthly subscription fees. It does, however, have a laundry list of fees that take away from your restaurant’s profits, including:
- 15-30 percent delivery commission
- 6 percent pickup commission
- 12 percent self-delivery commission
- 2.9 percent + $0.30 storefront commission
Overall, DoorDash gets average reviews from customers, workers, and restaurant owners, earning 3.2 out of 5 stars. As a result, the service receives a mix of feedback:
- "... we can prepare more easily … it generates more business for us and is convenient."
- "... lack of accountability between drivers and restaurants.”
- "DoorDash efficiently allows the driver and customer to interact with the software."
Toast is a restaurant point-of-sale (POS) system, but it’s also an online ordering platform. Perhaps a little lesser-known, Toast focuses on serving primarily small and medium restaurants with its Toast Takeout app and browser-based platform. The company doesn’t hire drivers and instead partners with third-party delivery companies. One major draw for restaurants? Toast is built to integrate with your website.
WHAT SERVICES DOES TOAST OFFER?
Because Toast is a two-in-one platform, it boasts features that support your ordering goals and your POS.
- Restaurant delivery and pickup
- Points-per-dollar loyalty program support
- Physical and digital gift card support
- Customer data transparency
- Automatic updates for menus and POS
- Connections between online orders and email marketing
As a middle-of-the-line option, Toast doesn’t break your budget. Subscriptions range from $110-165 per location per month, but you keep more profits because the service doesn’t charge commissions.
On the whole, Toast gets rave reviews from customers and restaurant owners, scoring 4.3 out of 5 stars. Their feedback is mostly positive, with a few criticisms in the mix:
- "... unable to handle duplicate menu items in the same customer order.”
- "I love everything about Toast, their online ordering, email marketing, loyalty program, and updates!”
- "Toast's Online Ordering Module—which is associated with our site—works immaculately.”
ChowNow is devoted to helping local restaurants thrive, making it appealing to smaller operations and owners who want to control 100 percent of their customer data. It’s a browser- and app-based restaurant platform that ensures consistent restaurant branding and experience.
WHAT SERVICES DOES CHOWNOW OFFER?
ChowNow fills in the gaps for smaller restaurants, providing well rounded features to support the various needs of the business and its customers.
- App or website development
- Existing website integration
- Restaurant delivery and pickup
- Catering up to seven days in advance
- A loyalty program that allows for a percentage discount
- Access to customer data, including spend and frequency
- Batch email reports on your chosen cadence
As a comprehensive option, ChowNow has a price tag to match. Its top subscription comes in at $199 per month. And although Google ordering is convenient, the feature includes an extra 12 percent fee.
ChowNow gets stellar reviews at 4.6 out of 5 stars. It’s a hit among restaurants, but users voice a handful of concerns:
- “It's easy to set up and use. Very user friendly. We've set all our restaurants up with ChowNow.”
- “ChowNow will create your own branded mobile app for customers to use. There are no commission fees per order.”
- “It is hard to get a hold of anyone at ChowNow.”
We may be the new kids on the block, but Octocart is starting strong. Octocart is designed to be a single-restaurant platform, serving your restaurant instead of pulling in traffic for your competitors. In this way, it bridges the gap between custom apps for restaurants and the limits of third-party providers. Octocart is browser-based, with a fully branded storefront that essentially is your website.
Born from the top app development minds at Detroit Labs, Octocart gives you everything you would expect from a winning app. For one thing, you own all of your customer data, from page views to order preferences. We also craft your solution to be a website and online ordering platform in one. This allows you to manage everything under one CMS and give your customers the ultimate brand experience.
Octocart delivers features that your restaurant and customers expect. That means quality service and happy bellies. Our platform provides:
- Restaurant or third-party delivery and pickup
- Online and gift card payment support
- Punch card loyalty program support
- Discount codes, when compatible with the POS system
- Email marketing via Mailjet
- Platform updates and maintenance support
Octocart keeps your costs low by design. We make sure you enjoy the profits you work so hard to earn. Our prices start at $150 per month and per location, and we never charge commissions.
Octocart is building off the successes of its parent company, Detroit Labs. Detroit Labs consistently earns high reviews at an impressive 4.8 out of 5 stars, so it’s safe to say clients and customers are raving.
Vendor Comparison Chart
The top restaurant app services have features to help your business thrive. Compare them side by side in the chart below:
Third-Party App or Browser (Multiple Restaurants)
|No||Yes||Yes||Yes, 12% Finder's Fee|
Storefront App or Browser
Self-Delivery or Third Party
Curbside & Pickup
Gift Card Payments
Loyalty Program Options
Customer Data Ownership
Marketing Tools & Support
Website Tools & Support
POS Tools & Support
|No||2.9% + $0.30||No||2.95% + $0.15 CC Fee|
|$150 per location, per month||--||$110 - $165 per location, per month||$129 - $199 per location, per month|
Please note all cost information referenced is as of June 2022, gathered as public information from brand sources like websites and live chat.
1 Customer purchases a program up front, receiving a percentage off their orders until the program's value is exhausted.
2 Promotions based on coupon codes from the website, app, or external marketing.
3 Does not offer the feature in-house, but has partnerships established.
4 Supported via integration with an online ordering processing system.
5 Will be supported via our integration with Olo, an online ordering processing system.
6 Through a third-party app or browser.
Choose a Restaurant App That Meets Everyone’s Needs
There are many aspects to consider when choosing a restaurant app, from the ease of use to the brand experience. Plus, there are so many partners to choose from!
You need to balance meeting your and your customers’ needs with the extras you will get from your investment. Low fees? Customer data ownership? Marketing support?
Octocart delivers at a price you can afford. Get in touch to schedule a consultation with our Octocart Specialist to see a live demo today.
Octocart is backed by Detroit Labs
Created by the same app developers who built successful apps for Domino’s and Jimmy John’s, Octocart is a premier solution supported by a world-class development team. When you team up with Octocart for your solution, you know you’re working with people who operate with integrity and are passionate about the end products they deliver for your business.
Does Octocart sound like the ideal ordering solution for your restaurant?
Schedule a demo to tour the platform and explore the possibilities for your brand.