Join an Online Marketplace or Get Your Own App? A Tricky Choice for Restaurants and Takeaways.

Over the pandemic period we saw just how important it is for restaurants and takeaways to be able to get their food out to their customers, when their customers couldn’t come and dine in with them. Mobilising their dishes meant staying afloat for a lot of businesses, and many will continue to have their food available for delivery. The question is, what’s the best way to facilitate online ordering for your business?

1. Take orders over the phone, WhatApps or Facebook Messenger

The initial benefit of this method is the cost – there is no commission or ongoing fees. To get started with this you just find a way for your customers to see your menu and contact you with their order. So pop your menu on your Facebook page and let them know how to get in touch. The issues with this method are that you are going to get mistakes, it’s hard to keep a track of your orders, and you have to take payment over the phone (which isn’t great idea these days, it’s not secure, and if card details are leaked you are liable) or worse try to link bank transfers to orders. If you get busy, those phone calls and messages can quickly get unmanageable, it’s hard to stay on track! It quickly becomes an unviable option as your business grows.

2. Your own branded website

Having your own website, where your customers can come directly to you, can be a great way of managing your own presence online and avoiding the commission charged by national food marketplaces. They can be very easy to set up and manage when you use the right platform, allowing you to have a fully branded service for your customers to use. Payment processing, automated delivery integrations and marketing features are all very helpful functions that can be part of your website setup. This does take some managing though, keeping the website up to date and monitoring incoming orders and queries.

3. Branded App

The next level from having a

website is having your own ordering app. Apps are always in your customers’ hands, and customers enjoy the slick ordering experience. There are a few ways to get your own app, with different levels of costs. For some apps you will pay an order commission, others a flat fee and things vary when it comes to paying card processing fees. Some apps come with a terminal
for managing your orders in the restaurant, so you benefit from receipts for the kitchen and fully featured order management. Integrated marketing campaigns can also make an app even more effective – Push notifications bring your customers back at a much higher rate than email. If you have a really good customer base and brand, this can be an option for you, as you will be able to bring all your loyal customers to your very own app.

4. Join an online marketplace

Joining an online marketplace is like getting a small shop on a busy high street. You may be just one shop on that row of businesses, but if that street has lots of passing trade, then you will certainly benefit. Online marketplaces already have registered customers, who love to try something new. Marketplace apps are also incredibly ‘sticky’, with customers opening up the app for a browse as soon as they start to get hungry. A good marketplace will promote you to its customer base shorty after you go live, and will also promote new items on your menu and special offers. Most marketplaces will include a terminal for you to have in your store, where you can easily manage all your orders. The terminal will print receipts and handle customer communications too. We recommend joining a localised online marketplace if there was one operating in your area, they typically charge a lot less than the national takeaway marketplaces.

A reasonable option is having multiple methods in play. Having your own website and app for your loyal customers and newly acquired ones to come directly to you, while also being part of a local marketplace to increase your exposure and let a third party push traffic to your restaurant.

If you are a business with these questions on the agenda, we are here for a discussion around your approach methods, what set-up would work best for you, and where Redbox can help. If you would like to find out more drop us an email: or give us a call on +44 (0)1134660024

Aaron Haase
Head of New Business