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There are two major types of online ordering providers: Portal-Based Sites and Site-Based Systems.

As many know, portals group a number of restaurants on one website for diners to search and find restaurants based on a variety of criteria.  It’s typically free for a restaurant to get listed and restaurants simply pay a percentage of each order.  At first glance, Portal-Based Sites appear to be a good deal – they’re inexpensive to join and restaurants don’t pay anything unless they get business.

But, let’s look further. Most portals show the same exact listing for every restaurant, offering no individuality or branding capabilities.  In addition, a restaurant’s ability to control their information and menu is often minimal.  This leads to errors and customers can receive false information.  Furthermore, if a restaurant links their own website to their portal listing, they are powerless to stop would-be customers from ordering at a different restaurant.  If a customer did click from a restaurant’s website and completed their order, the restaurant ends up paying the portal fee (which could be as high as 15%-25%) – for an order that originated from their own site!

Many restaurant owners are simply dissatisfied with the results and headaches of being listed on a portal.  They joined a portal (or many portals) because they saw it as a riskless opportunity and didn’t realize the downfalls until later.  Errors, customer complaints, and not receiving proper payment from the portal are plenty of reasons to be upset.

Restaurants with the most successful online ordering businesses use a Site-Based System (like NetWaiter) with integrated marketing functionality.  Successful restaurant owners using their own custom site realize they can reap huge rewards if they promote the service to customers.  For example, a restaurant that recently started with NetWaiter immediately began pushing their site to customers using Twitter, Facebook, store signage, and messages on their receipts.  Within six months, their NetWaiter site helped them to almost double their takeout business.  Orders roll in every day.

The functionality and benefits empower restaurants to take ‘an ownership’ in their online ordering business.  The ability to provide customers a seamless and branded ordering process is also very valuable.  Best of all, because the fees are substantially less than a portal, restaurant owners recognize the savings and know that promoting their own online site will not cost them an ‘arm and a leg’ or drive sales to other restaurants.

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