Independent restaurant owners are under pressure to adopt technology. It makes sense from an operational aspect. And now, a recent National Restaurant Association report cites that a third of all customers say technology options compel them to choose one restaurant over another.

The question is: which technology is the most influential on customers? There are plenty of technologies restaurants can use – tablets at the table, reservation systems, online ordering, loyalty platforms, and others.

Well, the marketplace has spoken, and the answer (not surprisingly) is online ordering. In 2010, telephone orders for takeout and delivery outnumbered online orders by more than 3:1 – 1.4 billion phone orders compared to about 400 million online orders. Today those numbers are almost equal – 1 billion telephone orders compared to about 900 million online orders. It’s worth noting the total market increased by about 100 million orders, but the bigger move was the percentage of traffic shifting to online ordering.

Those numbers are skewed heavily by the pizza industry, where the largest pizza companies have seen online orders reach 50% of their total volume. Industry experts, however, predict that online ordering could grab 50% of all takeout orders, in all restaurants, as soon as 2022.

So, it’s clear restaurant consumers are choosing to order more online and that online ordering has become one of the most influential technologies restaurants can choose to implement. The next question for independent restaurants: What type of online ordering system do I implement? Do you rely on portals or do you employ an individually-branded online ordering system?

Want to know more? Check out NetWaiter’s whitepaper – Multi-Restaurant Portals vs. Individual Sites. It’s free and full of valuable information.

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