Online food ordering
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|Online goods and services|
Online food ordering is the process of food delivery or takeout from a local restaurants or food cooperative through a web page or app. Much like ordering consumer goods online, many of these services allow customers to keep accounts with them in order to make frequent ordering convenient. A customer will search for a favorite restaurant, usually filtered via type of cuisine and choose from available items, and choose delivery or pick-up. Payment can be amongst others either by credit card, PayPal or cash, with the restaurant returning a percentage to the online food company.
In May 2015, Eric Kim, a contributing writer for TechCrunch and CEO of Rushorder, reported that "of the $70 billion [takeout and delivery market], only about $9 billion (roughly 13 percent) is online." However, in China, online food delivery services are the one of the fastest and most frequently used services, especially in tier 1 and 2 cities, growing 23% in 2017.
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The preexisting delivery infrastructure of these franchises was well suited for an online ordering system, so much so that, in 2008, Papa John's International announced that its online sales were growing on average more than 50 percent each year and neared $400 million in 2007 alone.
Local companies have teamed up with e-commerce companies to make ordering quicker and more precise. Annie Maver, director of operations for The Original Pizza Pan, Inc. of Cleveland, Ohio comments that "the system is good for customers who don't speak English."
Some restaurants have adopted online ordering despite their lack of delivery systems, using it to manage pick-up orders or to take reservations.
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Independent online food ordering companies offer three solutions. One is a software service whereby restaurants purchase database and account management software from the company and manage the online ordering themselves. The second solution is a Web-based service whereby restaurants sign contracts with an online food ordering website that may handle orders from many restaurants in a regional or national area. The third is where an independent create and offer foods, meals or kits via their website which are then directly sent to consumers.
One difference between the systems is how the online menu is created and later updated. Managed services do this via phone or email, while unmanaged services require the customer to do it. Some websites use wizards to find the best-suited menu for the customer.
Some food cooperatives like Macomb Co-op allow members to place orders of locally grown and/or produced food online and pick up and pay for their orders at a central location.
Many restaurants offer the technology to place an order with a mobile app and may offer a discount or bonus item when the order is placed.
The first online food ordering service, World Wide Waiter (now known as Waiter.com), was founded in 1995. The site originally serviced only northern California, later expanding to several additional cities in the United States.
With increased smartphone penetration, and the growth of both Uber and the sharing economy, food delivery startups started to receive more attention. Instacart was founded in 2012. In 2013, Seamless and Grubhub merged. By 2015, online ordering began overtaking phone ordering.
As of September 2016, online delivery accounted for about 3 percent of the 61 billion U.S. restaurant transactions.
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