Blog / October 4, 2023 / Nate Pollak / UPDATED February 17, 2024

Online Food Delivery: Best Practices for Efficient Apps

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    Tired of tablet overload? Here’s how to find success with online food delivery apps

    The online delivery industry is rapidly expanding and expected to reach $490 billion by 2025.It’s crucial for restaurant owners to learn how to navigate the online delivery market and adapt to best meet market demand.

    With the variety of online food delivery software, it’s difficult to juggle each of them on a separate tablet. There’s everything from GrubHub for restaurants, Uber Eats, DoorDash, Postmates, Chownow, Instacart, Eat24, and more. Now more than ever, customers are ordering from their favorite food app that delivers yummy food straight to their homes.

    But with over five different food delivery apps, how could you possibly manage each one effectively to ensure every order comes through correctly while also looking after your brick-and-mortar location?

    Juggling multiple tablets in your restaurant leaves more room for error and can lead to the wrong order being delivered to the customer. Never mind that all these extra tablets take up valuable counter space.

    Poor operational workflows also result in slower deliveries. When you’ve got a bunch of delivery drivers coming in and out of your restaurant from different online delivery apps, it can disrupt your front-of-house service and diminish the dining experience for customers. Plus, there’s more pressure to get it right, since your profits are being squeezed from both sides thanks to food delivery app commission fees.

    Traditional restaurants just weren’t designed for delivery.

    And yet, the delivery trend only continues to grow, which means you’ve got to master this category in order to future-proof your business. But restaurant owners are figuring out solutions to all of these problems, allowing them to thrive with a delivery-first mindset. To do so, you’ve got to get your delivery down to a science.

    This means streamlining all operations, leveraging data to optimize restaurant delivery services, increasing your efficiency, and minimizing costs.

    With CloudKitchens, you can effectively streamline all of your operations and manage everything from one single platform through our proprietary software. That means no matter which food delivery app your orders are coming from, they’re all showing up in one place. This allows you to ensure your business is running at maximum efficiency and eliminates the headache of juggling multiple tablets just to take orders from every online food delivery app.

    Ghost Kitchen Delivery

    What are the most popular delivery apps?

    The most popular delivery apps include Uber Eats, DoorDash, GrubHub, Seamless, and Postmates. You can aggregate all your orders from these delivery apps into one tablet to streamline your restaurant operations with our proprietary software.

    Which delivery app takes the least cut from your profits?

    ChowNow. ChowNow is one of the delivery apps that does not take a cut from your restaurant’s profits. It takes 0% of your profits with every order placed.

    Preparing for online delivery success

    As you’re trying to navigate the online delivery market, you want to strive to create an excellent experience for every customer. This starts with understanding what your customers want: speedy deliveries, accurate orders, and of course, yummy food.

    With those insights in mind, here are some best practices to help you grow your restaurant delivery business.

    1. Customize your menu and make it widely available

    You want your menu to be customizable within each food delivery app so that customers can add different menu items to make their perfect order. The more customization you provide, the happier your customers will be. With more options comes more possibilities for them to make their order just the way they like it. Even something as simple as providing customers with the option to add more ketchup to their french fries will help optimize your menu.

    Be sure to choose menu items that taste the best when delivered and leave out items that don’t travel well. This will help improve customer satisfaction and lead to better reviews. For instance, items like eggs and steak don’t typically travel well and can quickly lose their taste when they’re taken off the heat for too long.

    To increase your online orders, your menu items should also be widely available and visible on multiple online food delivery apps. Whenever you’re marketing your menu online, the wider your audience, the better. This will help generate revenue and expand your reach to more customers than you’d ever have just from foot traffic at your brick-and-mortar location.

    Make sure to join online food delivery apps with the highest volume of users –  that way you’ll be able to reach the highest volume of customers ordering online. This includes Uber Eats for restaurants, DoorDash, Postmates, and GrubHub.

    2. Create a simple online ordering experience

    The easier your menu is to navigate, the more orders you’ll generate for you and your restaurant. Focus on maintaining an easily accessible menu that’s consistently updated and easy to follow.

    If it’s difficult to navigate, it may deter customers from placing an order. It’s crucial to take the time to make your online menu user-friendly so that ordering online is as easy as possible. The less friction you have in the ordering process, the better.

    It’s also important to remember to keep the descriptions of each menu item up to date. This means regularly checking to see if everything is in stock for each menu item, as well as listing common food allergens such as dairy, gluten, and nuts. So log into DoorDash for restaurants, and make sure all your details are up to par.

    The clearer your communication, the better the ordering experience will be for each customer.

    3. Open a delivery-only kitchen

    You’ve probably caught wind of the ghost kitchen trend (a.k.a. delivery-only kitchen), but what is a ghost kitchen? Many restaurant owners are turning to delivery-only kitchens to provide the infrastructure they need to optimize for delivery. These are commercial kitchens located in delivery hotspots that help you minimize cost and maximize your delivery potential. They come with all the operational pieces of the puzzle (like order fulfillment and facility management) to help you get your food into the hands of your customers in less time. In other words, they help you with all the not-so-fun parts of restaurant management so you can focus on making great food.

    4. Manage your orders all in one place

    If you’re operating out of a CloudKitchens facility, that means you’re also taking advantage of our proprietary software that aggregates all your online orders into one platform, rather than running each app from its own tablet. This will improve your kitchen operations and minimize any room for errors, like accidentally handing over an order to the wrong delivery driver or missing an order altogether.

    The technology that comes with your ghost kitchen (virtual kitchen) also includes a business management tool that allows you to see your weekly sales, trending items, and order issues across all your delivery partners.

    With CloudKitchens, you’ll have all of the restaurant management software help you’ll need in order to streamline operations and keep your restaurant running smoothly.

    5. Digital marketing to drive online orders

    In order to run a successful delivery business, you need to effectively market your restaurant online. This means everything from marketing within each online food delivery app, across social media, paid advertising, email, and even through SMS. You’ll want to focus on driving awareness, conversions (in this case, online orders), and five-star reviews.

    First, you want to be driving enough traffic to your page within each food delivery app. This starts with properly tagging your restaurant and menu items in each app. It’s also important to build a strong social following through consistent Facebook and Instagram posts. This helps you drive visibility without spending money on paid social media advertisements. You’ll want to create an Instagram and Facebook page with consistent, high-quality imagery. How often you post is crucial to keep your customers engaged on social media. You can also include direct links to your website and online menu within each social media page to further drive engagement. Pro tip: you can even drive online orders straight from your Instagram stories, thanks to their new food ordering feature.

    If you want to boost your traffic even more, you can supplement your organic posts with some paid social ads. Try promoting some of your best-performing posts to your target audience with a small budget to boost your reach.

    Your email and SMS marketing strategy should focus on nurturing back customers that have already given you their contact info from a previous order. You can include special deals you’re offering on happy hour menu items or new dishes to incentivize consumers to come back and place another order.

    Next, focus on conversions. This means once you get the traffic you want within each digital marketing channel, you want to convert those visitors into paying customers. You can effectively drive conversions with a clear call to action and a seamless user experience.

    Finally, you want to generate positive reviews. Reviews provide a layer of social proof that others have already had a great experience with your restaurant, so you’re going to want to capture as many high ratings as you can on delivery apps, Google My Business, Yelp, etc.

    6. Always ensure your photos are updated

    Customers love seeing what your dishes actually look like on a food app that delivers. If they receive an order that doesn’t look anything like the photo they saw online, this will hurt customer satisfaction. It’s also important to have as many photos as possible, but make sure they’re realistic and high-quality.

    Great imagery to show off your food goes a long way. Just think about what you like to see when you’re ordering from a restaurant online. Chances are, your customers want the exact same thing.

    7. Build multiple brands to capture more online orders

    With your ghost kitchen, you’ll also have the flexibility to test new brands out of one single kitchen. By building multiple food concepts, you can reach more customers online, and ultimately capture more orders. You can also easily shift between different concepts with your current equipment. If you’ve strictly owned a pizza joint, but know you can make the best chicken wings in town, why not do both? With multiple concepts, you’ll drive more traffic to each, resulting in more online orders. This is all possible because your presence is digital, which means you don’t need a new brick-and-mortar location every time you want to test a new concept.

    You should also leverage data to build new brands that meet current market demands. When you’re looking to implement a new restaurant concept, be sure to first check if the demand is there. With CloudKitchens, you can leverage brands that have already been created and proven successful within your delivery radius.

    8. Strive for speed and accuracy

    People ordering food online are looking for good food and they want it fast. Focus on the accuracy of each order and the time it takes for each order to be delivered. The more accurate and on-time your deliveries are, the more likely a customer will return and leave a great review.

    Always make sure your order is accurate before it’s handed off to the courier. That’s the final check before an order goes to the customer and it’s your last chance to make sure everything is correct..

    The good news is with CloudKitchens, the fulfillment and logistics are handled for you, increasing your accuracy and shaving off delivery time by roughly 30%.

    9. Make your customers feel special

    Going the extra mile to make your customer’s experience memorable will make it much more likely for them to return and leave a raving review.

    Remember that online reviews are what customers rely on most when deciding where to order food. The more memorable the experience, the more likely they are to leave a review and turn into repeat customers.

    What is the best online food ordering system?

    CloudKitchens helps you manage all of your deliveries from one single platform. You’re able to leverage the data you receive to increase the efficiency of each delivery. Instead of managing multiple delivery apps across multiple platforms, you can manage all incoming orders all from one place.

    Let’s build your delivery business together

    If you’re looking to level up on online food delivery, we can help. With CloudKitchens, you can effectively grow your restaurant delivery services by opening a ghost kitchen, managing all of your orders in one single platform, and maximizing your potential.

    Ready to start firing up those grills? Schedule a tour of a CloudKitchens facility today!

    Want to find the nearest location near you? CloudKitchens is available in various locations, whether you’re looking for a ghost kitchen in NYC, Cedar Rapids, Toronto, or more.

    Explore ghost kitchen locations across the US:

    DISCLAIMER: This information is provided for general informational purposes only and the content does not constitute an endorsement. CloudKitchens does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information, text, images/graphics, links, or other content contained within the blog content. We recommend that you consult with financial, legal, and business professionals for advice specific to your situation.


    Morgan Stanley. 2016