The COVID-19 crisis has ushered in a table tech revolution. Pubs and restaurants have traditionally been slower to adopt innovative technologies, but the past year has propelled them to seek out solutions to keep their staff and customers safe. Online ordering apps have been a popular option as hospitality businesses return to in-venue service. The government is encouraging restaurants and pubs to adopt table ordering apps to help them to maintain social distancing.
This is also a good time to review your EPOS system for your pub or bar to make sure your store technology is best optimised for your business.
How do table ordering apps work?
Table ordering apps are a type of digital menu. They reduce face-to-face contact, by allowing customers to order and pay online from their own phones. They also reduces shared surfaces, such as menus and card machines. Pub ordering apps also prevent customers from crowding at the bar when making and collecting orders, by letting them order from the safety of their own tables instead.
There are two types of table ordering apps. The first is a native app that your customers need to download. The second is a browser-based web app that can instead be accessed via a QR code or your venue’s WiFi login.
Table ordering apps are essential to keeping your pub, bar, cafe, or restaurant in business during the era of social distancing – and the benefits they offer mean that they’re here to stay in the long run as well. You can take a look at our use case for order and pay systems in pubs and bars if you want to find out more.
If you’re looking for a pub ordering app or a restaurant ordering app, below are some great choices. These top table ordering apps will keep you in line with government guidelines on social distancing, whilst also maintaining top-quality customer service.
Top table ordering apps
1. StoreKit Order & Pay
StoreKit Order and Pay is our recommended table ordering software. You can set your menu up in under 20 minutes and there are no signup fees – so you can build your digital menu now and decide whether you want to apply for payment processing later.
Why StoreKit Order & Pay?
Progressive web app
Many table ordering solutions are native apps, and the idea of a branded app can seem like an attractive option for businesses. However, requiring app downloads can feel intrusive for customers, who won’t want an app dedicated to a single pub or restaurant. App downloads also add an extra layer of resistance for businesses where speed is key, like cafes, bars, or quick-service restaurants.
Instead, StoreKit is a progressive web app, combining the strengths of both an app and a web page. Like an app, it has push notifications and fast load speeds – but it doesn’t require downloading. Customers only need to scan a QR code to navigate to your menu, where they can browse, order, and pay.
When it comes to digital menus, caring about appearances is far from superficial.
Images increase sales by up to 30%, according to Grubhub. Yet not all ordering systems will feature images of your products, and even fewer focus on how your menu looks. We know your menu’s appearance can sway whether customers order an item and how much they will pay for it – so StoreKit’s digital menu is attractive and customisable, and it lets you showcase pictures of your food and drinks.
EPOS integrations take time to set up, so lots of new software brands will struggle to offer integrations with your preferred EPOS. However, StoreKit offers an optional paid module that allows you to integrate with over 40 major EPOS systems, including major brands like Lightspeed L and K series, TouchBistro, and Square.
StoreKit is a payment processor. That means our software is free, and you only pay for payment processing. Many software companies will display the price of their software, without including fees for third-party payment processing – so make sure you keep this in mind when comparing prices.
With StoreKit Order & Pay, you only pay for payment processing, for an unlimited number of stores – so 1.9% + 15p (March 2021) is the only fee. If you’re also looking for a delivery or click and collect platform, you can also get started with StoreKit Takeaway for 2.9% + 20p. That does make StoreKit slightly more costly than Goodeats (though prices can fluctuate) – but that’s in exchange for a vast range of integration options and a customisable and visually orientated menu that’s likely to boost sales.
2. Goodeats, by Goodtill
Goodtill, known for its POS software for the hospitality industry, has branched out more recently to create an online ordering system called Goodeats.
Goodeats isn’t an app, so it doesn’t require downloading (you can watch an explainer video here). All customers need to do is scan a QR code, specify their location within the venue, order their items, and pay. Here at StoreKit, we’re advocates of the QR code menu because they’re quick and easy to use.
Another benefit of Goodeats is that it’s an additional module for the Goodtill POS software, which means that they’re guaranteed to work together. However, that does mean you’re tied to Goodtill’s POS system, so if you’re using a different POS brand, you’ll need to take a look at other table ordering apps instead.
Goodeats is an affordable option that won’t be eating up your margins – table ordering and drop-off costs 1.7% + 12p. The Goodeats platform can also be used for collection and delivery, which costs 2.7% + 12p.
Pepper lets pubs, bars, and restaurants design table ordering apps and websites.
Pepper’s main distinguishing quality is its series of loyalty features that encourage customers to return. It’s also a white-label platform that lets you build an own-brand table ordering app or web page. Pepper offers integrations with some leading POS systems and loyalty platforms.
Pepper’s pricing starts at £89 per venue per month in addition to payment processing fees. This plan includes features like mobile ordering and bill-splitting. Combining mobile ordering with the loyalty features costs £149 per venue per month, plus payment processing costs.
OrderBee is a table ordering system for the hospitality industry. It also offers a Pay Only feature, as well as a click and collect feature.
You’ll need a PayPal account in order to take payments, but setting up with OrderBee is quick and easy. OrderBee integrates with a variety of platform types, including guest feedback systems, payment getaways, and POS systems.
OrderBee charges between £80 to £100 per month per site, and you’ll also have to pay 1.2-2.9% + 30p payment fees to PayPal for each transaction.
OrderPay is different to the ordering apps above in that it’s an aggregator app. That means it gathers different brands together on one platform, so customers only have to download the OrderPay app once to access menus for a range of brands.
On OrderPay, your brand is placed alongside other businesses, creating some parallels with third-party delivery apps like Deliveroo and Uber Eats. OrderPay lets customers narrow down stores by location. Having your business shown side-by-side with your competitors could sidetrack potential customers.
But the platform can also expose your brand to thousands of new customers, without the high costs associated with third-party delivery platforms. In addition, when customers enter your venue, the app locks to take on the branding of your business. It also offers functions like tipping and bill-splitting.
Your table ordering app is a part of your business’ technology stack – and like your table ordering app, the decisions you make on your other technology can make all the difference. But choosing a table ordering app alone can be hard enough, let alone making decisions on your entire tech stack.
StoreKit can help here. In addition to offering an order and pay platform, we’re a marketplace and knowledge hub for EPOS software and hardware. We’ve put together a guide to restaurant management software, so check it out for some tips on choosing technology for your business. Alternatively – whether you’re a hospitality or retail business – don’t hesitate to give us a call for some free and impartial advice!BUILD YOUR FREE MENU