Online takeaway ordering portal or your own website?

Cheap Takeaway Websites provides state-of-the-art online food ordering websites designed to showcase your takeaway business and to provide you with the opportunity to make instant changes to your menu and details without having to rely on anyone else. We believe that a website which is yours and yours alone puts you in full control of what may end up being the largest income stream your takeaway has. That’s why we don’t take any commission from you. You are no doubt aware of the success of online ordering portals too, which many takeaway owners choose to use instead of or as well as their own site. The question every takeaway owner needs to ask is, am I getting the best service I can for the best return.

There are advantages and disadvantages to having your own online ordering website just as there are to using an ordering portal. We obviously believe that having your own site is better but we would never presume to tell you how to run your business. To work out which will truly work best for you and your customers you need to look closely at what both offer and which one might be more to your advantage. One thing to note is that they both have one very good advantage; the orders can be taken automatically. This reduces the need for someone to answer the phone which could ultimately reduce wage bills or free up this member of staff to prepare food instead of taking phone orders, thus speeding up order processing.

Your own website can have its own unique URL or web address (also called a domain name) www.yourtakeawaynamehere.co.uk. These have a yearly fee of around £20 and the URL must be available through domain providers such as www.fxdomains.com or www.enomcentral.com. If your domain name is already taken being creative or adding ‘-‘ or ‘_’ may not be beneficial to your identity online. You could however add your city to the URL, i.e. www.yourtakeawaybirmingham.co.uk. Online ordering portals include Just Eat, Hungry House and Meal2Go, but there are many more available, some of which are more localised rather than national. These sites offer a service for which you pay a setup fee and commission on all orders taken through it. One issue we have identified with portals is that your takeaway brand can often be pushed into the background by the overall look of the portal you are using and customers become more likely to remember they ordered through Just Eat rather than which takeaway they used while there.

Below we will look at both alternatives in more detail to help you to work out which approach is best for your takeaway.

Your own takeaway ordering Website

Advantages
You have full control over the website and are able to edit, add and amend your online menu or prices at any time of day. If you want to add a new product or make a change simply go into your menu listings and type in the information without a problem.
You maintain your brand identity. All menus are sent out with your unique URL on them, cementing your brand name with your customers.
You collect the money from online transactions in your own PayPal or Worldpay account or collect cash on delivery.
There are no commission payments on the orders you receive.
Your website can be connected directly to your existing EPOS system.
You can run instant special offers at any given time.
You can put the website address on your takeaway menus and in-store posters.

Disadvantages
You will not have the larger brand association which comes from using a portal.
In some cases website software comes with no support and you are left to find someone to fix the problem. Make sure your website has a 24hr support package included.
You will have to promote the website to your clients to encourage them to use to it, (maybe try offering a first order discount to help persuade them).

A takeaway ordering portal

Advantages
Brand marketing is done by the portal. They place adverts on primetime television and radio to encourage people to use the portal.
Good Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) results. The portal will have a dedicated team of programmers who make updates and changes regularly and know the best way to encourage search engine operators (such as Google, Bing, Ask, etc.) to list your site highly in their search results. Website software may be old or not updated regularly (software dependent)
Good portals use Pay per Click advertising. These are the sponsored links at the top of search engine results have been proven to work well in attracting people to websites. This is a service that can cost a lot to pursue; this cost is to the portal not to you.

Disadvantages
Portals collect the money and normally pay monthly or twice monthly, waiting a month knowing someone is making the interest you could be making is not good for your bank balance.
A percentage is collected on every order; this amount ranges from 8-12% depending on your negotiating skills, bargaining powers and overall size (number of outlets, numbers of competition etc.). Rarely will portals go below this as they have thousands of takeaways signed up paying that, missing one will not make a dent on their margins.
If you promote your portal store on your menus you will send custom through the portal and thus pay commission on the orders received.
In a portal you are a small fish in a very big pond; Just-Eat has over 8000 delivery outlets listed on their UK site alone! It is hard to be noticed in a crowd that large and there is not a great deal of ways to encourage the customer to use you.
Similarly, if you want to change the way your store looks, well, to put it simply, you can’t. No brand colours, no unique things about your business – just a logo and an address. It doesn’t encourage or develop brand loyalty from your customers.

Conclusion

As we said earlier, only you can decide which approach would be best for your takeaway and that is still the case. Maybe the thousands of other takeaways on the portals put you off using one, but then it may be too much of a risk not to use it because all your competitors are. By the same token the thought of setting up your own website inspires you to push your takeaway’s brand into the new digital age or the thought of the technical ideas turn your stomach. The idea of being full in control may be why you went into business for yourself in the first place, or you may feel that paying ten per cent of your profits to someone else to deal with your online business is worth it to you.

We have shown you some of the advantages and disadvantages of the two options currently available and we wish you luck in your decision. Many takeaway owners refuse to promote a portal insisting that they want new customers from it and not to give away a percentage of sales to existing customers. This implies that perhaps both are required, portals for new customers and standalone websites for existing customers. You might even decide that neither is correct for your business model and the best thing for you is your usual methods; designing, printing and distributing takeaway menus (if so, by all means visit our sister site Cheap Takeaway Menus.

Of course we’re on the side of the bespoke takeaway websites because that is what Cheap Takeaway Websites does and we have seen just how beneficial they can be. However, there is plenty of information around for you to make an informed decision, and please feel free to contact us with any queries you might have.

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