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Online food ordering is a process of ordering food from a local restaurant or food cooperative through a web page or app. Much like ordering consumer goods online, many of these 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 or cash, with the restaurant returning a percentage to the online food company.

Food Delivery Service types:


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.


Independent online food ordering companies offer two solutions. One is a software service whereby restaurants purchase database and account management software from the company and manage the online ordering themselves. The other solution is an 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.

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.

Food cooperatives

Food cooperatives also allow consumers the ability to place an order of locally grown and/or produced food online. Consumers place an order online based on what is available for the ordering cycle (month, week) and then pick up and pay for their orders at a central location.


Many restaurants offer the technology to place an order with an app, and may offer a discount or bonus item when the order is placed.

Advantages for online ordering

Customers are turning more towards online food services options for the convenience its offers, the variety of options and affordable food choices.

Disadvantage for online ordering

Customers are not able to ask about quality of food or ask for any specialized diet foods. It is more difficult to ask for no gluten or no allergy foods with online ordering. Also, it is more possible for a customer to place an order but never pick up the order which can lead to waste of food and possibly a loss of profits.

The 12 Best Meal-Kit Delivery Services For Easy Pre-Prepped Dinners And Smoothies

A. Purple Carrot

Why It Rocks: Every single dish is vegan. But we’re not talking boring grilled veggies: Think seasonal produce, herbs and creative sauces.

Try It:; $68 for 3 meals (serves 2); in 35 states.

B. GreenBlender

Why It Rocks: Inspired smoothie flavors like spicy mango and blueberry-walnut cobbler elevate your standard fruity breakfast. (BYOB…blender, that is.)

Try It:; $49 for 10; in 38 states.

C. PeachDish

Why It Rocks: Enjoy fresh twists on classic Southern fare like chicken and kale with grits, sourced from area farms. Many dishes are 600 calories or less.

Try It:; $50 for 2 meals (serves 2); nationwide.

D. HelloFresh

Why It Rocks: Pick from curated chef boxes (some created with Chef Jamie Oliver), plus veg-friendly and family-style boxes to create meals ranging in difficulty from 1 to 3. You can try mahimahi, garlic-butter shrimp or even butternut squash agnolotti.

Try It:; from $59 for 3 meals (each serves 2); nationwide.

E. Chef’d

Why It Rocks: Choose from more than 200 recipes on this non-subscription-based service. Plus, try meal selections from Tone It Up chef Alex Guarnaschelli or the James Beard Foundation.

Try It:; from $12 for 1 (serves 2); nationwide.

F. Plated

Why It Rocks: Seasonal recipes like portobello mushroom tacos and grilled hickory barbecue burgers will seriously up your cooking game. Plus, our testers loved the out-of-the-box (pun intended) dessert options that come with every box.

Try It:; $56 for 2 meals, including dessert (each serves 2); in 48 states

G. Blue Apron

Why It Rocks: These recipes are developed to keep cook and prep time to an average of 45 minutes, plus, the directions are so easy to follow, our editor had her 6-year-olds help her out.

Try It:; $60 for 3 meals (each serves 2); nationwide.

H. FreshRealm

Why It Rocks: All of your ingredients (almost) fully prepped are delivered to you in the Vessel, an insulated container, similar to a mini-fridge, without the electricity. Simply pull everything out and send the Vessel back. Easy and space saving!

Try It:; meals start at less than $10 per serving; 35 states.

Questions & Answers Questions & Answers

The results and the awards are organized and published by William Reed Business Media. None of the sponsor partners has any involvement with the compilation of the results or awards. None of our commercial partners, nor any of the employees of William Reed Business Media, votes in the poll.


No. They do not have to sell a certain product, they do not have to have been open a certain number of years and they do not have to have won any other culinary accolades. Any restaurant in the world is eligible to be voted for by our Academy so long as it has been open during the voting period, and so long as it is not planning on closing shortly


Not until the following year and even then it will only be the results of the voting that determines this, or if we are advised that it will be closed.


The list is the result of a poll of 1040 independent experts, who each cast 10 votes for  estbablishments where they have enjoyed their best restaurant experiences during the previous 18 months. This means that restaurants cannot apply to be on the list.

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