Online food ordering

Online food ordering is the process of ordering food through the restaurant's own website or mobile app, or through a multi-restaurant's website or app. A customer can choose to have the food delivered or for pick-up.[1] The process consists of a customer choosing the restaurant of their choice, scanning the menu items, choosing an item, and finally choosing for pick-up or delivery.[2] Payment is then administered by paying with a credit card or debit card through the app or website or in cash at the restaurant when going to pickup.[1] The website and app inform the customer of the food quality, duration of food preparation, and when the food is ready for pick-up or the amount of time it will take for delivery.[2]

The online food ordering market has increased in the U.S with 40 percent of U.S adults having ordered their food online once.[1] The online food ordering market includes foods prepared by restaurants, prepared by independent people, and groceries being ordered online and then picked up or delivered.[3][4][5]


The first online food order was a pizza from Pizza Hut in 1994.[6][7]

The first online food ordering service, World Wide Waiter (now known as, was founded in 1995.[8] The site originally serviced only northern California, later expanding to several additional cities in the United States.[9]

GrubHub was founded in 2004.[10]

By the late 2000s, major pizza chains had created their own mobile applications and started doing 20-30 percent of their business online.[11] With increased smartphone penetration, and the growth of both Uber and the sharing economy, food delivery startups started to receive more attention. In 2010, Snapfinger, who is a multi-restaurant ordering website, had a growth in their mobile food orders by 17 percent in one year.[1]

Instacart was founded in 2012.[12] In 2013, Seamless and Grubhub merged.[13] Uber Eats launched in Los Angeles, California in 2014.[14] By 2015, online ordering began overtaking phone ordering.[15]

In 2015, China's online food ordering and delivery market grew from 0.15 billion Yuan to 44.25 billion Yuan.[2]

As of September 2016, online delivery accounted for about 3 percent of the 61 billion U.S. restaurant transactions.[16]

Service Types


In restaurant-controlled online food ordering, the restaurants create their own website and app or choose to hire a vendor. If they choose to create their own website, they make sure to purchase a proprietary software that manages the orders efficiently, meaning it has the capability to manage different orders at once.[1] When they hire a vendor, the restaurant pays for a monthly fee or percentage-based fees. The vendor covers the developmental costs.[1]

The restaurants choose if they will offer the service of delivery or just pick-up. If they choose to offer delivery, they hire their own employees who do the delivery.[1] Papa John's is one of the restaurants that created their own Papa John's system, website, and app, and do their own delivery.[17] In 2010, they redesigned their website and launched mobile apps for iPhones, iPads, iPods, Androids Phones, Blackberrys, and Windows Phones.[18]

The preexisting delivery infrastructure of these franchises paired with the online ordering system. In 2010, Papa John's International announced that its online sales had exceeded $2 billion.[17]


In this case, a person cooks and offers meals or kits via their website, which are then directly sent to consumers.[3] The consumer chooses which meal and how many meals they want sent to their office or home, and pays depending on the meals or the program they are interested in. People choose to order meals from other people for different reasons: not wanting or having time to cook, wanting to eat home-cooked meals, or to lose weight by eating healthy foods. Examples of this type of service include DineWise, NutriSystem, Chef's Diet, etc.[3]

Food cooperatives

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.[19]

Online Food App Services

Sometimes restaurants partner with online food app services to place their restaurant in their application.[1] In this case, restaurants just focus on preparing the order. The app services provide the riders who deliver the food to the consumer.[1]

Zomato allows the customers to see what restaurants are near them, along with the ratings the restaurant has received in their food.[14]

Uber Eats delivers the food in special lunch bags that make sure the food remains hot or cold. It allows the customers to monitor the progress of the food, as well as, the location of the driver delivering the food. Uber Eats has expanded to the Middle East, Europe, and Africa.[14]

Talabat allows the customers to request their food deliveries at different times and shows them food menus with pictures on them.[14]

Ritual is a mobile order ahead app that connects restaurants with customers as a tool to place, pay for and pick up lunch orders. Ritual has attracted some controversy in the past due to its social-ordering piggyback feature, which reveals workplace location.[20]  

Food Riders

The riders for the app services such as Uber Eats, Foodora, Grubhub, etc. are independent contractors because they have the flexibility to choose when they work.[21] As independent contractors, they earn $6 an hour or more. In Australia, specifically riders for the food app of Foodora, consider themselves employees because they sometimes work full time hours, are required to wear uniforms, and do set shifts.[21]

Food delivery riders do not usually get any insurance cover or sick pay, since they are independent contractors. Deliveroo chose to give the riders insurance in the United Kingdom. The insurance consists of the rider paying $1.85 per week, which covers his or her days of sickness. Deliveroo will pay the riders 75% of their income in days off because of injury caused at work.[22]

Food delivery riders are not usually provided with protective gear or means to help themselves if they get injured on the job, therefore some have asked for more improved safety standards.[23] Deliveroo gave riders a helmet with a GoPro camera to record any problems they may face, specifically with criminals. The riders have the opportunity to raise safety concerns about delivery areas in the app.[22]

See also


  1. Kimes, Sheryl; Laque, Philipp (March 2011). "Online, Mobile, and Text Food Ordering in the U.S Restaurant Industry". Cornell Hospitality Report. Cornell University. 11.
  2. He, Zhou; Han, Guanghua; Cheng, T.C.E; Fan, Bo; Dong, Jichang (May 2018). "Evolutionary food quality and location strategies for restaurants in competitive online-to-offline food ordering and delivery markets: An agent-based approach". International Journal of Production Economic. 30: 61–72. doi:10.1016/j.ijpe.2018.05.008.
  3. Leavell, Anne (October 2008). "Meal Delivery Weight-Loss Programs". Obesity Management. 4 (5): 250–256. doi:10.1089/obe.2008.0230.
  4. Scott, Jason (April 2018). "Instacart launching delivery service in Lancaster County next week". Central Penn Business Journal.
  5. "Grocers expand delivery, click-and-collect services". The Food Institute Report. 90 (30). July 2017.
  6. "Pizza Hut Tells Twitter It Made The First Online Sale In 1994". 2013-09-09. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  7. "Hobbes' Internet Timeline 25". Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  8. "How to Make Lunch an Adventure". Retrieved 2017-09-20.
  9. "Restaurant Review: Dosas and samosas". Retrieved 2017-09-18.
  10. Bhasin, Kim. "GrubHub's CEO On The Shock Of Outgrowing Three Offices In A Few Short Years". Business Insider. Retrieved 2019-04-13.
  11. "Why Pizza Giants Want Customers to Click, Not Call, for Delivery". 2009-04-20. Retrieved January 10, 2016.
  12. Miller, Claire Cain (2014-08-19). "Delivery Start-Ups Are Back Like It's 1999". The New York Times. Retrieved January 10, 2016.
  13. Oremus, Will (May 20, 2013). "GrubHub-Seamless Merger a Boon for Consumers Who Could Never Recall Which Was Which". Slate. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  14. Sharma, Karishma (October 2018). "Consumption of online food app services: An exploratory study among college students in Dubai". Middle East Journal of Business. 13 (4).
  15. "Online food delivery ordering is about to overtake phone ordering in the US - Quartz". Retrieved January 10, 2016.
  16. "Restaurant food delivery heating up". Retrieved January 10, 2016.
  17. "Online Ordering Leader Papa John's First to Surpass $2 Billion in Online Sales". Business Wire, Inc. May 2010.
  18. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-04-20. Retrieved 2019-04-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. Kauffman, Jonathan (March 31, 2017). "The rise of the modern food cooperative". San Francisco, CA.
  20. "Food app Ritual is sharing users' precise workplace information". Engadget. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  21. Zhou, Naaman (November 2018). "Foodora Australia admits riders owed $5m were "more likely than not" employees; Collapsed food delivery company has offered $3m to cover all creditors, but unions are demanding workers be paid out in full". Guardian Newspapers.
  22. O'Mahony, Daniel (August 2017). "Deliveroo introduces helmet cams in bid to protect riders". The London Evening Standard.
  23. Patty, Anna (January 2018). "Minimum pay and safety call for food riders". Fairfax Media Publications Pty.
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