Online food ordering could be called the response of the Internet to the desire for delivery food. It is a growing trend especially in urban areas and on college campuses that allows people to order from restaurants featuring interactive menus, by use of their Internet connection. In many cases, any Internet capable device that can handle complicated web pages can be used to make orders, though a lot of people rely on a desktop or laptop computer for this. A second definition of online food ordering is that it is ordering from grocery stores to stock the kitchen, instead of placing one time orders with a restaurant.
There are several ways in which online food ordering from a restaurant may occur. A restaurant can have its own website with easy features for placing an order for pick-up or delivery. Some add a third option of being able to make reservations. Instead of calling for a delivery, people just access the Internet, head to the restaurant site and make their order.
Alternately, one online food ordering site may feature the menus of many different restaurants. This way, customers can browse through the menus, weighing thing like preference, cost, and others, and determine what they want to order. Two things can occur here: the online site may offer food delivery and pick up food ordered from the restaurant, usually assessing some form of delivery fee, or it may deliver the order via Internet or phone to the chosen restaurant, which then prepares and delivers the food. The latter scenario is more likely, but there are food delivery services that specialize in picking up from any participating restaurant.
There are several advantages to online food ordering. It’s usually possible to pay over the Internet and payment may be more secure than reading out a credit card number to someone on the other end of a phone. People who order a lot don’t have to keep menus on hand and have the full menu to look at when they’re making choices. There’s also a record of what was ordered, which may make it easier to lodge a complaint if necessary. Of course the very nature of food delivery is that it is convenient too.
Some of the disadvantages some people cite include that online food ordering software may track purchases and distribute personal information to many different restaurants. Going through a third party delivery service could sometimes result in errors that are hard to fix. More often, people complain because online ordering is geographically limited and smaller towns might have very little access to this convenient feature, unless they are college towns.
The second type of online food ordering is really a throwback to the days when many grocery stores delivered food regularly. There are now sites, either big company sales sites or grocery stores, that allow people to shop online, and this can be very convenient. It is not as good for the very careful shopper who likes to feel produce, check the integrity of boxes and read all the dates on the merchandise, but it can be a very good solution for people who are busy and don’t have time to get the groceries. Again, this form of online food ordering may be limited to certain areas.