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The Online Food Ordering Revolution

When’s the last time you used your personal phone to make a phone call?  Increasingly, our phones serve as pocket sized personal computers first and foremost, and many of the tasks we once performed by waiting for a dial tone and tapping in 7 or 10 digits are now more easily completed online.  Ordering food is no exception.

In the past decade, many major restaurants have incorporated an online ordering component in their web sites.  Modern casual dining eateries like Chipotle and Five Guys offer online ordering platforms for instore pickup, meaning you can skip the long lines and wait times by pulling up a website and queuing in whatever you are hungry for.  Larger fast food style restaurants are taking a similar approach; places like Panda Express and Subway offer online ordering for store pickup in order to provide customers with convenience and an even faster restaurant experience.

And the trend towards online ordering has hardly remained a “pick-up only” phenomenon.  Mega delivery chains like Domino’s Pizza have built complex and crowd friendly online ordering portals, where customers can customize their orders extensively and get food delivered to their door without ever touching their phones.

These delivery systems offer lots of features beyond basic ordering too.  Domino’s for example offers an order tracking dashboard that let’s you see exactly where your pizza is in the cooking process, and also fully incorporates the restaurant’s many coupons and combination deals to make sure that customers are saving money and having a good ordering experience.

Perhaps even more revolutionary is the trend in third party online ordering app development, which allow you to order food online through restaurants that traditionally wouldn’t be able to afford their own internet ordering framework.  Companies like Eat24 have allowed small businesses to get in on the online ordering game by providing a sleek platform for local restaurants with existing delivery and pickup options.  These apps mimic the customizability and ease of use that big corporations have developed, and apply this approach to a wide variety of eateries.

Already, almost any food that you could order by dialing a phone number, you can now order online even faster and more easily.  And with apps like Eat24 getting huge enough to air super bowl commercials, while giants like McDonald’s continue to develop and beta test online ordering and delivery options, it is a fair bet that ordering food by placing a phone call is bound for obsolescence.