Which ordering platforms are best for Clover Point of Sale?
One of the strengths of the Clover point of sale (PoS) is it’s robust app marketplace. Here you’ll find many different app developers competing to provide functionality for your system beyond what comes standard. These services can range from inventory management, HR and personnel related apps to online or mobile ordering apps with everything in between.
Today we examine some of the online and mobile ordering providers to assess strengths and weaknesses of each platform. While Clover makes the process of selecting an integrated ordering app as easy as installing an app on your phone, this is not a decision to be taken lightly. You will want to take some time and evaluate the merits of each provider to see which one is best for your restaurant. Trust us, your business will thank you for it.
“But first, what makes for a good ordering platform?”
Every restaurant is going to have their own idea of what’s important to them but typically, requirements are going to fall into one of these 5 broad categories.
Accessibility– being available to your customers through multiple digital channels such as online ordering and on their smart phones…. reach them where they are.
Features and Functionality – what other features come with the service beyond ordering? Is this provider adding new features regularly and do you have access to new features as they come out?
Marketing Capabilities – The ability to engage with your customers and reach them with the right offers at the right time.
Analytics and Account Management – The ability to view and export your data to gain meaningful insights. This can also include the ability to change your menu and other account settings that control your customer facing channels.
Quality –This ordering page or mobile app will be a reflection of your brand. This is where you want to put your best foot forward. In today’s age, nearly 100% of your customers are heavy users of technology and can spot the difference in a quality product from a mile away. Whether it’s buggy apps or slow loading pages, quality matters. If customers think it’s a garbage product, they’re just not going to use it.
* For the sake of this comparison we’re excluding PoS integration since all companies being evaluated integrate with the Clover PoS system.
So now that we know the criteria, let’s take a look at the five ordering platforms that we’ll be evaluating.
Let’s get started!
1. Hazlnut – best overall platform
At Hazlnut, we provide beautiful, natively built mobile and web apps that customers will find engaging and easy to use. All with your branding and personality throughout.
These include the latest features that customers are beginning to expect. Features such as saved order history for one-touch reordering, “in-store loyalty” so customers can scan their phone at the register to get credit for purchases and redeem rewards, curbside pickup and custom delivery zones just to name a few.
Hazlnut’s cost is slightly higher than others due to it being a “all-in-one” solution which means you don’t need to cobble together different services. Also, with no fees per order you can recoup the cost within the first few days of each month and not worry about it beyond that.
Want to schedule a demo and see how Hazlnut can work with your brand? Contact us today to set one up!
The platform is powered on the back-end by an easy to use client dashboard where you can update your menu beyond what is pulled in from the Clover system. This includes adding food images and descriptions among other attributes. You also have the ability to view customer data and segment them into groups for tracking and marketing purposes. From here you can also send push notifications and targeted offers to your customers and manage your loyalty program all from a single online access point.
Hazlnut outperforms the others on this list by giving you all the tools and functionality to boost sales and customer engagement, helping you compete with the larger national chains.
Overall Grade: A
Best for: Multi-unit restaurants with strong consistent branding who are looking for a premium “all-in-one” solution.
2. OrderSpoon (4 Leaf Labs) – Good online ordering, but stuck in the 90s
OrderSpoon does well at online ordering with robust and consistent performance in order handling. However, the platform looks and feels dated with mostly text based menus featuring little-to-no images and block styling.
They also offer “mobile apps” but beware… all apps are not created equal. These typically consist of one or two screens that simply redirect to your website. This can provide for a bad experience and actually reduce customer engagement and time spent in the app. If you’re going to have a mobile app, make sure you do it right and don’t just “check the box”.
“but beware…all apps are not created equal…”
OrderSpoon does one thing very well and that’s online ordering. But they lack many features and functionality beyond that and their look and feel is dated and unappealing.
Overall Grade: B-
Best for: Concepts looking for basic online ordering. Perhaps better suited for an owner/operator who doesn’t have the time or personnel to focus on customer engagement and marketing and is just looking to get started with online ordering.
3. Menufy – Many features, but no branded options and pay per order
Menufy is one of the more well-rounded options in terms of features. They offer account management through their “Menufy Manager” client dashboard as well unique features such as Facebook and Google+ integrations.
They do offer iOS and Android apps but the big caveat here being they are not custom branded for your restaurant. So you’ll be telling your customers to download the Menufy app. Starbucks, Panera, Chick-Fil-A etc. aren’t telling their customers to download someone else’s app, so why should you?! Adding insult to injury the app will include all other Menufy restaurants. Meaning your customers may plan to order from you but end up ordering from someone else who catches their eye.
Also, with Menufy you pay $1.50 per order plus 2.5% + $0.30 per credit card transaction. However, you can choose to pass the processing fee along to your customers (everyone loves convenience fees!). But paying per order means you can never truly cover the cost like you can with a flat monthly fee structure.
Overall Grade: B
Best for: Single store concepts or larger ticket size smaller chains where branded options are not important and per order fees are less of an issue.
4. Kipos Labs – Branded apps, but low quality
Kipos labs one of the few here to offer online ordering along with branded mobile apps. Also, they don’t charge a setup fee. This makes them the only one on this list offering branded apps with no upfront costs. But this may be a case of “you get what you pay for” as the app design is text based and unappealing while the layout doesn’t appear to be suited for modern phone screens as menus and text typically run off screen (tested on iPhone XS).
Aesthetics are one thing but what’s more alarming are the issues with functionality. In the versions we tested we repeatedly found crashes along with spelling and grammatical errors throughout. They’re headed in the right direction but maybe not quite ready for prime time.
Overall Grade: C-
Best for: It’s hard to recommend their platform as it is today. It seems like their offering is “almost there” but too many issues to get past in its current state. The most devastating of which is functionality deficiencies.
5. Smart Online Order – Low cost online ordering, not much else
Smart Online Order definitely positions themselves as the low cost leader in this space. They offer a “bare bones” do it yourself online ordering platform starting at $30 per month with one-time setup fees of $200.
No option for custom branded apps so they lose points in terms of accessibility and like others on this list (apart from Hazlnut) they are not an “all-in-one” solution. This means you’ll have to find a separate provider for any loyalty programs. This can lead to integration issues along with more confusion for you and your customers.
They also lose points in terms of marketing as their platform doesn’t offer the ability to market to customers.
Overall Grade: C
Best for: Concepts where cost is the main concern and features, marketing and branding are all secondary. Another example of “you get what you pay for.”
So there you go! That’s our review of five of the top ordering platforms for Clover. Have one you want us to review or do you use a different one for your restaurant? Tell us about it on Twitter.