Choosing an online ordering system

Having the right systems in place can make all the difference to the time and cost of your online ordering and administration.

Recent research carried out by iTradeNetwork showed that

  • 68% of hospitality operators said their suppliers called at inconvenient times
  • 57% said ordering and admin took longer than they would like
  • 88% of operators that used online ordering said that they did so because of the convenience it offered

There are a number of options available for purchasing online, from ordering from your suppliers websites to having your own procurement system which enables you to order from all of your suppliers in one place and gives you more control and visibility.

What do you need to consider ?

  • Think about your business’ future growth. Could implementing an internal ordering system benefit you now or in the future?
  • Consider what employees will need to know and what training is on offer
  • Do your current suppliers offer online ordering? Perhaps look at which suppliers do
  • How would online ordering assist your business? eg. More convenience, quicker, reduce costs
  • What reporting functionality would be useful? eg. Online ordering / budget controls / menu planning
  • Which suppliers would you want to include in an online ordering system
  • How would the solution be implemented and is there an ongoing cost to maintain it?
  • For any service you need to look at the vendor stability – check out to see how they are performing
  • Consider your budget - what options are viable and what will be your return on investment?

Online ordering for different sized businesses

1-5 venues – Ordering from supplier’s trade websites will speed up the ordering process and ordering can be done at your convenience. 

5-10 venues – A basic online ordering portal could benefit a business of this size providing visibility and control over purchasing. A range of suppliers such as Matthew Clark and Carlsberg offer these to their customers. It could also be beneficial to implement a simple menu planning solution.

10+ venues – A fully functional ordering portal including functionality such as catalogue manager and budget control would benefit businesses of this size, these can be integrated into other software.


  1. Think about how you can use an ordering system to make purchasing more cost effective, talk to your suppliers about setting up potential contract rebates
  2. Make sure you have training on your system so you and your team can use it properly and gain the maximum benefit from it
  3. Think carefully about what functionality you need and how your business is likely to grow in the future.

Contributed by iTrade Network

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