E-commerce isn’t exactly a novel concept; but with the resounding impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, shopping online has proven itself to be not just convenient, but virtually indispensable.
Even restaurants and food spots are jumping on board the virtual train full-force. Third-party delivery apps like Skip the Dishes and DoorDash have seen a significant rise in engagement amid an era where people are leaving their houses less frequently and delivery or curb-side pickup have become the primary ways for Hamiltonians to patronize their favourite local spots.
That said, the relationship between restaurants and third-party delivery services is hardly a smooth one. Apps like Uber Eats have monopolized the industry while taking substantial commissions from their restaurant partners, leaving many Hamilton food establishments having to choose between being on a prominent ordering app that takes a huge cut and impacts their bottom line, or fully fending for themselves with more limited resources at a time when those apps are dominating.
Local company Parachute Software saw these major issues and decided to tackle them head-on with an exciting solution that puts the power back in the hands of small businesses: a new online ordering platform called OrderFare.
"The apps need major brands but don’t make money from them. So it’s the independents that pay the cost, your local ramen shop subsidizing a sales and delivery service for McDonald’s." https://t.co/XF4jmXbWqh
— OrderFare (@OrderFare) January 28, 2021
“OrderFare was created to help local small businesses transition to e-commerce and online ordering during the unprecedented time of COVID-19,” says Chris Vincelli, technical support manager at Parachute Software.
The platform allows restaurants and other small businesses – in Hamilton and beyond – to gracefully integrate online ordering into their operations while avoiding the hefty fees and commissions of other similar platforms.
As Vincelli explains, the concept for OrderFare came out of a desire to put the power of online ordering directly into the hands of Hamilton’s small businesses during one of the most economically tumultuous times in recent history; and to do so without gouging them with astronomical fees.
“We believe our option is a true and transparent way of supporting local,” he says.
Vincelli explains that OrderFare can build an online ordering platform for any restaurant or small business in a matter of days, integrating it seamlessly with their existing website so the ordering page is visually identical.
The company sets up the full ordering menu, which can then be freely updated by the restaurant in real time. The restaurant has total control over the processing and timing of orders, with the option to pause ordering at any time if needed.
OrderFare also uses a secure online payment system, allowing customers and businesses to complete transactions in a contactless manner; a particularly attractive feature in the socially-distant pandemic era.
But best of all is the cost. OrderFare does charge a modest one-time setup fee to build and customize the business’s online ordering platform, but from there, the company only takes a small percentage of each transaction.
Working out to 2.9 per cent plus 30 cents per credit card transaction, as well as a 2.5 per cent commission, it’s a refreshingly small price to pay compared to the largest third-party delivery apps, which are known to take a whopping 20 to 35 per cent commission; enough to wound countless small businesses, pandemic or not.
Though brand new, the appeals of the platform are already drawing interest from Hamilton establishments like long-standing spot Genuine Bakery and golf bar & pizzeria Fore Stagione, as well as some restaurants outside the city’s borders like The North Coal in Burlington and British pub The Duchess of Markham in, well, Markham. You can view all participating restaurants on this page.
The roster of establishments using the platform may be pretty contained to start, but Vincelli feels confident that others are sure to follow, and that customers will be eager to skip Skip the Dishes and dash away from DoorDash as they place orders through OrderFare instead, knowing it puts more money in their favourite restaurant’s pocket at a time when it’s more important than ever.
Learn more about OrderFare here. Local restaurants interested in using OrderFare can mention this Urbanicity article to have their setup fee waived.