Making Money with On-Demand Dining Platforms

On-demand delivery is ready to be your new cash cow


The age of on-demand dining—the ability to hail a meal as easily as a ride-share service—has arrived, creating an indispensable revenue tool.

Some 37 percent of restaurants offer online ordering, according to the National Restaurant Association. It’s smart business considering that 70 percent of foot traffic will happen outside of restaurants by 2020, says the NRA.

“For some consumers, especially in urban markets, time is valuable enough that they are willing to pay the delivery fees to get their food where they want it, when they want it,” says Darren Tristano, president of industry research firm Technomic.

In the last few years, on-demand services have grown to capitalize on the seismic shift in the way consumers, particularly younger diners, use restaurants. The services, which provide an online platform for ordering with or without a delivery option, tout their ability to expand a restaurant’s reach and increase delivery sales as a result.

Check out our roundup of leading on-demand platforms on the opposite page. Dig around and you’ll find plenty of others not mentioned offering similar services, such as Olo and DoorDash.

For more details on the platforms mentioned here including their differences (they’re all aggregators except for ChowNow which is a white label) and insight from operators who have banked in on-demand delivery, visit

70% of restaurant traffic will be off-premise in 3 years. - National Restaurant Association

Peter Gianopulos is an adjunct professor and critic for Chicago Magazine. He has reported on the restaurant industry for more than 15 years. 

Photography by Frank Lawlor